Parents Should Ask Themselves: Can Caffeine Harm Your Teen’s Health?
Follow most any group of teens through the day and it’s likely you will find one or more indulging in the increasingly popular energy drink. The popularity of these products means that there are now dozens of brands on the market, including these:
Mountain Dew MDX
Cintron Energy Enhancer
Crunk Energy Drink
These drinks are heavily dosed with caffeine, sugar and herbal stimulants. Teens may enjoy the surge of energy they get from drinking them, but there is a price to pay. The stimulating quality of these drinks may make a young person more alert for an hour or so but there is a strain on the heart. And caffeine is a stimulant to the kidneys, tending to cause dehydration.
Potentially Fatal Effects of these Drinks
Parents should ask themselves, can caffeine harm your teen’s health? When a person mixes these drinks with alcohol, there are multiple threats created. Alcohol also tends to dehydrate a person, so or drinking them during the same outing can place a strain on a person’s health. In two extreme examples of the potential effects of these drinks, a 28-year-old Australian motocross racer suffered a cardiac arrest after drinking energy drinks then racing all day and an 18-year-old died while playing basketball after drinking two cans of Red Bull.
Also, since energy drinks because more alertness, they can counteract the grogginess associated with intoxication. A person may be drunk but not feel like it if they also consume energy drinks. This can result in a person thinking they are safe to drive when they are not. In 2009, NFL player Donte Stallworth hit and killed a pedestrian after drinking tequila and Red Bull at the same sitting. Afterwards, he said that he had not felt drunk when he set out in his car.
If you decide that yes, caffeine can harm your teen’s health, it is important that you talk to your teen about healthier ways to achieve alertness and energy.
How Do Energy Drinks Tie in to Alcohol?
A person who goes out partying may extend their ability to keep drinking past their normal ability to stay alert. A person naturally begins to become dopey after hitting certain levels of intoxication, which limits their ability to continue to drink. But adding energy drinks to the night means they may continue to drink beyond their normal limits. One young girl in Milton, Massachusetts wound up in the emergency room after she overdosed on alcohol and energy drinks. The combination dehydrated her and the energy drinks caused a crash at 3 A.M., landing her in the hospital.
The normal person may be able to control their drinking habits but a person trapped in compulsive use of alcohol, especially if they then add these over sugared, high-caffeine drinks to the mix, is running at greater risk.
Becky Winslow is a freelance writer and consultant for Narconon Drug Rehabiliation where her primary goal is to educate young adults of the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. Winslow has been drug free for 3 years now and writing is her anti-drug.