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Energy Drinks

What is in an energy drink?

The typical "energy blend"= Guarana + Taurine + Ginseng + added caffeine and sugars.

Overconsumption of energy drinks or combining them with alcohol can have potential negative health effects such as:

  • Raised heart rate, blood pressure, sugar levels
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Rash decision making
  • Nervousness/irritability/mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Sleep interruptions/insomnia
  • Kidney strain

1. Mixing caffeine and alcohol can increase the risk of alcohol poisoning. Since caffeine makes people feel "less drunk" than they really are, they tend to drink more than they should.
2. Mixing alcohol and caffeine can make your heart rate and blood pressure rise.
3. Caffeine can make you feel energetic even if you're drunk. Why is this dangerous? Because people can be "tricked" into thinking they are alert enough to do things like drive a car, when they really aren't.
4. Caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics, leading to dehydration (and really bad hangovers).
5. Adding caffeine to alcohol can make drinking alcohol all the more addictive.
6. There is a HUGE gulf between those who are drinking alcoholic energy drinks and those who are just drinking alcohol in terms of negative academic, social and behavioral consequences experienced. This difference is greater than the difference between drinkers and non-drinkers *.

Email to All Northeastern Students on October 29th, 2010:

Over the past week there have been news stories about the alcoholic beverage called Four Loko. This is a 23.5-ounce canned drink that is 12% alcohol plus caffeine. It is an unhealthy combination of alcohol and a stimulant beverage and can be dangerous to your health and safety.

Caffeine is believed to help a person sober up, but instead the caffeine masks the alcohol's effects. Four Loko's combination of alcohol and caffeine can lead people to misjudge how intoxicated they are; and it has resulted in injuries and blackouts.

We encourage you to avoid or significantly limit the use of this drink and ask for your help in telling your friends about its dangers. Let's help keep each other safe and healthy by avoiding Four Loko and drinks like it.

For more information please contact University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) at 617-373-2772.

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