Careful With Those Energy Drinks

These are more dangerous than you think! Source: Shutterstock

These are more dangerous than you think! Source: Shutterstock

A new survey released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reveals that emergency room visits tied to energy drinks has doubled since 2007. Yikes! The survey says that ER trips have jumped from 10,000 to 20,000 and most of them involved teens and young adults.

While the study doesn’t specify what symptoms were involved or even specific energy drink brands, it’s really scary to see numbers that high. And in 2011, 42 percent of the cases involved energy drinks combined with alcohol or drugs like Adderall. What really terrified me was this:

“18 deaths possibly tied to the drinks — including a 14-year-old Maryland girl who died after drinking two large cans of Monster Energy drinks. Monster does not believe its products were responsible for the death.”

When I was in high school, I was the manager of our boys lacrosse team. One of my friends would chug a Monster at halftime during every game, and it always made me really nervous. Thankfully nothing ever happened to him, but I always warned him that it was a bad idea. Point proven.

Now, a few senators are asking the FDA to investigate the safety of energy drinks. After statistics like this, I’m not in the least bit surprised. The FDA is set to do an energy drink review this spring.

Sure it’s easy to grab a Rockstar for a quick pick-me-up, but do you ever look at what’s in energy drinks? If you’re on any sort of medication, you don’t know how those ingredients are going to react with whatever you’re taking. It can be so dangerous. And you certainly don’t realize the strength of these drinks. Howard Mell, an emergency physician said “I had someone come in recently who had drunk three energy drinks in an hour, which is the equivalent of 15 cups of coffee.”

I’m a severe coffee addict, and I’ve never had more than eight cups of coffee one day. That’s just an absurd amount of caffeine! It’s recommended that teens should only have about 100 mg of caffeine in one day. Most energy drinks contain well over 100 mg!

Consuming too many energy drinks can result in things like nervousness, insomnia, headaches, fast heartbeats and seizures. They can lead to dehydration and cause serious health issues such as heart attacks and even death. None of those things sound fun to me, so I’m going to stick with coffee as my caffeine intake.

I’m not saying you can’t have energy drinks, just be careful. Look at the ingredients, don’t exceed 100 mg of caffeine and don’t combine them with alcohol or drugs. (This includes prescription medications.)

If you find yourself reaching for those Red Bulls a lot, think about some alternatives. Always make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep. Coffee is a safer and healthier alternative, and tastes much better in my opinion. You can also try taking a B-12 vitamin, a common and doctor-approved energy booster, which can even be found in some cereals.

Do you drink energy drinks? If yes, how many per day? If no, what are your energy-boosting alternatives? Tell me in the comments!

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  • JustDMarie

    I forgot to add to my previous comment… he was in grade 9… not even in high school yet

  • JustDMarie

    There was this guy named Colt who goes to my school, and only about a month ago, i think right before winter break, he chugged a Monster Energy Drink at locker break (which is about a 10 min break (1st Period, 2nd, locker break, 2nd again, lunch, 3rd, then last)) and then during the 2nd double block (aka “2nd again”) our school went into a code yellow, a non threatening emergency. We lost about 10 minutes of lunch because Colt had a seizure in his Foods class. IDK him IRL, other then the reports that the teachers and principles told us, but it was scary to know what happened.
    He’s ok now, and woke up the next day looking for his IPod, according to the principle, lol… so yeah… that stop most of the students from drinking energy drinks.