Mixing Energy Drinks & Alcohol Has A Similar Effect To Cocaine, In Case You Still Thought It Was A Good Idea
There are three things I used to love: energy drinks, booze, and getting plastered. Naturally, I would combine the first two to get the third. My plan would work, and I'd finish the night slurring my words and trying to remember my own address. But in addition to my inebriated stupor, I always felt really bad — sick to my stomach from just a couple drinks. It's all starting to make sense, though, because science has found that mixing energy drinks and alcohol has a similar effect to cocaine.
The study comes from researchers at Purdue University, who compared rats on cocaine with rats who had consumed a caffeine-and-alcohol mixture. Their behavior was startlingly similar. Even scarier was that the researchers saw that the boozy combination can cause permanent damage because it creates a protein called FosB, which changes your brain chemistry.
To be certain, it's the combination of the energy drink and alcohol. "We're clearly seeing effects of the combined drinks that we would not see if drinking one or the other," Dr. Richard van Rijn, one of the authors, said to the Sun. Does that mean energy drinks or alcohol alone are safe to consume? Not necessarily. Does that mean you should avoid the two in unison? Probably.
Perhaps the most alarming detail of this study is this: The mice given the alcohol mixture actually built up a tolerance to cocaine. They built up a tolerance to a drug they hadn't been exposed to by consuming alcohol and caffeine together.
I can't speak from experience, so I visited drugfreeworld.org to learn more about the side effects of cocaine. Short-term side effects include loss of appetite, nausea, hallucinations, irritability, erratic and even violent behavior, depression, and disturbed sleep patterns, to name a few. Long-term side effects of cocaine include malnutrition, tooth decay, abscesses (if injected), respiratory failure (if smoked), psychosis, and liver/kidney/lung damage.
These findings are nothing to scoff at. Getting tipsy or drunk might be fun (if done responsibly); but why risk causing permanent damage when you could simply swap your beverage and enjoy a similar tipsy-ness without the aforementioned side effects? Have a glass of wine instead (which can actually carry some healthy benefits), or crack open a cold beer. Sip a martini, or indulge in hard lemonade. But I can tell you one thing: I won't be having my old energy drink-and-vodka beverage anytime soon.