Energy drinks can increase the likelihood that teenagers will become alcoholics, a study has shown.
Teenagers that mix energy drinks with spirits are ‘four times more likely to abuse alcohol later in life’ according to research by the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.
As part of the study researchers looked at a sample of 3,342 young people aged 15-23 years old recruited across the U.S. They found that 9.7% of teenagers aged 15-17 had consumed an energy drink mixed with alcohol.
Energy Drink Teen Alcoholism
Their analysis, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, showed that this age range had much greater likelihood of binge drinking and were also more likely to meet the clinically-defined criteria for an alcohol use disorder. The Study author, Doctor Jennifer Emond, told Geisel News Center: “Abusive alcohol use among adolescents is a dangerous behaviour that can lead to injury, chronic alcohol use and abuse and even death.”
She added: “Identifying those most at risk for alcohol use is critical. Given that this is a sensitive issue, it’s possible that clinicians, parents, and educators might open dialogues about alcohol use with adolescents by starting the discussion on the topic of energy drinks.”
Dangerous Energy Drink Alcohol Mixes
The research team are now looking to investigate how energy drink’s marketing may impact a teenager’s intentions for their use, such as whether or not they would mix them with alcohol.
One 500ml can a day is probably enough for any person, but this can be especially so with teenagers as a Spanish study published this year warned they can trigger heart problems in healthy teenagers, with particularly heavy consumption. Their effects could be amplified when used alongside drink or drugs too.
Cardiologists in Madrid said the drinks containing large amounts of caffeine, may trigger sudden heart attacks and erratic heartbeats in young, apparently healthy people. Energy drinks may also contribute to elevating problems in the heart that were previously unknown within the individual.
Teen Alcohol and Drug Abuse
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