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Mixing Alcohol and Caffeine Results in Dire Consequences

Posted in Alcohol Abuse

One traditional treatment method encouraged by those drinking too much while out with friends is to down some black coffee to try and "sober up". The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t speed the sobering process; it can instead worsen the individual’s drunken state.

Today, the problem has extended beyond the black coffee as alcoholic drinks are now available with caffeine as one of the primary ingredients. This was the focus of a recent Science Daily release, highlighting that the FDA has warned four companies to remove their products from store shelves. The suggested health problem may be bigger than we realize.

Researcher Jonathan Howland, PhD, Department of Community Health Sciences and Department of Emergency Medicine, Boston University, noted that while a number of manufacturers have removed their caffeinated beer from the market, young people continue to combine their alcoholic drinks with their caffeinated beverages.

One study highlighted that bar patrons who had consumed beverages containing both alcohol and caffeine had a three-fold risk of leaving an establishment highly intoxicated, compared with those who consumed the same amount of alcohol, sans the caffeine. The former also had a four-fold risk of intending to drive after they left the bar, assuming they were sober enough to get behind the wheel.

Another study examining this same pattern of drinking found that students who consumed beverages combining alcohol and caffeine had double the risk of experiencing or committing sexual assault, getting in the car with a drunk driver, being involved in a drunk-driving accident or requiring medical attention.

Alcoholic drinks that also contain caffeine have been found to slow the intoxication perception for the consumer, meaning he or she will get drunk much faster than they realize.