Energy Drinks: A Boost in the Wrong Direction?

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Caffeine molecule filled with the logos of popular energy drinks

Energy drinks—you see them at X Games events, basketball arenas, and rock concerts. You can even “fan” some of them on Facebook. What these brands don’t tell you, and what science is now showing us, is that their drinks can really be unhealthy.

Energy drinks often pack in extra vitamins, along with caffeine, which delivers the eye-opening jolt of energy, and is supposed to boost your brain power. People, even teens, seek that extra kick from energy drinks to stay alert longer or perform better sometimes. But do these drinks really boost your brain?

The companies that make them claim their drinks deliver energy, but in fact, what they deliver are monster-doses of caffeine and other supplements that rev up your system. They may deliver a temporary jolt of energy, but they also boost your heart rate, making you feel jittery and on-edge—and too much caffeine can cause stomach aches.

Plus, having an energy drink every day might fool you into thinking you can’t function without it.

Teens are busy. School, sports, a part-time job, and never-ending homework…finally sleep, then having to get up while it’s still dark out to do it all over again. No wonder energy drinks are appealing!

But do they deliver what they promise? And is drinking such high doses worth the possible health risks? Probably not. Better to get more sleep and exercise, so you don’t have to depend on chemicals for your energy.

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Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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