Experts issue warning over alcohol mixed with energy drinks after study reveals effects on body
| Last updated
Researchers have spoken out to warn about the risks of ordering alcohol mixed with energy drinks.
We've all been there on a night out - slightly worse for wear, having been out the evening before or simply tired from a long week of work, ordering an alcoholic drink mixed with an energy drink to try and kick-start us into the weekend.
However, drinking alcohol mixed with energy drinks is a 'high-risk drinking practice' - not only because of the effects it has your physical health - but in how it can impact your mental state and behaviour too.
A group of researchers from the Department of Psychology at Palo Alto University in California, US, have conducted a systematic review examining how consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks affects young adult drinkers - aged 25 and below - in terms of their physical and sexual aggression.
The research examined 17 previous studies which took place prior to March 2023.
Drawing on previous studies, the researchers explain mixing energy drinks with alcohol can 'mask physiological cues', resulting in the drinker feeling more stimulated opposed to sedated the more they drink.
The researchers wrote: "This phenomenon, known as 'wide awake drunkenness' results in numerous problems, including impaired ability to judge one's intoxication level, desire to keep drinking, reduced risk assessment skills, and greater risk-taking."
The study - published in Science Direct - revealed alcohol mixed with energy drink use is 'significantly associated with aggressive behaviours'.
The results of the studies point to those who consume alcohol mixed with energy drinks being more likely to be both the perpetrator and victim of physical fights and 'bullying' behaviour compared to those who just drink alcohol.
Those who enjoy alcohol energy drink mixes were also found twice as likely to 'take advantage of another sexually'.
However, the study concluded 'more nuanced studies' are needed as it's not specifically the drink combination which makes people more violent - the people who order alcohol energy drink mixes equally as aggressive on nights they drink alcohol alone.
So, ultimately, it might not be the alcohol and energy drink mix which causes aggression, but the type of person who orders it could exhibit more violent tendencies than someone who sticks to alcohol and another mixer.
But what's the solution?
Professor Amie Haas, a co-author on the study, told Mail Online: "Imposing a ban after 11:00pm could help if it reduced the number of consumers getting intoxicated on alcohol energy drink beverages."
Although, the professor resolves: "Establishments who choose to serve these mixes should be aware that violence may be more likely to happen. But it is not solely attributable to drinking alcohol-energy drink mixes.
"Banning the mixes at establishments may reduce violence, but it may be because it is deterring alcohol energy drink consumers from drinking at public establishments not due to the kind of beverages they serve."
Chief executive of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, Dr Katherine Severi, notes a 'particular concern' over the marketing of alcohol energy drink mixtures.
Dr Severi adds young people are the ones 'predominantly targeted' to buy the drinks, despite already being 'more likely to be victims of violence in the night-time economy,' resolving the government and authorities should be concerned.
Chair of Alcohol Health Alliance Professor Sir Ian Gilmore stated: "We welcome policies that aim to reduce alcohol-related violence."
Please drink responsibly. If you want to discuss any issues relating to alcohol in confidence, contact Drinkline on 0300 123 1110, 9am–8pm weekdays and 11am–4pm weekends for advice and support