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Mixing alcohol with energy drinks may trigger cocaine addiction: Study

Mixing alcohol with energy drinks may trigger cocaine addiction: Study

November 14 | By CAAH Team

Energy drinks, whether sugar-free or not, form the most popular dietary supplement among teens and young adults in the United States. Frequently reported to contain high amount of cocaine, the energy drink can have serious side effects. Extremely popular among young people, energy drinks in combination with alcohol help increase concentration power and lower inhibition. However, it may lead to addiction and impaired judgment.

Lately, there has been a dramatic increase in the number and variety of highly caffeinated products in the market. Among the caffeinated products, caffeinated energy drinks are the most popular ones. This has led to an increase in the incidents of mixing alcohol with caffeinated energy drinks.

Combination of alcohol and energy drinks tend to affect behavior

As per a recent study by the Perdue University, Indiana, caffeinated alcoholic beverages can alter activity in the adolescent brain and tend to have the same effect as cocaine. A team led by Dr. Richard van Rijn at the Purdue University tested the effect of mixing alcohol with highly caffeinated energy drinks on adolescent mice. Dr. van Rijn said the combination of alcohol and energy drinks caused a change in the person’s behavior and the neurochemistry of the brain.

The study also discovered building of tolerance levels against cocaine in mice as they grew older. The mice, exposed to caffeinated alcohol drinks in adolescence, were less sensitive to cocaine to get the same high, an indication of addiction and overdose.

Dr. van Rijn also stated that mice exposed to caffeine and alcohol at an early age did not find cocaine as pleasurable as adults. Previous researches have said that changes in the brain of mice that were exposed to drugs were similar to that of humans. The study found that the mice that were repeatedly given caffeinated alcohol also became increasingly more active.

The experiment also saw the creation of a protein called FosB in mice that indicated long-term changes in the brain chemistry. The study observed that regular consumption of caffeinated alcoholic beverages by adolescent mice led to unique behavioral and neurochemical effects not observed in mice administered alcohol and caffeine alone. It is also possible that repeated exposure to caffeinated alcoholic beverages may escalate future substance use, the study noted.

Cocaine increases level of dopamine

Cocaine, a strong central nervous system psycho-stimulant, can be snorted, smoked and injected. It increased the level of dopamine, a pleasure creating chemical in the brain. In a normal brain, dopamine is released to bind to the dopamine receptors, which is then recycled by the brain through special dopamine transporters. For a brain that is addicted to cocaine, the recycling process gets blocked causing a dopamine build-up, thereby causing the continuous supply of dopamine in the brain, leaving the user with euphoric and pleasurable effects.

Constant and long-term use of cocaine may alter a person’s brain chemistry, leading to long-term changes in the brain’s reward system. Its long-term use has the capacity to cause an extreme change in the way dopamine is managed in the brain.

Seeking available help for addiction

Addiction is a condition characterized by repeated and compulsive seeking of substances and using any substance despite knowing its adverse mental and physical consequences. Addiction is usually accompanied by mental and physical dependence on the addictive substance. Once addicted, it is often difficult for an individual to resist the substance use. Gradually, this can lead to substance tolerance and consumption of an increased amount of substance to yield the same desired effect.

If you or someone you know suffer from alcohol addiction, contact the Colorado Alcohol Addiction Helpline to know about the best alcohol addiction treatment in Colorado. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-592-9261 or chat online for further information on alcohol addiction treatment centers in Colorado.


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