Energy Drinks Tied to ER Visits

First Posted: Jan 16, 2013 11:06 AM EST

You may want to cut down on those highly caffeinated energy drinks if you haven't already. A new government survey indicates that the number of people seeking emergency treatment after consuming energy drinks has doubled across the nation during the past four years.

What is causing people to seek emergency treatment after quaffing their favorite beverage? Energy drinks can cause insomnia, nervousness, headache, fast heartbeat and seizures-assuming that one drinks enough of them.  More than half of the patients in the survey told doctors that they had drunk only energy drinks, though 42 percent of the cases in 2011 also involved a combination of alcohol or other drugs, according to the AP.

The main culprits seem to be teens and young adults, downing these drinks in an effort to stay awake after all-nighters. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It makes the body more alert, but can also lead to dependence or intoxication if consumed to excess. In addition, many people do not realize how strong these energy drinks really are. One drink can be the equivalent of downing three or five cups of coffee at a time. Since the energy drink industry has risen to new heights in the past several years, it's easier than ever to get that extra boost that you might need during your day.

That is not to say that all energy drinks are all bad. A moderate amount of caffeine per day -about two to four cups for an adult- is perfectly fine. It is only when that amount spirals out of control that medical issues arise.

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