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Energy drink consumption fuels addiction to drugs over time, finds study
Posted in Addiction

The energy drink market in the United States is huge with sales averaging billions of dollars each year. Typically containing high percentage of caffeine, some energy drinks also contain additional ingredients like taurine, vitamin B, L-carnitine and guarana. They are marketed as products that help increase the level of alertness and attention. For this reason, an energy drink has gained immense popularity among younger age groups.

However, experts warn against stimulants used in such drinks that can have adverse effects on the nervous system. Some common side effects include headache, rapid heartbeat, nausea, drowsiness and, in extreme cases, death. Despite energy drink consumption being common across large sections of the American population, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not granted it regulated-product tag owing to lack of adequate research.

Assessing link between energy drink consumption and substance abuse

A new study suggests that young adults consuming energy drinks on a regular basis are at a greater likelihood of using illicit substances or drink alcohol excessively during the later years of their lives. The study published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence examined prevalence of energy drink use in a sample of 1,099 adults aged 21-25 years.

Researchers referred to differing patterns of energy drink consumption as “trajectories.” They categorized the participants into different trajectory groups – persistent, non-use, intermediate and desisting — based on their consumption. Of the total number of respondents, roughly 51 percent had a persistent trajectory of consumption of energy drinks while 20.6 percent did not use energy drinks. In addition, the researchers found that 17.4 percent of the participants belonged to an intermediate trajectory group and an estimated 10.6 percent had been trying to cut down on energy drink consumption over the period of the study.

The study found that those respondents consuming energy drinks persistently were at an increased risk of using cocaine and nonmedical prescription stimulants (NPS), along with being detected with alcohol use disorder (AUD) when they had turned 25. Elaborating the findings, lead author Dr. Amelia Arria said, “The results suggest that energy drink users might be at heightened risk for other substance use, particularly stimulants.”

Moreover, those participants involved in moderate energy drink consumption were also at an increased risk of using hard drugs like cocaine and NPS, in addition to living with AUD by the time they turned 25 when compared with their peers who were either not using or trying to get rid of energy drinks. However, the study warrants detailed research since it could not pinpoint the exact biological factors that may trigger drug use among energy drink consumers.

Recovery from drug addiction is possible

Excessive use of anything can be harmful, and so is in the case of energy drink consumption. The fact that having energy drinks can be the cause of drug use in future, it is necessary that physicians inquire addicted patients about their drinking habits before recommending treatment for drug addiction. Remember that drug addiction is a disease and necessitates early treatment at a reputed behavioral health care provider.

Sovereign Health of Texas understands the plight of someone suffering from addiction to any kind of harmful substances. Our experts provide evidence-based treatment to each patient according to his/her needs. You may contact our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives to learn more about our drug rehab centers in Texas.

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