The National Institute of Recreational Drinks (NIRD) has released a new study documenting the dramatic increase in cases of energy drink abuse. "A large majority of Americans are at risk. We are in the midst of an energy epidemic" claims the study.
The study required that 200 patients at the NIRD’s Wisconsin campus involved abstain from all energy drinks for 24 hours. The patients were then asked to write about their experiences in a clinical survey. Their feelings were comparable to those of drug and alcohol addicts seeking sobriety - describing their feelings when they have to abstain from using energy drinks in literally the same terms associated with drug and alcohol addictions: In withdrawal, frantically craving, very anxious, extremely antsy, miserable, jittery, crazy.
Not only did the patients feel an extreme lack of energy, they felt cut-off from the pleasures of life. The patients reported that they do not regularly drink juices, water, or other functional drinks. Instead they rely on energy drinks to stay productive, keep hydrated, and live life.
Data published today by the NIRD show that the disease of energy addiction now affects a staggering 210 million people worldwide, with 86% of all those affected in the 18-34 age group. Previous figures underestimated the scope of the problem, while even the most pessimistic predictions fell short of the current figure. The new data predict that the total number of people living with energy addiction will skyrocket to 380 million within twenty years if nothing is done.
The United States leads the global top ten in terms of the highest number of people with energy addiction with a current figure of 40.9 million, followed by China with 39.8 million. Behind them come Russia, Germany, Japan, Pakistan, Brazil, Mexico and Egypt.
Think Before You Drink leads a coalition of energy addiction representative organizations and other stakeholders demanding a United Nations Resolution on energy addiction to ensure that adequate attention is given to the new disease. Think Before You Drink is a New York-based watchdog group with an aggressively growing member associations growing wings in many countries. Their mission is to promote energy addiction care, prevention and a cure worldwide. Think Before You Drink leads the campaign for a UN Resolution on energy addiction.
Lenora Nunez, president of Think Before You Drink, spoke at a conference last Wednesday exclaiming, “massive use of energy drinks is an epidemic that rivals the 1980 cocaine crisis. Young adults are using at such extreme levels that before they’re even aware of it, the energy-user has developed a profound psychological and physical dependence.” She goes on to say that “what many users don’t realize until it’s too late is that when the effects of the stimulant drinks wear off, their energy level plummets and they immediately start looking for another stimulant drink, sending them spiraling downward into a cycle of dependence.”
In a trend Nunez calls “alarming,” recent studies have shown that the average age at which a child drinks his or her first energy drink is plummeting, while recreational use among young people is sharply on the rise. Nunez has been personally touched by this epidemic. She recalled with great emotion a vivid scene in which Nunez found her 15 year old niece, Marie, lying dazed and stammering on the floor next to twelve empty cans of energy drink. “She was just a child,” Nunez said before pausing to wipe her tears, “curious and full of life. Now doctors say she will have to take Monstrex, a prescription drug , to help wean her off the energy cravings.” Epidemiologists have been researching more effective ways help people cope with their energy addictions.
According to ULCA Medical Center addiction specialist Dr. Audra Hurst, “Energy drinks came into vogue in the late ’90s as a performance-enhancing beverage, consumed by young people seeking to prolong their enjoyment of such activities as skateboarding and mountain biking,” Hurst said. “But that was a far more innocent time. Today, we know a lot more about the costs of recreational energy drink use and what it can lead to.”
Hurst has been conducting research on the effects of energy drinks in lab rats. The rats who were injected with energy drinks showed a 34% increase in cognitive and motor skills over the rats who were injected with placebo. However, over a prolonged period of time, the percentage increase was less substantial. After the experiment was over, the lab rats who experienced energy drinks began to show withdrawal symptoms. They became very aggressive and combative towards each other. “It was like they were junkies. The rats would fight until they killed each other. When we separated the remaining rats they began to curl up in a ball and started to shiver.”
Nunez’s website, http://www.thinkdrink.org, has shifted its focus towards the education of parents whose children stand at risk to become energy-heads. Nunez wants “parents to become more involved in their children’s lives.” She also says, “Make sure to check what your kids are saying to each other. If they are using terms like B-party or Icarused than you can be sure they have been using stimulant drinks.” B-parties are parties where a group of people binge drink on energy drinks in order to get high off of the mass amounts of sugar, caffeine, and vitamin Bs found in the drinks. Getting Icarused, a nod to the popular Greek mythological figure who flew too close to the sun before falling to his death, is the slang term for getting high off of energy drinks.