Here at Sober Living by the Sea, we are always noticing that the men and women who are in the process of recovery seem to enjoy energy drinks like “Red Bull,” “Monster,” and “Rock Star.”
We address the consumption of these beverages repeatedly in our various addiction treatment programs, particularly during Kevin McCauley’s lectures regarding the disease model of addiction. The substitution of energy drinks and other substances like tobacco (and even activities like gambling, sex, and shopping) is very common when the user is in early recovery from chemical dependency. The abuse of these types of substances allows the user to more easily cope with craving by getting a spike of dopamine pleasure in their brain that the substance they used to abuse once provided.
A Disturbing Trend – Alcohol Energy Drinks
Public health and safety officials have become alarmed by the newest entry into the world of alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic energy drinks are prepackaged beverages that contain not only alcohol but also caffeine and other stimulants like taurine, ginseng and guarana.
What should make you really uncomfortable about the newest development in the world of Big Alcohol targeting youthful imbibers is the design of the packaging which blends right into the world of non-alcoholic energy drinks.
Although there is debate regarding the overall risks and benefits of energy drink and moderate caffeine consumption, health researchers agree that caffeine consumption can have adverse health consequences, particularly at high doses. Among the most common negative effects are increased anxiety, panic attacks, increased blood pressure, increased gastric acid, bowel irritability, and insomnia.
The more studies that are completed regarding the health risks of combining alcohol and caffeine predictably show that there is a positive correlation between combining these products and danger.
For more information about the Wake Forest study showing that students who mix alcohol with caffeinated energy drinks are at a higher risk for alcohol-related injuries, see the Wake Forest Press release here: http://www1.wfubmc.edu/news/NewsArticle.htm?Articleid=2193.
For a disturbing story about a female teen in Florida who died after mixing alcohol and energy drinks visit the jointogether.com release here: http://www.jointogether.org/news/headlines/inthenews/2008/florida-teen-dies-after.html.
Taking Action Against Alcohol Energy Drinks
The objections of law enforcement officials, as well as parents and leading public health organizations, caused Anheuser-Busch to already pull their product “Spykes.” There is also an ongoing campaign to convince MillerCoors to do the same with their product “Sparks.”
If you really want to tell Miller and Coors to stop making “Sparks” then you can submit a letter online to the president of Miller Coors Tom Long here: http://members.jointogether.org/campaign/miller/