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What are Energy Drinks Doing to my Kid?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) released a warning letter against energy drink consumption in children and teens through a published statement in the journal Current Sports Medicine Reports . Children and teenagers are still relatively small in body size and their metabolism is especially high, which makes consuming energy drinks especially dangerous for them. Energy drinks can have high concentrations of caffeine and sugar in different forms which make the drinks highly addicting and potentially dangerous. If a child or teen quickly consumes an energy drink, like by gulping it, and consumes multiple energy drinks a day, it could result in harm to their physical as well as mental health.   Parents of adolescents and teens who are in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction should take special warning about energy drinks. Recovery communities are known for their coffee consumption as a replacement for drugs and alcohol. Adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 years old should not consume more than 100mg of caffeine a day, suggests the American Academy of Pediatrics. One hundred milligrams of caffeine is about equal to an average cup of coffee. Energy drinks often exceed those caffeine levels. Teens and adolescents in recovery might turn to energy drinks to experience an altered state of mind, physical sensations, or escape from challenging emotions coming up in their recovery process. Most treatment centers prohibit consumption of energy drinks during the course of care. According to the statement, reports Consumer Affairs , research has found that energy drink consumption in children can create problems in various systems of the body including:
  • Cardiovascular:
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Neurological
  • Renal
  • Endocrine
Additionally, energy drink consumption can encourage psychiatric symptoms like anxiety, edginess, anger, rage, hyperactivity, or even violence. In severe cases, energy drinks can contribute to nervous breakdowns and heart complications.  

What is in energy drinks?

Today, energy drinks are offered in a range of varieties, using vitamin and mineral properties to promote the drink as a health supplement that is natural. Caffeine can come in ingredients like Guarana, which is common in many energy drinks. explains that energy drinks can include ingredients such as
  • Guarana
  • Taurine
  • Ginseng
  • L-carnitine l-tartrate
  • Yerba mate
  • Gingko
  • St. Jon's Wort
Many of these ingredients have been associated with improving mental speed, function, and memory, which makes energy drinks marketable to adolescents and teens struggling with school.  

Read the labels

Parents, teens, and adolescents alike might confuse energy drinks for traditional sports drinks due to packaging and claims on the fronts of labels. All parents and their children have to do is turn the bottle around to investigate the ingredients. Some sports drinks brands have capitalized on the energy drink trend by producing energy products, including drinks. Traditional sports drinks will not contain high levels of caffeine or memory-associated ingredients. Sports drinks are not designed to create and stimulate energy but to replenish lost minerals, vitamins, and electrolytes which become depleted. A sports drink will contain carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, trace minerals, and varying electrolytes in addition to sodium and forms of sugar.  

Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is a journey to lifelong wellness. At Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, our treatment programs for adolescent and teenage boys are designed to approach mind, body, and spirit for total recovery. Our long term residential treatment programs are complete with academic support. For information on how we're saving lives and bringing families together, call us today: 662-598-4214