The dangers of teens drinking energy drinks

Posted at 9:57 AM, Mar 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-31 14:23:06-04

Energy drinks are often popular amongst teens and high school students, but doctors warn parents who let their kids drink them to reconsider this option.

Doctors said energy drinks can have negative side effects on adolescents who are still growing and it can be dangerous to their health.

Red Bull, Monster and even 5-hour energy drinks are known for having high levels of caffeine. This can give people more energy, but what they don’t know is these drinks are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Considering the FDA does not regulate the number of ingredients that goes in them, no one knows what is inside the drinks.

Doctor Rachel Dawson who's an adolescent physician at McLane Children's hospital said it could be large amounts of foreign substances, in addition to caffeine and sugar. And, if teens drink too much it can have a major impact on their health

“On multiple occasions, I’ve seen teens in the hospital because they will potentially get an increase in their heart rate, and they will feel like maybe their heart is coming out of their chest. Also, they may not sleep as well because of the increase in caffeine,” Dr. Dawson said.

Other side effects include anxiety, shortness of breath and chest pain all from digesting too much caffeine. Another problem involves young adults mixing these energy drinks with alcohol. That can also cause negative effects due to the energy drinks diluting the alcohol making them feel like they're not drinking as much.

Teens usually buy these drinks because they like the taste or the buzz they get from them but Dawson said if they mix it with medication this can cause even greater health risk.

“If they're on other medications for example some kids may be on a stimulant for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder they may be on medication for other mental health conditions. The energy drinks can actually impact those medications,” Dr. Dawson said.

Dr. Dawson also said the most effective way for teens to have their full amount of energy is by getting a good night’s rest and they should stop drinking energy drinks all together.

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