People Drinking Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages May Not Realize They're Drunk

Allison Loudermilk

I've only had a caffeinated alcoholic beverage once. It was a Red Bull and vodka. After consuming it, I remember feeling the urge to do some jumping jacks, instead of, say, dancing like the other normal partygoers. That's it. But as you guys well know, caffeinated alcoholic beverages (CABs) are ridiculously popular. Head to a convenience store to stock up before a big night and you could encounter as many as 25 different brands of these beverages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heck, you can even find anti-energy drinks, as Robert noted in a post a while back. And then there are the countless YouTube videos out there, like this one:

But what's so bad about mixing alcohol and energy drinks? Why might someone consuming a CAB be twice as likely as a drinker who took their alcohol sans energy to sexually take advantage of someone or be taken advantage of? Why would a CAB lover be twice as likely to hop in the car with someone who was intoxicated as compared to that energy-free alcohol imbiber, according to the CDC?

A couple of Temple University researchers who investigated the effects of ethanol and caffeine on mice think the problem stems from caffeine's inability to correct learning impairments caused by alcohol. What? All that caffeine you're swilling along with the alcohol may pep you right up, but it definitely doesn't sober you up, nor does it help you learn, as caffeine has been shown to do in some mice and rats. The researchers wound up with a bunch of mice who were relaxed but not avoiding threats particularly well.

And there's our fairly straightforward reason: Drink a lot of CABs and you're going to be alert AND drunk. When you're drunk and plain old tired, you might be more inclined to recognize your condition and curl up in a corner and call it a night. Not necessarily so when you mix caffeine and alcohol.

Whatever you do though, be careful. Be moderate. Be safe. We don't need to lose any of you guys.

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