Fake energy: A high short lived

  • Published
  • By Maj. Anne Staley
  • 52nd Medical Operations Squadron
Energy or fatigue? Why are we so addicted to caffeine for a jolt? What are the potential consequences from ingesting too much of your favorite energy drinks?

These are only some of the questions that should be in the forefront of your brain every time you consume these types of products.

Energy drinks have become popular despite growing healthcare trends. Some teenagers are mixing energy and sports drinks together to give themselves an extra caffeine-driven kick during social and sports events. They are consuming these drinks in conjunction with caffeinated gum and candy. Some college students are using energy drinks as a social mixer with alcohol.

In addition, a variety of energy products have become a mainstay in everyday life as a go-to for an occasional pick-me-up or as a substitute for getting a good night's sleep or a healthy diet.

Caffeine is a dangerous drug addiction that has become socially acceptable. So, why are we so tired to the point where we cannot function without the ever-present caffeine?


One answer is lack of quality sleep. Work, school, play and late-night entertainment can be exhausting. This leads to decreased energy levels.

Second, using caffeinated energy drinks as a substitute for healthy lifestyle choices can have serious rebound effects. Thus, you become too tired to work out. Consequently, you are tired because you did not work out. It is a vicious Catch-22 cycle. You have to get enough sleep, eat well and exercise in order to have energy. Poor lifestyle choices have people reaching for caffeine.

Now, that leads us to the next question. When caffeine is used excessively, what consequences are we looking at?

Instead of energy, it can lead to chronic fatigue problems. Fatigue can lead to poor fitness levels, which can make you prone to injuries and accidents. Poor fitness in addition to an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to obesity.

What else?

Fatigue can lead to mishaps such as falling asleep at the wheel or accidents while working with heavy equipment. Fatigue also has a domino effect in making poor decisions. The outcome of which can be disastrous.

Furthermore, excessive caffeine can cause long-term effects on health. Caffeine toxicity causes agitation, rapid or irregular heartbeats, palpitations, chest pain, high blood pressure, dehydration, stomach and intestinal problems, syncope, and insomnia, among others. All of which can lead to chronic health problems. This does not even take into consideration the effects from other harmful ingredients in energy drinks.

So, what can we do to fix the problem between getting enough energy and battling fatigue?

Start by getting enough sleep. Turn off the phone, the television, the games and the computer. Next, make health dietary choices. Finally, get moving. Get more activity.

If you are having difficulty setting limits, cutting back or just looking for information, feel free to contact the health and wellness center or your primary care provider.