Do you need a Red Bull in the morning before you can start your day? Do 5-Hour Energy Shots keep you going at work? Do you abstain from alcohol and drink a Rockstar instead? You might have an energy drink addiction. In recent years, the popularity of energy drinks has skyrocketed, and so has the occurrence of energy drink addiction. It’s estimated that as much as 50% of young adults consume energy drinks on a regular basis, and demographic that’s increasing its energy drink use the most is adults aged 40 and over. While energy drinks can give you a sugary, caffeinated boost of energy, they can also be dangerous.
Energy drink addiction s is actually addiction to caffeine. If you can’t function without a cup of coffee or an energy drink in the morning, or if you get a headache when you skip it, your body is addicted to caffeine. Even if your caffeine addiction isn’t wreaking havoc on your life, it can still cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The maximum amount of caffeine that anyone should consume in one day is 500mg. The average 16-oz cup of coffee has 170mg of caffeine. The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are headaches, fatigue, weakness, inability to concentrate, sleepiness, muscle tension, irritability, depression, anxiety, and nausea. Withdrawal symptoms usually start 12-24 hours after you stop consuming caffeine, and they reach their peak about 12-48 hours later. It can take a week and sometimes more for withdrawal symptoms to go away, and just 100mg of caffeine per day can cause withdrawal. Also, as with any addiction, your tolerance for caffeine goes up over time, meaning you’ll need to drink more to feel the same amount of energy.
The Danger of Energy Drinks
Energy drinks are particularly dangerous because of their high levels of caffeine. Many energy drinks have between 100mg and 200mg of caffeine per serving, but it can vary wildly. One of the energy drinks with the most concentrated caffeine content is Redline, which contains 350mg of caffeine in just 2.5-oz. The problem with energy drinks is that many people don’t realize the amount of caffeine they are consuming when they drink several energy drinks in one day, and most don’t even know what an acceptable level of caffeine is. For example, consume just two Redline energy drinks in one day, and you’ve already far exceeded the recommended maximum amount of caffeine - by 40%. Energy drink addiction can cause insomnia, nervousness, headaches, increased or irregular heartbeat, anxiety, confusion, delirium, muscle trembling, nausea, and vomiting. Caffeine mixed with alcohol can cause the dangerous scenario of increased intoxication mixed with decreased awareness of impairment. In other words, you feel less drunk but you’re actually more drunk.
An Alarming Trend
In 2005, there were 1,494 visits to the ER associated with energy drink consumption. In 2007, there were 10,068 visits to the ER associated with energy drink consumption. By 2001, there were 20,783 - a 200% increase in just four years. As energy drinks become even more popular, and energy drink addiction becomes even more common, it’s so important for people to be aware of the risks of consuming too much caffeine. People need to be aware of how much caffeine is in the energy drinks they consume and track their daily caffeine intake so that they don’t drink dangerous amounts. You may want that extra boost, but boost yourself too high, and you’re in bad territory with an energy drink addiction.