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Drinking Habits

Is It Safe To Mix Alcohol and Energy Drinks?

Published:
July 5, 2023
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8 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 5, 2023
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8 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 5, 2023
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 5, 2023
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Reframe Content Team
July 5, 2023
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8 min read

In the vibrant world of nightlife and social gatherings, the combination of alcohol and energy drinks has become a popular choice. The mix of the depressant effects of alcohol and the stimulating effects of energy drinks creates a unique experience that many people enjoy. However, this trend raises a significant question: Is it safe to mix alcohol and energy drinks? This article aims to shed light on this topic, providing insights based on scientific research and expert opinions about the dangers of mixing alcohol and energy drinks.

Understanding Alcohol and Energy Drinks

A bartender making a drink

Alcohol and energy drinks are two substances that have contrasting effects on the human body. Alcohol is a depressant, slowing down the brain's functions and leading to a relaxed state or even drowsiness. On the other hand, energy drinks are stimulants, packed with caffeine and other ingredients designed to increase alertness and energy levels. When combined, these two create a state known as “wide-awake drunk,” where the individual feels stimulated by the energy drink but has impaired cognitive and motor functions due to the alcohol.

The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks

While the combination of alcohol and energy drinks might seem like an exciting state to be in, especially during a night out, the health risks associated with mixing caffeine and alcohol are far from thrilling. Let's delve deeper into these potential dangers.

Masked Intoxication

The stimulating effects of energy drinks can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, creating a deceptive state of alertness. This can lead to individuals underestimating their level of impairment. The result? Risky behaviors such as drunk driving, unprotected sex, or binge drinking, which can lead to severe consequences like alcohol poisoning.

Cardiovascular Risks

Both alcohol and energy drinks can increase heart rate and blood pressure. When combined, these effects can be amplified, leading to significant cardiovascular stress. This can result in palpitations, abnormal heart rhythms, and in severe cases, heart attacks or strokes. This can be particularly dangerous for individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or those who are unaware of their cardiovascular health status.

Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks

Dehydration

Alcohol is a diuretic, promoting urine production and leading to dehydration. Energy drinks, particularly those high in caffeine, can also have a dehydrating effect. When these two are combined, the risk of dehydration is significantly increased. Dehydration can lead to a host of issues such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and even kidney problems. Think twice before making a mixed drink with Monster and alcohol.

Sleep Disruptions

While alcohol might make you feel drowsy, it interferes with REM sleep — and the caffeine in energy drinks can further disrupt your sleep patterns. This can lead to poor sleep quality, insomnia, or sleep deprivation. Over time, poor sleep can affect your mood, energy levels, cognitive function, and overall health. It can also increase the risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Dependency

Regular consumption of alcohol mixed with energy drinks can lead to dependency on both substances. This means that over time, your body may require increasing amounts of both alcohol and caffeine to achieve the same effects. This can result in withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit, such as headaches, irritability, and fatigue. It can also increase the risk of developing substance use disorders, which can have severe impacts on your physical and mental health, relationships, and quality of life.

Monster Alcohol Energy Drinks

You might have heard of the recent launch of “The Beast Unleashed” — a Monster energy alcohol drink. The canned beverage, which looks like its non-alcoholic cousin but “tougher” (and a bit more intimidating), is made from malt alcohol and is about 6 percent alcohol by volume.

As far as the dangers of the Monster alcoholic drink are concerned, they are similar to those of mixing alcohol and energy drinks in general. However, there’s the added factor of perceived “legitimacy” — the drink is officially marketed and sold as an energizing version of booze, which might make some mistakenly assume it’s safer than a “homemade” version.

Tips for Staying Safe

Given these potential risks, it's clear that mixing alcohol and energy drinks is not a safe practice. However, if you choose to consume these drinks, it's essential to do so safely and responsibly. Here are a few tips:

  • Always be aware of your alcohol intake and try to limit it to moderate levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water in between alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and energy drinks on an empty stomach.
  • Listen to your body. If you start feeling unwell, stop drinking and seek medical attention if necessary.

While the combination of alcohol and energy drinks might seem appealing, especially in social settings, it's important to understand the potential risks associated with this practice. The stimulating effects of energy drinks can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, leading to risky behaviors and health complications. It’s better not to open that energy drink, whether it’s Red Bull, Rockstar, or Monster, while drinking alcohol.

Remember, your health should always be your top priority!

In the vibrant world of nightlife and social gatherings, the combination of alcohol and energy drinks has become a popular choice. The mix of the depressant effects of alcohol and the stimulating effects of energy drinks creates a unique experience that many people enjoy. However, this trend raises a significant question: Is it safe to mix alcohol and energy drinks? This article aims to shed light on this topic, providing insights based on scientific research and expert opinions about the dangers of mixing alcohol and energy drinks.

Understanding Alcohol and Energy Drinks

A bartender making a drink

Alcohol and energy drinks are two substances that have contrasting effects on the human body. Alcohol is a depressant, slowing down the brain's functions and leading to a relaxed state or even drowsiness. On the other hand, energy drinks are stimulants, packed with caffeine and other ingredients designed to increase alertness and energy levels. When combined, these two create a state known as “wide-awake drunk,” where the individual feels stimulated by the energy drink but has impaired cognitive and motor functions due to the alcohol.

The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks

While the combination of alcohol and energy drinks might seem like an exciting state to be in, especially during a night out, the health risks associated with mixing caffeine and alcohol are far from thrilling. Let's delve deeper into these potential dangers.

Masked Intoxication

The stimulating effects of energy drinks can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, creating a deceptive state of alertness. This can lead to individuals underestimating their level of impairment. The result? Risky behaviors such as drunk driving, unprotected sex, or binge drinking, which can lead to severe consequences like alcohol poisoning.

Cardiovascular Risks

Both alcohol and energy drinks can increase heart rate and blood pressure. When combined, these effects can be amplified, leading to significant cardiovascular stress. This can result in palpitations, abnormal heart rhythms, and in severe cases, heart attacks or strokes. This can be particularly dangerous for individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or those who are unaware of their cardiovascular health status.

Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks

Dehydration

Alcohol is a diuretic, promoting urine production and leading to dehydration. Energy drinks, particularly those high in caffeine, can also have a dehydrating effect. When these two are combined, the risk of dehydration is significantly increased. Dehydration can lead to a host of issues such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and even kidney problems. Think twice before making a mixed drink with Monster and alcohol.

Sleep Disruptions

While alcohol might make you feel drowsy, it interferes with REM sleep — and the caffeine in energy drinks can further disrupt your sleep patterns. This can lead to poor sleep quality, insomnia, or sleep deprivation. Over time, poor sleep can affect your mood, energy levels, cognitive function, and overall health. It can also increase the risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Dependency

Regular consumption of alcohol mixed with energy drinks can lead to dependency on both substances. This means that over time, your body may require increasing amounts of both alcohol and caffeine to achieve the same effects. This can result in withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit, such as headaches, irritability, and fatigue. It can also increase the risk of developing substance use disorders, which can have severe impacts on your physical and mental health, relationships, and quality of life.

Monster Alcohol Energy Drinks

You might have heard of the recent launch of “The Beast Unleashed” — a Monster energy alcohol drink. The canned beverage, which looks like its non-alcoholic cousin but “tougher” (and a bit more intimidating), is made from malt alcohol and is about 6 percent alcohol by volume.

As far as the dangers of the Monster alcoholic drink are concerned, they are similar to those of mixing alcohol and energy drinks in general. However, there’s the added factor of perceived “legitimacy” — the drink is officially marketed and sold as an energizing version of booze, which might make some mistakenly assume it’s safer than a “homemade” version.

Tips for Staying Safe

Given these potential risks, it's clear that mixing alcohol and energy drinks is not a safe practice. However, if you choose to consume these drinks, it's essential to do so safely and responsibly. Here are a few tips:

  • Always be aware of your alcohol intake and try to limit it to moderate levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines moderate drinking as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water in between alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and energy drinks on an empty stomach.
  • Listen to your body. If you start feeling unwell, stop drinking and seek medical attention if necessary.

While the combination of alcohol and energy drinks might seem appealing, especially in social settings, it's important to understand the potential risks associated with this practice. The stimulating effects of energy drinks can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, leading to risky behaviors and health complications. It’s better not to open that energy drink, whether it’s Red Bull, Rockstar, or Monster, while drinking alcohol.

Remember, your health should always be your top priority!

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Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

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