You see the ads and commercials everywhere. Lose weight, feel energized and become more productive. Energy drinks have become so popular today, especially among children. What’s worse is that these drinks have been responsible for putting thousands of people in the hospital every year.
In fact, there were 20,783 emergency room visits in 2011. That is double the amount from 2007, which was 10,068. A recent report on Emergency Department Visits Involving Energy Drinks that was published in The DAWN (Drug Abuse Warning Network) has brought much needed attention to this epidemic.
Are Energy Drinks Bad
Most people have heard of or even consumed energy drinks such as Red Bull, Rock Star, Monster and 5-hour energy. These drinks contain large amounts of caffeine along with other stimulants such as ginseng and guarana.
There can be anywhere from 75 milligrams to over 200 milligrams of caffeine in one serving of some of these beverages. Although small dosages of caffeine may help you concentrate better, large dosages can have many adverse effects that can be fairly uncomfortable, such as:
• Increased anxiety and nervousness
• Insomnia, or trouble sleeping
• Irritability and anger from caffeine withdrawal
• Jaw tension and bruxism (grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaw)
• Headaches, flu-like symptoms, lethargy and reduced motivation from caffeine withdrawal
There have also been reported medical and behavioral problems with children and young adults as a result of excessive caffeine consumption. As for college students, it has been shown that those who consumed energy drinks were more likely to use marijuana, partake in risky sexual behavior, become involved in fighting, smoking, drinking and abuse of prescription drugs.
Just like any other drug, it is possible to overdose on caffeine, leaving you extremely dizzy and disoriented. Long-term use of caffeine has been linked to stomach ulcers and depression. In the case of one young girl who was only 14 years old, caffeine cost her her life.
She developed a heart arrhythmia after drinking the energy drink called Monster. Her family sued the company after her death. The FDA continues to investigate other claims of death and illness having to do with using caffeine.
What Can Be Done?
Although it is recommended that children do not drink energy drinks by The American Academy of Pediatrics, it doesn’t mean that kids are just going to stop drinking them. As long as they are available and remain popular, they will continue to buy them. Health officials realize this and as a result the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Institute of Medicine has insisted that schools should not offer caffeinated drinks on campus.
In the end, each individual school has the final say as to whether they will include this in their school policies. Parents should monitor what their children are drinking and inform them of the dangers of consuming energy drinks. If kids are able to make smart choices on their own because of knowledge that they have, we won’t have to worry so much about what they’re drinking.
Talk to your kids and educate them about nutrition and taking care of their bodies. If a problem occurs where your son or daughter is abusing energy drinks or using drugs or alcohol, get them immediate help.
For more information contact www.narconon-news.org/ for more information.