Mixing alcohol with energy drinks may be more dangerous than drinking alcohol by itself. University of Florida researchers Dennis Thombs, PhD, and colleagues say those who combine energy drinks and cocktails are four times more likely to try driving while intoxicated. Thombs says, “Combining energy drinks and alcohol can trick the brain, making people think they're sober -- or sober enough -- when they're not.”
Researchers coined the acronym : AMED, for alcohol-mixed-with-energy-drinks because it’s such a common occurrence. Consumers of AMED may drink more and miscalculate their capabilities because caffeine makes intoxicated people feel less drowsy. This phenomenon is known as “wide awake and drunk”. The combination doesn’t change the level of a person’s impairment from alcohol, just his perception.
Some people think caffeine makes people more sober, but that’s a myth. Stimulants agitate intoxication. Many researchers are even suggesting putting warning labels on energy drinks about the dangers of mixing with alcohol.
High levels of caffeine can boost blood pressure, and heart rate, causing palpitations. Adding alcohol to energy drinks can increase the risk of heart problems. Stimulants like ginseng and taurine (common ingredients in energy drinks) added to a depressant like alcohol send mixed messages to one’s nervous system, which can cause cardiac complications.
AMED may lead to excessive drinking and more severe alcohol-related problems. Immoderate drinking can lead to many health problems, including digestive problems, liver disease, bone loss, and even eye paralysis. If you or if someone you love is suffering from addiction, Passport to Recovery offers a list of addiction treatment centers that can lead you to the path of recovery.