Are Energy Drinks Endangering Your Health? [AUDIO]
A new report finds as energy drinks become more popular, a growing number of people who consume the beverages are going to hospital emergency rooms for treatment of various illnesses.
A survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says from 2007 to 2011, the number of ER visits involving energy drinks doubled - from 10,000 to 20,000.
Frightening Side Effects Possible
Dr. Mary Campagnolo, the President of the Medical Society of New Jersey, says, "The drinks can be useful to keep a level of alertness, but if you over-do it, it's possible that somebody will feel very shaky, nauseous, have some hallucinations. It can start with just nausea, sickness, indigestion, but also there could be some effects on mental orientation - also jittery feelings, heart palpitations, skipped heartbeats, so it could be some fairly significant effects that could be potentially very frightening."
She says if you're going to consume an energy drink you should keep in mind, "It's much more potent than the typical sources of caffeine, such as coffee or tea…It should just not be used in multiple quantities in a short period of time…These energy drinks should not be chugged like Gatorade - they're not equivalent to that, they're much more stimulating and could be potentially dangerous so they shouldn't be consumed so quickly within a short period of time."
Dr. Campagnolo adds if you've been using energy drinks with any regularity, you could suffer serious withdrawal problems if you stop - which could include "headaches, feelings of depression and just lack of motivation - very fatigued feelings…using the drinks on a regular basis to supposedly increase your energy could then lead you to a much more significant problems down the road with withdrawal."
Dr. Steven Marcus, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Poison Information Education System, says college kids, for ages, have used coffee and no-doz pills to stay up late and study.
"So that's always been available, but these energy drinks are used by young people to party all night and they're readily available - caffeine in the right amount can be useful but these drinks make it easy to go over the edge and consume too much of it."
He says too much caffeine, "can actually go so far as causing seizures, it can speed your heart rate up to the point where you have cardiac arrhythmia, and if the heart is driven so fast and at such an erratic rate from the caffeine, then you can bring the heart to a stop."