A photo of three Red Bull cans and one bottle of Vodka.

The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Caffeine

Mixing alcohol and caffeine has become so popular that beverage makers have started premixing the two substances – making consumption easier and seemingly encouraged. While most people wouldn’t think twice about consuming a vodka and Red Bull or a rum and Coke, the dangers of mixing these two substances can actually have a very damaging effect on your physical body.

Mixing caffeine with alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning, severe dehydration and other dangerous consequences. Discover how mixing alcohol and caffeine can affect your body and mind.

Mixing Alcohol and Caffeine: It’s a Slippery Slope

To understand why individuals mix these two substances, it’s important to know how they function once they’ve been consumed.

  • Caffeine is a known stimulant that can make a person feel energetic and alert.
  • Alcohol, on the other hand, is a known depressant that can make a person feel sleepy or less alert than usual.

Mixing these two substances puts individuals at risk of a number of unwanted side effects – one of which is binge drinking. When combined, caffeine masks the depressant nature of alcohol, making you feel more alert and sober. This may, in turn, lead you to believe consuming more alcohol is a good idea.

This is where the slippery slope kicks in because, before you know it, you’ve drank entirely too much alcohol and have put yourself at risk of alcohol poisoning and a variety of other physical complications related to excessive alcohol consumption.

According to the CDC, some other concerns associated with mixing alcohol and caffeine include:

  • Drinkers who mix alcohol with caffeine are more likely to report unwanted or unprotected sex
  • Drinkers who mix alcohol with caffeine are more likely to drive drunk or ride with a driver who is intoxicated
  • Drinkers who mix alcohol with caffeine are more likely to sustain alcohol-related injuries (1)

What Happens When You Mix Alcohol and Caffeine

There are real dangers associated with mixing alcohol and caffeine. While the general perspective may be that drinking both of them is no big deal, the impact that too much caffeine and too much alcohol can have on your entire body requires serious consideration.

Some of the more concerning issues can include:

  • Alcohol Poisoning
    Alcohol poisoning is a serious condition that occurs when you consume a large amount of alcohol over a short period of time. Alcohol poisoning is known to range in severity, and signs may include unresponsiveness, disorientation, coma and – in some instances – death.

Caffeine has been known to negate the feelings associated with alcohol intoxication. This can make a person believe they can consume more alcohol for longer periods of time. Doing so can result in dangerous levels of alcohol in the blood, which can ultimately cause alcohol poisoning.

  • Blackouts
    After drinking heavily or consuming a large amount of alcohol quickly, a person can feel as if they’ve lost chunks of time and even wake up and not be able to remember events from the previous night.

An alcohol-induced blackout can wipe out your memory, either in full or in part. When someone experiences a blackout, they typically cannot remember events that happened while they were drinking – a condition which is similar to amnesia. This experience is why blackouts are commonly referred to as alcohol-induced amnesia.

  • Dangerous Levels of Dehydration
    Alcohol and caffeine consumption can make your body severely dehydrated. Dehydration can cause an AFib event, which is a common heart rhythm disorder that causes your heart to beat in a chaotic fashion.

A dramatic shift in your body’s fluid levels — from consuming too little water and too much alcohol — can affect your body’s normal functions. The impact that combining alcohol and caffeine has on your body can easily result in a case of severe dehydration due to an excessive amount of alcohol consumption.

In these cases, it is imperative to remember that dehydration is a genuine medical emergency that could potentially require immediate medical attention.

How to Break the Cycle of Alcohol and Caffeine Use

Realizing you have an alcohol use disorder can be a rude awakening. Perhaps you even came to this realization after a long night of drinking that highlighted the fact that you need to find clinical support to address your disease. Coming to this conclusion is the most important first step in your recovery

It’s important to remember that it’s never too late to start the journey. No matter how far you have fallen, picking yourself up and starting the process of regaining your health and happiness is usually just a phone call away.

So, the only thing you really need to ask yourself is, what is stopping you from taking back your life?

Discover Life-Changing Polydrug Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Without question, trying to overcome an addiction is an extremely difficult task to face, but there is proven, life-changing help for you. You can achieve mental stability, overcome your addiction and learn vital, effective skills to avoid a relapse.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we take a holistic, non-12-step approach to addiction and dual diagnosis disorder treatment. The addiction that may have entered your life has deeply affected your mind, body and spirit. Because of this, these vital pieces of your being must be given the support and nurturing they need to fully recover.

We can work with every aspect of you to ensure complete care and healing. Learn more about Ranch Creek Recovery, including what we offer and what we treat.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

 

Resources:

1) Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Caffeine. Accessed February 24, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/caffeine-and-alcohol.htm.