3 Truths about Energy Drink Cocktails


Arizonans are always on the go. Whether it's hiking in December or enjoying a patio lunch before the heat hits, all of us are looking for an extra punch of energy. Maybe that's where the energy drink cocktail craze came from? It's hard to say but one thing's for sure: it's a craze that your primary care doctor doesn't want to hear you're partaking in.

In fact, the high-doses of caffeine, sugar, stimulants and other additives found in energy drinks are reasons to be wary. The very notion of adding alcohol to them seems like a recipe for disaster, says Tiffany Pankow, MD, a primary care physician with HonorHealth Medical Group Arcadia.

According to Dr. Pankow, the high doses of caffeine in energy drinks often lead to increased anxiety, heart palpitations and sleep disturbances. Adding alcohol to the mix is dangerous, she says. Beyond that, the idea of a wide-awake drunk is downright scary.

Dr. Pankow's research revealed that people who consume energy drink cocktails also are twice as likely to report being taken advantage of or taking advantage of someone sexually. Though there may be some debate about the exact cause of these occurrences, she says the tie to energy drink cocktails isn't too far-fetched.

And the possible dangers don't end there:

  1. If you drink energy drink cocktails you may not feel the full effects of the alcohol because you're simultaneously consuming caffeine. As a result, you may mistakenly assume that the caffeine metabolizes the alcohol faster. In reality, you're simply adding another drug – caffeine – to your system. By virtue of the caffeine keeping you awake and ready to go, overindulgence is common.
  2. As when going off coffee or soda, coming down from the high of an energy drink cocktail can result in withdrawal headaches.
  3. In addition, Dr. Pankow says the drinks pack quite the calorie punch.

So, not only do energy drink cocktails negatively affect your judgment and decision-making while increasing anxiety and heart rate, they also can lead to headaches and weight gain. Be wary of drinking them (with or without alcohol mixed in).

There's a reason they say "ask your doctor." Contact your HonorHealth doctor to answer your questions or call 623-580-5800 to find a doctor who can.

Dr. Pankow believes that so much of what is done in medicine is done in silos. She says, "You may get treatment from an emergency department or a specialist and when you go back to your primary care doctor, she doesn't know what happened." That's why being part of a larger network is so important to her. "Everyone treating you is communicating with each other much more effectively. And that's a huge benefit to you. We just have a better overview of your care."