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6 Signs You’re Addicted to Energy Drinks: What to Watch For

person holding a can of energy drink

Energy drink addiction feels a bit like alcoholism. If you need a cold one to make it through your day, you might want to assess your habits to determine if you’re truly dependent on energy drinks. Energy drinks are riskier to your health than coffee because they contain a habit-forming trifecta of caffeine, synthetics, and sugar or artificial sweeteners. Each one of these components carry individual health risks, but they can sometimes be a deadly force when combined—especially over regular long-term use. Continue reading to learn more about energy drink addiction.

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The 6 Symptoms of Addiction to Energy Drinks:

If you suspect you may be dependent on energy drinks, you might be experiencing symptoms similar to a coffee addict when they’ve drunk a few too many cups. After all, energy drinks contain a monstrous amount of caffeine and that’s partially what your body is reacting to. You may have more negative consequences than a coffee addict however due to the high amounts of sugar in energy drinks. You might be an addict if you have:

man holding a bottle of energy drink
Image Credit: sirtravelalot, Shutterstock

1. Anxiety.

You might experience heart palpitations, excessive sweating, restlessness, or a basic feeling that all isn’t well in the world.


2. A heart that’s out of rhythm.

Caffeine in high doses can put your heart out of whack. But it’s not just the caffeine. It’s the synthetic chemicals mixed with the caffeine, and sugar or artificial flavor that make these drinks so powerful. People who’ve consumed them have actually died from heart complications that were directly linked to their habit.


3. Extreme agitation—especially if you can’t get your fix.

Caffeine dependency can cause general fussiness, but it gets worse if your body can’t have another shot of what it craves. You might lash out if you can’t get your drink.


4. Difficulty concentrating.

You might become unreasonably irritated when problem-solving because your brain is in overdrive so it can’t focus.

woman in red shirt holding her head while looking at her laptop
Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

5. Muscle tremors.

The caffeine might have overstimulated your central nervous system, resulting in involuntary shaking or trembling.


6. Insomnia.

You can’t sleep, or your sleep is interrupted by an hour or more most every night.

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What’s the Risk?

Unfortunately, consuming energy drinks on a regular basis is worse for you than chugging too much black coffee. The excessive caffeine and sugar combined with synthetic chemicals has been a toxic combination for some individuals. Even if you don’t die from energy drink consumption, you still are at an increased risk for health complications like type 2 diabetes and kidney disease because of the sugar.  Artificially sweetened drinks have been shown to carry these same risks.

person holding a can of energy drink
Image Credit: FotoDuets, Shutterstock

How to Quit or Scale Back on Energy Drinks

Like any caffeine addiction, you have to gradually lessen your intake to avoid withdrawals. If you’re drinking more than one energy drink per day, start by decreasing by one for the first day. Wait a couple of days at the same rate, and then take another one away. Once you’re down to one drink, cut it back to half of one each day. Finally, once you’ve whittled it down to almost nothing, you can go cold-turkey and find a healthier choice, or at least consume less frequently. Here are some energy drink alternatives to fit your new lifestyle:

Caffeinated Caffeine-Free
Black coffee Vitamin enriched water
Matcha green tea Water with lemon, lime, or mint for taste
Black tea Seltzer water
Green tea Herbal tea
Espresso shot Fruit juice

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Conclusion

Energy drinks are associated with more negative consequences than other caffeinated beverages. The added sugars and chemicals make them fairly unsafe, especially in high doses or stretched across a long period of time. If you want to quit or at least cut back, start by gradually decreasing the amount until you’re drinking less than half a can per day. At that point, you should be safe to completely quit without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The best way you can beat energy drink dependency is by finding a healthier option that you crave. You’ll be so focused on drinking your matcha that you won’t remember what you’re missing.


Featured Image Credit: thom masat, Unsplash

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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