The consumption of alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmED) has been associated with higher rates of binge drinking and impaired driving when compared with alcohol alone. However, it remains unclear why the risks of use of AmED are heightened compared with alcohol alone even when the doses of alcohol consumed are similar. Therefore, the purpose of this laboratory study was to investigate if the rate of self-paced beverage consumption was faster for a dose of AmED versus alcohol alone using a double-blind, within-subjects, placebo-controlled study design. Participants (n = 16) of equal gender who were social drinkers attended 4 separate test sessions that involved consumption of alcohol (1.97 ml/kg vodka) and energy drinks, alone and in combination. On each test day, the dose assigned was divided into 10 cups. Participants were informed that they would have a 2-h period to consume the 10 drinks. After the self-paced drinking period, participants completed a cued go/no-go reaction time (RT) task and subjective ratings of stimulation and sedation. The results indicated that participants consumed the AmED dose significantly faster (by approximately 16 minutes) than the alcohol dose. For the performance task, participants' mean RTs were slower in the alcohol conditions and faster in the energy-drink conditions. In conclusion, alcohol consumers should be made aware that rapid drinking might occur for AmED beverages, thus heightening alcohol-related safety risks. The fast rate of drinking may be related to the generalized speeding of responses after energy-drink consumption.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
The project described was supported by NIH grants AA019795 and GM103436 awarded to CA Marczinski.
Marczinski, Cecile A.; Fillmore, Mark T.; Maloney, Sarah F.; and Stamates, Amy L., "Faster Self-Paced Rate of Drinking for Alcohol Mixed with Energy Drinks Versus Alcohol Alone" (2017). Psychology Faculty Publications. 161.