New Study Explores Dangers of Energy Drinks for Teenagers

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MonsterMonsterA new report in the journal Pediatrics in Review examines the potential hazards of energy drink consumption for young people, especially when mixed with alcoholic beverages.

According to Dr. Kwabena Blankson, the report’s lead author, standalone energy drinks may cause various health problems for young people, including elevated blood pressure, obesity and insomnia.

“They contain too much caffeine and other additives that we don’t know enough about,” he said in a press release issued by the Partnership at Drugfree.org.

Blankson believes teenagers shouldn’t take in more than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day. An average 16-ounce energy drink contains 160 milligrams of caffeine, but the chemical effects of the stimulant are often intensified by various additives such as ginseng and guarana, the report states.

The authors of the study said one of the major dangers of mixing alcohol and energy drinks is that it may make teenagers feel less intoxicated than they may actually be. Drinking just one energy drink mixed with alcohol, the report states, can be equal to consuming an entire bottle of wine and several cups of coffee.

A Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report from last month found a sharp increase in the number of patients being hospitalized due to energy drink consumption over the last decade. In 2011 alone, SAMHSA attributed more than 20,000 emergency department visits to energy drink consumption, with about 13 percent of the visits involving individuals that had mixed the beverages with alcoholic drinks.