Warning: Don’t Mix Alcohol and Caffeine
Have you ever had a mixed drink with alcohol and energy drink during a night out with your buddies? Or maybe you’ve purchased those bottled caffeinated alcoholic drinks? While these drinks and products may be readily available, studies show that mixing alcohol and caffeine can have dangerous outcomes. Read on to learn about the risks of consuming alcohol and caffeine together and find tips to protect yourself if you do.
Mixing alcohol and caffeine – what could go wrong?
- Missed warning signals. Caffeine is a stimulant (makes you more alert), and alcohol is a depressant (makes your body slow down and makes you feel drowsy or relaxed). As a result, drinking caffeine and alcohol together can mask the effects of alcohol and make you feel more sober than you really are. That is why mixing these substances could cause you to miss your body’s natural warning signals that tell you you’ve had too much to drink.
- Drinking beyond your limit. Being more alert from caffeine can lead you to believe you can drink more (or continue drinking). If you do so, your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) could rise to dangerous levels without you feeling the common side effects like slurred speech, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision and slowed reaction time. This can cause serious risks like alcohol poisoning and ensure a horrible hangover the next day.
- Major dangers. Those who drink alcohol with energy drinks are also more likely to report having unwanted or unprotected sex, driving drunk, riding with a drunk driver or experiencing alcohol-related injuries.
If you end up in a situation where you’re mixing caffeine and alcohol, be sure to follow these tips to protect your well-being:
- Keep track of your drinks. If you drink caffeine and alcohol at the same time, you may drink more alcohol than you planned. Keep track of how many drinks you have and space them out over time so you don’t overdo it. Remember, you can always pass on another drink.
- Stay hydrated. Caffeine and alcohol are both diuretics (think: makes you urinate more), so it’s possible for your body to become dehydrated more quickly. If you choose to drink, make every other drink a glass of water to stay hydrated.
- Plan ahead. Stick with a sober buddy and always plan your ride ahead if you plan on drinking. It’s never worth the risk (and definitely not the cost of a DUI).
Mixing alcohol and caffeine is riskier than drinking alcohol by itself, so it’s best to avoid combining the two. Savor your buzz responsibly and stay safe by keeping the caffeine and cocktails separate!