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Energy Drinks VS. Your Addiction

Energy+Drinks+VS.+Your+Addiction

How much caffeine should someone consume in a day? According to studies done by the Mayo Clinic and the Food and Drug Administration, the limit is around 400 mg for healthy adults. Well, that may be the case for an adult, but for the average teenager, it’s a measly 100 mg. So why is the main target demographic for the average energy drinks teenagers, pre-teens, and young adults?

The large workloads that schools often give these kids, specifically high schoolers and college students, can cause stress, lack of sleep, and a predisposition for any type of addiction. And where there are vulnerabilities, there are companies that are jumping to profit on it. From what I’ve seen, and experienced, people under so much pressure gain this void within themselves, it’s never ending that eats them up from the inside out. Eventually voids like that become too much to bear, people go chasing to fill it, a chase that usually ends in addiction, and many take the safer and more socially acceptable option, energy drinks.

As of late, the National institute of  help has found that people as young as seven years old are the new target for this energy drink craze. As a camp counselor for six to twelve year olds, I’ve seen the consequences first hand . There are numerous kids that come in with a 16 ounce bottle of Prime paired with their lunch or snack. I’ve seen it cause extreme energy and often more misbehavior compared to their non-caffeinated self. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children under the age of twelve should not consume any caffeine. 

Now the question is, how do so many kids and teenagers fall victim to so many energy drinks and their addictive properties? Marketing, that’s how. These companies specifically choose bright colors, eye catching fonts, and buzz words to catch the eyes of young consumers. With the physical look of the drinks comes the atmosphere of the product. Yerba Mates give off a more organic option then a Red Bull. Not only do these two drinks have different aesthetics, but they have vastly different ingredients. The most difference is Yerba Mates do not contain Taurine, but many other popular drinks such as Red Bull, Monster, and Rockstar contain high doses. When products have an eye-catching aesthetic they are very likely to sell because we as humans like being in categories. Where there are niches, there is product and abuse of human interest. In 2023 Red Bull sales have reached $7.3 Billion, Monster Energy has ranked up $6.311 Billion in 2022. This is an astronomical profit off of young people, and their addictions.

Where the energy drink addiction debate falls flat is when people behave as if being addicted to caffeine or energy drinks is just as bad, or even worse then, drug and alcohol addiction. It not only seriously exaggerates what a caffeine addiction truly is, but also diminishes the true struggle of drug or alcohol addictions, which are some of the most serious addictions that plagues so many. If you were addicted to caffeine, and then went without said caffeine for a few days, you would experience many withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, drowsiness, depressive mode, mood swings, etc. But it is nowhere near the same withdrawal symptoms and real danger that drug addicts and alcoholics experience. Seizures, paranoia, aggression, vomiting, and tremors, is listing very few withdrawal symptoms with drugs and alcohol.  On the flip side, if you drive while drinking coffee or anything with caffeine, you don’t risk causing an accident, endangering yourself or others, that isn’t the case for driving under the influence. 

In no way am I trying to undermine caffeine addiction struggles, it’s one of the most common and accepted addictions that causes so many heart, brain, blood, and behavioral issues. It’s the newest way to dig so deep into people’s vulnerabilities that the companies who make it can make astronomical profits. No matter what store you go to, energy drinks line the walls, flashing brightly colored logos and names, advertising hydration, energy, and many other fun synonyms to cover up the intentions they want to keep hidden. 

 

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About the Contributor
Besbris, Podcast Team/Staff
Besbris is one of our new members to the Voices Club and they are a Junior. They grew up in different parts of Oregon but have now settled in St. Johns.
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