Energy Drinks Plus Alcohol? BAD IDEA

I stumbled across this article this morning discussing the dangers of combining energy drinks and alcohol. The article discusses a study conducted by Megan Patrick of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and Jennifer Maggs of Penn State University. Some of their findings included:

–“…the use of energy drinks and alcohol together may lead to heavier drinking and more serious alcohol-related problems…” (Source)

It is already widely known that energy drinks by themselves pose serious health concerns such as increasing the heart’s contraction rates (source). Energy drinks can also cause insomnia, and increased risk of becoming addicted to other substances due to compulsive caffeine intake (source). Pair this with the averse affects of alcohol and you have a potentially disastrous cocktail.

So next time you’re looking for a good time, avoid energy drinks, alcohol, and CERTAINLY energy drinks + alcohol together. Make wise choices for your health and rethink the drink! Choose better options like water, tea, fruit juice, or even soda. There are plenty of ways to cut loose and have fun without compromising your health.

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Teen Drinking Can Lead to Brain Damage

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Damage to the brain of a teenage drinker from NPR’s article.

I know we’ve spoken about brain damage associated with teen drinking before on the blog, but the message needs to be reiterated. Articles are still regularly published about the risks to the brains of those who drink before pivotal neurological processes have matured. Take this one from NPR, published in 2010:

“…key areas of the brain are still under construction during the adolescent years, and are more sensitive to the toxic effects of drugs and alcohol…” (Source Article)

Because teenagers’ brains are still developing, when they engage in underage drinking behaviors, this can cause averse effects to the developing organ. Why risk putting possibly permanent damage onto such an important part of your body? Be strong and choose to avoid alcohol during your underage years. Don’t risk harm to your unique and growing mind!!

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Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

Bartow+Ad+3.792x5_1colorMost underage drinkers and even adult drinkers often indulge for social reasons. Alcohol can lower your inhibitions and make you feel good, free, and buzzed. But what many adult and most underage drinkers don’t understand is how easy it is to abuse alcohol. Because alcohol lowers your inhibitions, it can be terribly easy to have one too many drinks far too often–especially if you don’t have the accountability that maturity and wise friends can give you. If you’re at a party drinking with other teenagers, chances are, you’re not very concerned about limiting yourself to one drink– as a more moderation-conscientious adult might do.

But what is that second, third, fourth, fifth drink doing to your body? If you’re indulging in alcoholic drinks as a teen or indulging in too many drinks as an adult, you could be heading towards alcohol abuse–the first BAD roadblock on the way to alcoholism. What is alcohol abuse?

“Alcohol abuse is defined as a pattern of drinking that can affect social and emotional responsibilities and even result in legal problems. When a person abuses alcohol, his or her drinking habits can harm his or her health or cause injury to the abuser or others.” From Lakeview Health Systems

PARENTS and FRIENDS: What are some signs of alcohol or drug abuse to look for in your children, friends,  or fellow teens:

>> The odor of alcohol can be found on their breath

>> Frequent changes in mood or attitude that may coincide with avoidance and hiding behaviors

>> Loss of interest in previous activities

>> Developmental difficulties arise

>> They seem depressed and secretive

>> Alcohol disappears from their home

>> An increase in party behavior

Isolated signs may not be an indication of alcohol abuse, but if many of these signs are seen together, try talking with your child or friend about their activities. Be open to what they have to say, but firm about the fact that abusing alcohol to cope with emotions or to fit into a social group can seriously harm their health, result in death, or ruin their emotional well-being. Most teens are aware of the dangers that alcohol can bring, but be sure to remind them of these risks.

What can parents do to help their child avoid alcohol abuse?

>> Be aware of where your teens are hanging out

>> Meet your teen’s friends and only allow them to associate with those whom you feel comfortable with and who are a good influence

>> Set curfews and limits on their independent activity

>> Know the parents of your teen’s friends

>> Encourage your teen to make independent, wise choices for their health and well-being

>> Have your child text you periodically if they are away from home for an extended period of time to check in with you.

Helpful resources on this subject: Dangers to Your Health: Alcohol Abuse // Kids and Alcohol // Stop Underage Drinking