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A new type of drink to hit the stands of several markets across the U.S. is caffeinated alcoholic beverages (CAB). These drinks, a combination of alcohol and an extremely high amount of caffeine, gained popularity during the 2000s.

The reason for its popularity amongst teens and young adults is that these were marketed amongst them using mediums that are current like Facebook and Instagram along with youth-oriented storylines and messages. These beverages contain a mix of malt or any other grain, liquor, juices, ingredients from energy drinks, added sugar, and caffeine. The alcohol concentration in some of these beverages is as high as 12 percent compared to the 4 or 5 percent usually found in beer.

Caffeine alone does not have any intoxicating effect. Instead it tends to mask the body’s abilities to feel the effects of alcohol. But when mixed with alcohol, it becomes potent. While alcohol is a sedative and intoxicating in nature, caffeine is a stimulant which increases alertness. By mixing both, caffeine masks the effects of alcohol, keeping one alert and making them feel like they can drink more. This leads to a higher consumption of alcohol also known as  binge drinking, and an increased risk of indulging in unsafe alcohol related practices like driving under the influence, unsafe sexual practices, and fighting.

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, teens and young adults who mix alcohol with energy drinks are 4 times more likely to binge drink and at higher intensities. It is observed that they consume 6 or more drinks per drinking episode compared to people who do not mix their alcohol with energy drinks.

Side effects and consequences of CABs

Binge drinking, as a result of consuming CABs, has several negative side effects, such as:

  • Heavier intoxication than usual
  • Increased likelihood to indulge in high risk sexual behaviors
  • Aggressive behavior causing injuries to self and others
  • Intoxication leading to drunk and rash driving
  • Associated mental health problems

Apart from caffeine, alcohol is also mixed with energy drinks, aerated drinks, and juices. Consumption of CABs may lead to alcohol poisoning and related blackouts.

Mixing alcohol with caffeine causes serious physical problems especially heart disorders, high blood pressure, severe dehydration, and digestive problems. It can also lead to mental health problems such as anxiety, agitation, and sleep disorders.

Ban on CABs

Once the effects of CABs became known, there was a public outcry against the drink. Washington, Michigan, and Oklahoma banned CABs in 2010. Utah, on the other hand, did not allow the sales of these once their effects were observed in reports and in other states. Even New York suspended the retail sale of such products.

In the same year, the Food and Drug Administration warned multiple companies saying that the addition of caffeine to alcoholic drinks were an unsafe practice posing severe health concerns. However, the companies argued that drinking a CAB was the same thing as having a couple of glasses of wine followed by coffee. However, caffeine does not affect the way an individual metabolizes alcohol. Further, it does not reduce an individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), sober them, or reduce the chances of a person sustaining alcohol impairment-related injuries.

Seeking treatment at Adeona Healthcare

Alcohol is addictive in nature and mixing it with another addictive substance like caffeine can be dangerous. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) report, around 443,000 adolescents suffered from alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the past year. Addiction can also lead to co-occurring mental health disorders, and suddenly stopping alcohol consumption can lead to severe and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

To make withdrawal a comfortable and tolerable process, it is essential that a person seeks professional alcohol addiction treatment. A comprehensive treatment program for alcohol addiction comprises medically assisted detoxification treatment followed by behavioral counseling and alternative therapies under professional care. Adeona Healthcare is a rehab center for teens aged between 12 to 17 which provides comprehensive treatment programs for teen alcohol or drug addiction, mental disorders, and dual-diagnosis.

We understand that teenagers are sensitive and therefore require delicate care. Thus, we individualize the treatment program for each of our teen patients keeping in mind their treatment goals and requirements. For further information, call our 24/7 helpline 888-379-9360 or chat online with a representative now.

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