A recent study made by the Purdue University in Indiana, U.S., found out that the effects of mixing alcohol and energetic drinks are very similar to the ones made by cocaine.
It was already known that their individual consumption in excessive amounts is harmful to the well-being of the human brain, but the results, when taken mixed, were far more alarming than expected. Together, they possess ten times more caffeine than soda.
The pharmaceutical chemistry and molecular pharmacology professor, Richard van Rijn made this study along Meredith Robins, a graduate student. They tried the experiment on adolescent mice since their neural activity is compared to human beings’.
The young mice were given both energy drinks and alcohol at the same time. The results were breathtaking and were published in the PLoS ONE journal. The rodents exhibit behaviors and changes in their brains similar to the ones when taking cocaine. They grew accustomed to the effects generated by both substances.
These results would not have been seen if they were taken individually. The physical and neurochemical signs are only seen when they are consumed at the same time. Besides the brain damage consequences, Rjin and Robins also saw high levels of FosB, a protein seen in people who addictively consume drugs like cocaine and morphine.
“Mice that were exposed to highly caffeinated alcoholic drinks later found cocaine wasn’t as pleasurable. They may then use more cocaine to get the same effect,” said Richard Rjin to Civilized.
Mice became addicted
Their brains were changed in a way in which they are likely to abuse substances as adults. This means they would need more cocaine than usual to achieve the state the drug gives them.
People see this as a warning for teen and young adults, who are the ones more likely to consume these drinks. Steven Hill, a mental health Counselor and Coordinator with the Vince Smith SalusCare Clinic, says that until the mid 20s human brains are developing and changing in a helpful and vital way for the general brain development, as reported by ABC–7.
Hill, as someone who works with recovering adolescents, catalogs this as something scary. Young people might not be thinking about the long-term consequences when taking alcohol with energy drinks. They might not be seeing the addictive behavior they will start developing in the future.
The researchers said they also want to warn the energy drinks market, which is focused on teens and adults. They want to raise awareness, so people know what they are taking.