Energy drinks may be sending more people to the ER

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Some doctors are urging against the use of energy drinks to stay awake.

A new nationwide report says emergency room visits involving energy drinks have skyrocketed in the past few years. It says ER visits have increased 10 fold as the popularity of energy drinks have increased. Researchers say half of the patients who visit the hospital combined the energy drinks with alcohol or drugs.

Local doctor Eric Gibson says the problem with energy drinks is when people have too much, or mix it with alcohol and drugs.

Dr. Gibson says they have an extreme amount of caffeine, and says when people have too much they might feel faint, feel like they're having a panic attack, or even have chest pain.

It's because of these symptoms some people don't use the drinks.

"I don't like the feeling that they give you cause you get all spazzed up, and I just don't like that, cause I feel like you get all spazzed up, then there's a crash later on," said Candyce Burge.

Dr. Gibson says it's important for parents to keep an eye on their children, since packaging and pricing for these drinks, can be geared to young adults.

"It's cheap, it's easy to get, the energy drinks, they're everywhere, they're pretty, and you know if you're a student, we all drink caffeine when you're a student, so it's accessible and cheap, so yeah it's a danger," said Gibson.

"People don't really sleep a lot, I mean my friends don't like they're busy all the time so, so they just do it, oh let me get a quick energy boost," said Burge.

"I mean I used to drink them like almost every day," said Kristen Stause. "Because I had band first thing in the morning, and I'd get kind of sluggish towards the end of the day, but who doesn't, it's high school."

"Be aware you might not think you're as intoxicated when you drink alcohol mixed with caffeine, be aware, that you might drink too much, so combining the two would be more dangerous," said Gibson.

The key? Moderation. Dr. Gibson says your body can handle small amounts, but not multiple cans a day.

"I mean it's all about responsibility whenever it comes to any drink really, soda, energy drinks, even alcohol," said Stause.

Linda Brown, the Emergency Services Director at Southeast Missouri Hospital, says they have not seen this increase of emergency room visits related to energy drinks.

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