Based on the research coming from the University of Maryland School of Public Health, the question now is if energy drinks can be grouped as the new gateway drug?
The study conducted at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, surveyed about 1 100 students, between the ages of 21 until 25, over a five year period. Of the 1 100 students, 51% drank energy drinks a lot, 17% were moderate drinkers of these beverages and 20% did not drink these sorts of drinks. The remainder of the sample declined over the five-year period. What this study found was that the heavy energy drinkers were at a higher risk of using non medical prescription stimulate or even cocaine after the age of 25. In addition, this group was at a higher risk of developing alcohol abuse. What the study did found was that this group was not at a higher risk of weed or smoking use.
This study has indicated a huge red flag, that energy drinks could be the reason for people to develop substance abuse after the age of 25. More so, there is an indication that caffeine or other ingredients found in energy drinks could mimic the effects of certain drugs.
Although it should be mentioned that it is still unclear how energy drinks could lead to the drug additions, but what we do know is that energy drinks are very high in caffeine.
Besides the drink itself, another factor that should be taken into account is the person. That is since the type of person that drinks the energy drink might come from a family that has a history of addition abuse. This means that energy drinks could be the same as people with eating disorders.
It should also be stated that the environment is another factor that should be looked at. That is since the college campus environment could fuel the indulgence with energy drinks. That is as the drinks are marketed at the students, it is easily available and it might seem as harmless, if not healthy, to the students.
There could also be a lack of information, as students might not be aware of the risk factors of drinking energy drinks and their huge caffeine levels. Alternatively, the students might be aware of the high caffeine levels and are using these drinks as a simulant to study, but are not aware of the side effects or are willing to risk the side effects with the end goal of passing their exams.
Nonetheless, the side effects could include heart problems, high blood pressure, and addition. The fear is that once the students leave college that they will replace this energy drink addition with another such as cocaine.
However the common side effects of energy drinks are palpitations, tremors and shaking, feeling restlessness, gastrointestinal upset, chest pain, feeling dizzy, a tingling or numbing of the skin, insomnia, respiratory distress and a headache.
The problem with energy drinks are the ingredients. Energy contain high levels of caffeine, but also sugar, taurine, ginseng and ginkgo biloba. All of these ingredients have side effects that could raise your heart rate, and blood pressure. More so, make you feel addictive to feeling alert.
Energy drinks, taken by young adults have been found to lead to drug addiction later on. These type of drinks, although they give you that instant boost during the times you want to or need to study, they come at a cost – that crash or worst the lack of sleep. They can therefore become the opposite that you were aiming for.
The best is to limit the amount of energy drinks that you might consume. If not, the best, to replace them with better and healthier options, such as green tea, coffee, and water that has been flavored with strawberries or a slice of lemon.
If you feel that you might have a problem, then do consult a professional or a doctor that could refer you to someone. There is no need that any form of addiction should affect your health.