Energy Drinks and Teen Health

energy-drinks2The study “An emerging adolescent health risk: Caffeinated drink consumption patterns among high school students,” looked at 2012 data on 8210 high school students in public schools of Atlantic Canada. The majority (62%) used energy drinks at least once the past year and 20% used one or more a month. Sensation seeking, substance abuse, and depression were all higher in those taking energy drinks. 

My experience in my addiction clinic with opiate addicts and those dependent on opiates, is that depression and anxiety are very common, and the majority use and abuse energy drinks and suffer from sleep issues.  What comes first the chicken or the egg may be part of this.  If you are depressed, tired, or just a thrill seeker, you are likely to feel that an energy drink is giving you a boost. Sadly, as with all drugs and substances that give us a boost, there is the risk of side effects and long term use actually makes you dependent.  If you consume caffeine after 3 pm, it is not uncommon that you will have difficulty getting to sleep.  

Most energy drinks use caffeine as the stimulant. Caffeine at doses above 400-500 can trigger heart arrhythmias and even cause death.  Not all energy drinks are created equal.  Some have reasonable amounts of caffeine (around 100 mg) and contain many healthy nutrients. Many have excessive amounts of caffeine and should be avoided. 

View my previous blog on this topic here…

You can also read the study here…

 

Dr. Paul

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