Does Drinking Energy Drinks Lead Teens to Drink?

Study Shows Connection between Alcohol Abuse and Energy Drink Consumption among Teens 

Parents now have even more reasons to be concerned about their teenagers consuming energy drinks. A new study shows that teens who consume energy drinks are two-and-a-half times as likely to abuse alcohol and other illegal substances, and are also more likely o start smoking.

Researchers at the University of Michigan performed the study, which was known as “Monitoring the Future”. In doing so, they discovered that the connection may not be in the drinks themselves, but rather the personality traits of the teens that use them. They found that teens who were “sensation seekers” were more drawn to energy drinks, and it is teens with this personality trait who are also more likely to consume alcohol or drugs and begin smoking cigarettes.

Boys are more likely than girls are to consume energy drinks. Data from the study shows that children of single-parent households are also more likely to use energy drinks on a regular basis than teens with both a mother and father figure at home are. Children whose parents have little education also tend to down energy beverages more often. In all, approximately 30 percent of all teenagers report drinking energy beverages at least occasionally.

Energy drinks are sometimes consumed along with alcohol in an effort to “mask” the effects of intoxicating liquor. At least one teen has died after consuming excess energy drinks mixed with alcohol. Parents who notice their children using energy drinks often should monitor them closely for signs they may be abusing other illegal substances as well.