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Combining Alcohol with Caffeine Increases the Risks of Alcohol Abuse

Combining alcoholic drinks with caffeine causes people to drink more for a variety of reasons, say psychological researchers from several American universities.

Combining Alcohol with Caffeine Increases the Risks of Alcohol Abuse

Combining alcoholic drinks with caffeine causes people to drink more over the course of an evening, say psychological researchers from several American universities, and drinking greater quantities of alcohol leads to more of the bad consequences associated with drinking in the first place.


Alcohol is a depressant and drinking it makes people sleepy. That tired feeling plays an main role in people's decision to stop drinking for the evening, reports psychology professor Cecile Marczinski at Northern Kentucky University. But caffeine overcomes that tiredness, encouraging partiers to continue drinking. 

By making you feel energetic and alert for up to six hours longer, caffeine also increases the duration of time in which you crave an alcoholic drink. Experiments performed at the Australian National University found that people who mix Red Bull with their drinks tend to have more drinks over the span of a night.

In 2010, many states banned a popular canned beverage, Four Loko, which offered the equivalent of four beers and a cup of coffee. But regulation does not, and likely could not, exist to cover bartenders mixing drinks behind the bar. There, people are free to combine as many energy drinks with their alcohol as the bar will permit. 

Of course people who consumer more alcohol are likely to be hungover for longer, sacrificing tomorrow for today's pleasure. As artist and Black Flag musician Henry Rollins said in his Big Think interview, long-term achievement might favor those who decline alcohol:

Read more at the Atlantic

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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