Teen energy drink consumption linked to depression, substance abuse: study

Consumption of high-caffeine energy drinks among high school students may be linked with mental health issues and substance use, says a new report, which calls for limits on teens’ access to the beverages and reduction in the amount of caffeine they contain.

TORONTO — Consumption of high-caffeine energy drinks among high school students may be linked with mental health issues and substance use, says a new report, which calls for limits on teens’ access to the beverages and reduction in the amount of caffeine they contain.

In a study of more than 8,200 high school students in Atlantic Canada, researchers at the University of Waterloo and Dalhousie University in Halifax found that about two-thirds of respondents reported consuming an energy drink in the previous year.

About one in five students said they drank the beverages once or more each month, said the study published in the journal Preventive Medicine.

“We also found something very interesting,” said principal investigator Sunday Azagba, a researcher at the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo in southwestern Ontario.

“The more intense users tend to be more likely to be depressed, they’re more likely to have substance use,” he said, referring to alcohol and marijuana.

“While it remains unclear why these associations exist, the trend is a concern because of the high rate of consumption among teenagers,” said Azagba. “These drinks appeal to young people because of their temporary benefits like increased alertness, improved mood and enhanced mental and physical energy.”

The study found that younger high school students were more likely to consume energy drinks than their older peers.

“Marketing campaigns appear designed to entice youth and young adults,” said Azagba, noting that brand names like Monster Energy, Red Bull and Rockstar Energy can be appealing to young people.

“It’s a dangerous combination, especially for those at an increased risk for substance abuse.”

Energy drinks have been associated with a number of adverse health effects, including cardiovascular symptoms, sleep disorders, nervousness and nausea. The side-effects are caused by the beverages’ high concentration of caffeine.

“Given the negative effects of excessive caffeine consumption as well as the coincident occurrence of the use of energy drinks and other negative behaviours in teens, the trends we are seeing are more than cause for concern,” said Azagba.

In recent years energy drink consumption has skyrocketed. In the U.S. alone, sales are expected to reach $20 billion in 2013.

“In our opinion, at the very least, steps should be taken to limit teens’ access to energy drinks, to increase public awareness and education about the potential harms of these drinks and to minimize the amount of caffeine available in each unit,” said Azagba.

“This won’t eliminate the problem entirely, but steps like these can help mitigate harm to our youth that appears to be associated with consumption of these drinks.”

The study was based on data from the 2012 Student Drug Use Survey, consisting of a representative sample of high school students from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Just Posted

Bighorn Country telephone town hall for Red Deer area set for Wednesday

Residents can phone in from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to hear about the project or ask questions

Olds-area school buses cancelled this morning

Red Deer Catholic buses will resume this afternoon

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

REGINA — Canada’s minister for public safety says right-wing, white supremacists and… Continue reading

Trudeau fields range of questions on immigration and foreign policy at townhall

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday slammed what… Continue reading

BILD says not the time for higher permit fees in Red Deer

Construction industry is hard hit by slow economy

Lucic, Kassian each score twice to power Oilers in 7-2 win over Sabres

EDMONTON — Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian each scored a pair of… Continue reading

Big Valley family gives back to community

Donates $24,560 to Stettler Health Foundation and Edmonton Stollery Children’s Hospital

Giordano notches three points to lead Flames in 7-1 blowout of Coyotes

CALGARY — Flames captain Mark Giordano celebrated his 800th NHL game in… Continue reading

All-female team out to prove women racers aren’t a gimmick

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Every racing series in the world is full… Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ final season to debut on April 14

NEW YORK — “Game of Thrones” fans, get ready. HBO announced Sunday… Continue reading

Kylie Jenner loses record for most-liked Instagram post

NEW YORK — Kylie Jenner’s birth announcement is no longer the most-liked… Continue reading

Study shows black bears need a variety of salmon species to be healthy

VANCOUVER — Black bears need access to different species of salmon rather… Continue reading

Trade war’s wounded: Companies improvise to dodge cost hikes

WASHINGTON — In Rochester, New York, a maker of furnaces for semiconductor… Continue reading

Most Read