Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages (CABs) became a rage in the 2000s. CABs were excessively advertised on social media, causing their popularity, especially for young people in the US.
One in ten middle and high school students, and one out of ten young adults aged 19 to 28, reported drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks in 2017. But why is it dangerous?
What Happens When Alcohol is Mixed with Caffeinated Drinks?
The most common practice of people is drinking coffee after drinking alcohol. They think that caffeine lowers the alcohol level in their body and it helps them to sober up. The truth is, it does not. Rather than helping, it may actually cause harm.
Alcohol is a depressant, while caffeine is a stimulant. Alcohol makes you sleepy, impairing your coordination, speech, cognitive processes, etc., while caffeine in coffee boosts your alertness. This combination does not cancel out one another like what people believe. In fact, caffeine masks all the effects of alcohol in your system, but it does not eliminate or lower the alcohol level in your body. This false security causes a person to drink more alcohol because they feel they are sobered up after drinking coffee.
There are also reported behavioral effects of mixing alcohol and caffeinated drinks. Here are some of them:
- Increased binge drinking. Mixing alcohol with high-caffeine energy drinks increases the chances of binge drinking. Individuals aged 15-23 get a false security that after coffee, their drunkenness is reduced, giving them the confidence to take more alcohol than they can handle.
- Increased risky behaviors. Because caffeine can mask all the effects of alcohol, people who consume alcohol with caffeine are likely to be involved in a risky situation.
- Higher chance of sexual assault. Like the mentioned effect above, habitual mixing of caffeine and alcohol is the cause of sexual assault in parties and bars.
There are more dangerous effects of mixing alcohol with caffeinated drinks. It is why FDA is warning the people of the effects of alcohol with caffeinated drinks.
If you suspect that you or your loved one is developing an alcohol abuse disorder, early admission to a rehab facility is your best option.