News | Published March 26, 2014

Additional health issues identified with use of energy drinks in teens

Due to a high caffeine content, energy drinks have been associated with many health risks, including cardiovascular symptoms, sleep impairment, nervousness and nausea. In fact, over the last few years, Red Bull, Monster and 5-Hour-Energy have all been served with wrongful death suits, prompting the FDA to investigate the links between energy drinks and fatal health risks.

New reports are also showing a link between use of energy drinks and poor mental health, depression and substance abuse in teens. Researchers have found that high school students prone to depression, as well as those who smoke marijuana or drink alcohol, are more likely to consume energy drinks than their peers.

This trend is a concern because of the high rate of consumption by teens. Marketing campaigns designed to appeal to youth promise increased alertness, improved mood and enhanced mental and physical energy. Nearly two thirds of high schools students reported using energy drinks at least once in the past year, with more than 20 percent consuming energy drinks more than once or more each month.

While it remains unclear why there is now an association between energy drink usage and poor mental health, sensation seeking was higher among those who reported consuming energy drinks compared to those who don’t. Steps should be taken to limit teens’ access to energy drinks, including talking to your teen about the potentially harmful physical and mental effects of energy drinks.