Energy drinks have become more popular over time, with people consuming them now more than ever. With that, one cannot help but wonder if there are people out there who cannot go a day without getting an energy elevation.
Are energy drinks addictive? Yes, some people have suffered an addiction to energy drinks. You have to keep in mind that these drinks contain several ingredients, including caffeine. These substances work in altering the body’s chemistry, and this can entice addiction. You will not get addicted by taking one can. But if you increase this to two or three a day and keep doing this, it will only be a matter of time before addiction comes calling.
And when it does, and you give in to it, kicking the habit will have some harsh repercussions.
How can energy drinks be addictive?
Energy drinks contain caffeine, among other ingredients. Thus, the consumption of these beverages in high quantities is not advisable. It could result in substance dependence. It is almost similar to what coffee addicts go through. They have come to rely on the caffeine so much that a day without a brew seems impossible. People do not get addicted by taking one drink. They become addicted owing to habit.
It starts small. You take one can and feel good. The day passes, and tomorrow, you take another can and feel just as good. In the weeks that follow, that one can seem harmless and gives you that high you want. Then one can is no longer enough, and you graduate to two, then three, then four, and the cycle continues.
You do not even notice how many cans you are consuming. All you know is that you want an energy drink. Then you start needing it. Without that high, functioning as needed becomes hard. That’s when the problem begins.
How does this happen? Well, caffeine is a significant component of these drinks. This substance is highly addictive. If you get into the habit of taking it daily, your body could develop a dependency on it.
That’s why some people will complain of headaches when they skip their morning tea or coffee. Their bodies have grown accustomed to this caffeine kick and need it to function as required. For teens and young adults, the risk is even higher. Developing this caffeine dependency at a young age puts them at risk of using other substances in the future.
This risk of substance abuse applies to everyone, though, regardless of age. It also increases based on how long one has depended on energy drinks. The longer one uses the energy drinks, the higher the chances of abusing other substances. However, a link as to the two is yet to get established.
What are the dangers of energy drinks addiction?
Needing that energy drink might not seem like a big deal. After all, people get addicted to many things and lead normal lives, isn’t that so? Well, it is not that easy when it comes to energy drinks. Possible effects include the following:
- Cardiac Arrest: continued use of energy drinks puts you at risk of cardiac arrest. It owes to the forced muscle contractions in the heart, which work in elevating your energy levels. That can have adverse effects on people who already have heart issues. In some cases, fatalities could occur.
- Added Anxiety: some people feel anxious after consuming energy drinks, and this makes them prone to panic attacks. That is especially the case for people with variations in their adenosine receptors. Now, imagine having an addiction that takes away from your mental health by giving you anxiety. How would life be for you?
- Headaches: people who regularly consume energy drinks are at risk of getting headaches. Trying to quit energy drinks by going cold turkey could be one reason behind these pains. In other cases, it could owe to an overdose of one of the ingredients in the energy drink. Some people suffer migraines when taking these drinks, or when they fail to consume them.
- Diabetes: type 2 diabetes can develop in people who often consume energy drinks. It happens when insulin-producing cells in the pancreas wear out owing to too much sugar in the body.
These are but some of the likely effects of developing an addiction to these beverages.
How do you know if you are addicted to energy drinks?
How can you tell that you have developed an addiction to energy drinks? Here are twelve pointers you can use to tell if you have a cause to worry:
- The need to have an energy drink when you wake up in the morning. You should wake up feeling fresh and ready to take on the day. Waking up craving an energy drink once in a while is not bad. However, if this is how you feel every day, you might have a problem.
- After that first drink, do you have more? Some people will have one drink and will be fine for the rest of the day. Others will have a few over the day. If you regularly take more than one can per day, you might be in trouble.
- Irritability has become a part of your routine. Suppose you wake up and cannot find an energy drink, how would you react? If not having a drink affects your mood, you do have something to think about.
- You are willing to take detours to get an energy drink. If it reaches a point where you are willing to cut corners to get a drink, you are likely facing an addiction. The day you are late to work, miss a date, cancel a hangout or anything to look for an energy drink, think hard.
- Where is your money going? If you notice that you have increased your spending on energy drinks and cannot stop, that might be an issue. However, if you are okay with cutting back on the expenditure and can do it, go ahead.
- Having an energy drink has become part of your diet. Almost every time you are having a meal, you have a drink with you. The meal may even feel incomplete if you do not have a kick of energy waiting for you.
- You use energy drinks to keep fatigue at bay. Maybe you started doing it as a way to avoid sleeping. It could be that you wanted to finish your assignments. And now, you feel that you have struck gold and keep downing those drinks. You get work done in time and cannot help but rely on the drinks. This might be fuelling an addiction.
- You suffer withdrawal symptoms. These can range from headaches to tremors when you miss a day of energy drinks. Try taking a day off the drinks and see how your body reacts to this. If the response is negative, then you might have your answer.
- People are talking about it. Maybe your loved ones make remarks as to how often you take energy drinks. They may even have called for an intervention in the hope of getting you to stop. Pay attention to what’s happening around you.
- Your productivity suffers without that energy high. Each time you miss a drink, your energy levels fall, your mood suffers, and things change fast. If this is the case, you could be overly dependent on energy drinks.
- Taking plain water is not something that you do. When you feel thirsty, it feels like second nature to reach for an energy drink.
- Taking an energy drink does not take away your fatigue. That could point to you having developed a high tolerance for caffeine. It makes you need more drinks to take away that tiredness.
If one or more of these apply to you, then an energy drink addiction is possible.
How to deal with an energy drink addiction?
If you think that you might have an energy drink addiction, the solution lies in accepting that you have a problem. This acceptance goes a long way in helping you get the help you need, including detoxing and counseling. Do not let addiction dictate your life. Instead, take charge by seeking help where it is necessary.