Why is the combination of alcohol and caffeine considered so dangerous?

Just over a year ago, shelves were stocked with alcoholic energy drinks. Now they're all gone. Why are they considered such a threat to our health?

asked 09 Mar '12, 12:52

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McKail
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Alcoholic energy drinks, like Four Loko, Sparks, or Tilt, are high-volume, high-proof, energy-packed beverages found at your local liquor store or gas station. They became highly controversial after the drinks were found responsible for a string of health complications and deaths. Legislation forced the companies to change their alcoholic drinks to be "energy-free".

(09 Mar '12, 17:10) Jack ♦

alcohol

Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant not recommended to be mixed with powerful stimulants.

energy-drinks

Energy Drinks

Alcoholic-energy drinks have created quite a stir in recent years due to health concerns and under-age abuse. Legislation recently banned all sales of alcoholic drinks containing "energy" (caffeine, guarana, etc.).

caffeine

Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant drug most commonly found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks.


Alcohol is a depressant that slows brain function, heart rate, and respiration. Caffeine is a stimulant, which is considered the functional opposite of a depressant. When depressants and stimulants are combined, their effects do not simply "cancel each other out", contrary to many (ignorant) beliefs. Instead, your body comes to a state of serious instability, as heart rate and brain functionality fluctuate up and down. Too much of both at once can cause the heart to seize.

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answered 09 Mar '12, 14:13

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Jack ♦
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accept rate: 3%

My doctor told me the most dangerous drink I could possibly order at a bar is a Vodka Red Bull. Lesson learned: Don't combine uppers and downers.

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answered 09 Mar '12, 14:22

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aLtErEdSTATE
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accept rate: 3%

When considering the risks of combining stimulants with alcohol don't forget awareness.

If you get drunk, you know it, and stop drinking. Even if you only stop because you passed, you still stopped drinking before you died from alcohol poisoning. Taking stimulants like caffeine while drinking will mask your drunkeness... and can cause you to drink more, when you are already drunk and poisoning yourself.

So you lose awareness of how drunk you are, and can overdose. This in fact happened to many people when these combo drinks were legal.

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Asked: 09 Mar '12, 12:52

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Last updated: 11 Apr '12, 19:35