Energy Drink Addiction: Can They Make Us “Stick” To Them?

Energy drinks have become, in a relatively short time, a real social phenomenon.

Today, some brands of these products have powerful marketing campaigns and iconography that is part of popular culture, and are particularly appealing to the young population.

But unfortunately, there are a number of risks and adverse health effects that you should be aware of when using these products. I This set of risks includes those associated with the use of energy drinks and the associated habits.. And it is that some people can come to generate an addictive relationship with them, which while it may not be as powerful as that caused by hard drugs, can be a problem.

    Is it possible to develop an addiction to energy drinks?

    We all know, even by ear, the existence of addictions to illegal “hard drugs”, such as cocaine or heroin, as well as alcohol. However, the problems associated with addiction are not limited to the use of this substance: first, because there are also non-substance addictions, as is the case with gambling addiction; and second, because it is also possible to “stick” to other substances.

    Energy drinks are an example of products whose consumption is very standardized and which can however lead to a problem of dependence because, among other things, they contain certain substances that interact directly with our brain.

    For example, taurine, widely used in popular energy drinks and can be present at 1000 or 2000 milligrams per serving, crosses the blood-brain barrier (The “filter” that separates the brain from substances circulating in the blood vessels) and interacts with neurons, influencing psychological and physiological processes in various ways. Although it is a substance found in a large number of healthy foods, its high concentration in some drinks is associated with significant health problems.

    Something similar happens with caffeine. It is to some extent a “natural” psychostimulant which, however, is incorporated in large quantities in many energy drinks, and also has effects on the human mind. Although in practice it is not possible to die of poisoning from this substance simply by obtaining it from drinks, it can lead us to internalize dysfunctional patterns of behavior in our relationship with these products and their use.

    It should be noted that these molecules do not have the capacity to generate “chemical addictions” which contain substances such as codeine or nicotine. This means that when consuming energy drinks, their elements that come to interact with the brain do not start neurons to work in a way that causes us to need more and more of these substances in order not to feel very wrong.

    This is why technically, the tendency to constantly want to consume energy drinks is not, technically, an addiction, but an addiction problem in which the neurological plays a role, but is less relevant than the psychological. In other words, by “sticking” to these drinks, we internalize a series of patterns of behavior and habits that lead us to not want to get rid of them (and the consumption of drinks associated with them) and in which this has to. seeing with how to drink makes us drink these carbonated drinks, but our brain does not undergo a drastic transformation in the head of relatively few drinks, as chemical addictions do.

    How is dependence on this type of drink formed?

    Here are some of the ways being “addicted” to energy drinks can manifest.

    1. An addiction in the form of a ritual

    Some people develop a kind of superstition with energy drinks: they feel bad if they can’t count on them, As they are supposed to give them a “plus” in the face of daily challenges (at least that’s what they believe).

    2. A way to deal with anxiety and general discomfort

    Some people resort to these drinks when they feel stressed or anxious because they associate their taste with the breaks they take to rest, and at the same time give them an excuse to stop exposing themselves or focus on what makes them feel bad.: It is a method to escape reality.

      3. The pressure of the context

      We must not forget that many times the problems of addiction and dependence they have a large part of their causes in the social context to which the person is exposed. If we’re used to socializing with people who spend a lot of time drinking, just not having a can or glass in hand in situations like this can be awkward.

      Are you looking for addiction therapy?

      If you are looking for a team of professionals who offer treatments to overcome addictions with all the guarantees, contact us. Fr CITA clinics we specialize in medical and psychotherapeutic care services for people with drug addiction problems, with or without substances. In addition, we offer the possibility of entering our fully equipped residential module, located in a natural environment in the Barcelona area.

      Bibliographical references:

      • American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
      • Banerjee, SP et al. (2013). Neuropsychopharmacological actions of taurine. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 775: pages 3-18.
      • Curran, CP and Marczinski, CA (2018). Taurine, Caffeine, and Energy Drinks: A Review of the Risks to the Adolescent Brain. Congenital Anomalies Research, 109 (20): pages 1640-1648.
      • Griffiths, RR, Evans, SM, Heishman, SJ, Preston, KL, Sannerud, CA, Wolf, B. & Woodson, PP (1990). Discrimination at low doses of caffeine in humans. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 252 (3), 970 – 978.
      • Kalivas, PW; Volkow, ND (2005). The neural basis of addiction: a pathology of motivation and choice. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 162 (8): pages 1403-1413.
      • Rao, A., Hu, H. and Nobre, AC (2005). The Effects of Caffeine-Glucose-Combined Drinks on Attention to the Human Brain. Nutritional Neurosciences, 8 (3), 141-153.
      • Salazar, M .; Peralta, C .; Pasteur, J. (2006). Manual of psychopharmacology. Madrid, Pan-American Medical Publishing House.

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