Fact Checked

What are the Effects of Energy Drinks?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Energy drinks have become increasingly popular for getting short boosts of energy. However, they can be misused and sometimes even when used as recommended, they cause disagreeable side effects. The effects of energy drinks can be broken into several categories. These are short-term effects, long-term effects and side effects. Those using energy drinks should be aware of their potential benefits and risks.

For the average healthy adult the main effects of energy drinks are to briefly boost energy and alertness. This extra boost may last one or two hours or more depending upon the size of the drink, the amount of stimulants in the drink, and the tolerance of the person drinking it. Some drinks have extremely high caffeine levels or other stimulant amounts that may make people highly energetic or very jittery depending on caffeine tolerance. People may feel “sped up” instead of more alert or awake, and many notice a withdrawal or come down period a few hours after drinking an energy drink.

Energy drinks can cause headaches in some people.
Energy drinks can cause headaches in some people.

Certain drinks have such high stimulant amounts that normal effects may include illness. People who drink Spike® Shooters, for instance can report feeling nausea and vomiting, irregular heartbeat, and terrible headache. This may be addressed by not drinking these drinks on an empty stomach. Yet those who are really sensitive to stimulant levels may endure several hours of illness after consuming one of these drinks.

Energy drinks can contribute to insomnia.
Energy drinks can contribute to insomnia.

The side effects that regularly occur with Spike® Shooters may affect those drinking other energy drinks if they drink them to excess, and a few people who are very sensitive could have side effects when they have any type of energy drink. In addition to rapid heart rate, nausea or vomiting, and headache, some people may also experience an increase in blood pressure, a swift decline in mood as the drink wears off, and persistent jitters or shakiness. Other short-term side effects of energy drinks include insomnia, headache the day after consumption, and irritability.

Some energy drinks may cause nausea.
Some energy drinks may cause nausea.

Very serious short-term side effects of energy drinks can include caffeine intoxication, especially when people consume more drinks than recommended. In severe cases, intoxication of this kind can lead to unstable or irregular heartbeat, muscle twitching, flushing, psychosis, disorientation, and delusions. Use of energy drinks among those who are unused to drinking caffeine may result in caffeine intoxication symptoms sooner.

Severe side effects of energy drinks include disorientation and psychosis.
Severe side effects of energy drinks include disorientation and psychosis.

The normal healthy adult probably will suffer few side effects of energy drinks, but there are certain groups that should not use these drinks. Pregnant and nursing women shouldn’t consume energy drinks. High caffeine doses can affect brain development of fetuses and nursing babies. Children should also not consume these drinks. People with caffeine sensitivity, with mental health conditions and those with any types of heart defects or disease should avoid energy drinks too.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


I've noticed lately that when drinking an energy drink, my ears burn. I just drank one and it's happening again. Also, the skin on the back of my shoulders and upper chest have a burning sensation as well. Very strange. I'm done with energy drinks. It's very, very disturbing. I'm researching this now on the web. I was not aware that other people were experiencing this. The first time I experienced this I was driving and the burning was very noticeable.


I drink between 8-12 cans of monster a day to keep me awake since I work nights. To be honest, I've never had any heath problems and over a week I can drink the four 24 packs, plus the ones that I get while I'm working. I lose count after the first 10. I work from 9 p.m. until 11 a.m., so it's about a 14 hour shift. My doctor has told me they are bad, but what else can I do? Any tips to stay awake?


There is a new energy drink on the market but its availability in stores is very limited since it's a new drink and not a coke or pepsi product.

This drink is called Verve! and you can order a 24 pack online. The difference between Verve! and the other energy drinks is this drink is healthy.


I have been drinking energy drinks once a day and recently I have started feeling this chest pain, but right now it's really bad and has been all day. I have drank my last monster today and I think I don't want to anymore because it is scaring me.

It hurts so bad to breath and even smoke. I should probably give up the smoking too. I am only 21, and have never been a heavy alcohol drinker, but I've been smoking since I was 17. But monsters are so yummy. They taste so good. But if this is what happens for drinking them, then I won't get any more, ever.


I figured I'd weigh in on this since literally the only thing I drink every single day, is monster. I admit I live a very unhealthy lifestyle. I smoke cigarettes. So that's one bad thing I do. Secondly, I only eat once a day and it is at night. And lastly, I drink Monster all through the day. I drink four to six every day. I have lost some weight, which I figure is from my lack of eating. But I must admit, my stomach hurts every now and then and I believe it to be from the monster eating my stomach's walls.

I have lived with this lifestyle for about seven months now and I am only just now starting to feel anything I think may be from it. My point is, Monster isn't as evil as it seems. It will affect people differently. Some people can't handle energy drinks and some can.

If you have a heart problem, don't drink them. I'm tired of hearing about people dying from them and it turns out, they had a heart problem in the first place. The media only talks about how the person drank Monster. They give it such a bad name. And if it makes you feel really jittery, then you shouldn't drink them. I find this to be common sense. Leave Monster and all other energy drinks alone, and legalize industrial hemp and cannabis.


Honestly guys, these are seriously dangerous and way overlooked. Now, don't get me wrong. Everybody is different, so it's a case by case scenario with most people, but just because you can't feel the side effects, doesn't mean it's not damaging your body.

I am ashamed to admit I've done some stupid stuff in my life, had addictions to tobacco, alcohol and even heroin for some years. I've beaten it all but I went through a phase of drinking a ton of energy drinks per day. After a while, I started to get a lot of problems, muscle twitching, headaches, as well as a hole host of symptoms, one thing though, I ended up getting liver disease, despite the fact I don't drink alcohol anymore and I eat very healthy. I eat salad almost every day and no snacks or anything. I ended up reversing it after stopping energy drinks. For the last couple of weeks, I've started again, I don't know why, but no more. Enough is enough, really. I've only been drinking one a day and the side effects have come back, as well as an awful pain in my foot, which feels like a blood clot. Anyway, I am convinced these could also cause diabetes after so much, but that's just guessing.

Here's the thing. There is something out there that's a healthy alternative, and actually, much stronger for you. Now, this isn't some crap plug so why is mine any different?

Because it's coconut milk! I don't grow coconuts, nor live anywhere where they can grow, but I can get it in my local store. This has a ton of electrolytes in it, more than the average energy drink, it filters through your body better and full of vitamins, oh, and 100 percent natural! No idea if lactose intolerant people can drink it, but I would assume so since it's not dairy milk.

To be honest, it's not even more expensive than a can of redbull, especially if you get it from your own coconut (but hassle I guess) Go give it a try guys. Energy drinks are horribly bad for you, no matter what anybody tells you.

It's your life people, and I gain nothing from you buying coconuts, so make the choice yourself. I can guarantee these drinks are the cause of many illnesses and I'd go as far to say they probably knock years off your life.

Good luck guys and hope you all can find your energy.


I have been drinking energy drinks for years never had any disagreement with any rockstar/redbull/relentless/monster.

If you are scared about calories and sugar try Monsters absolutely zero.


If you want an energy drink that won't have any side effects, look up XS Energy. It is the no. 1 selling energy drink online, and no. 2 offline. Never heard of it? Well, it has no sugar and less caffeine than a coffee. There are also caffeine free flavors!

So how do you get energy, you may ask? From B-Vitamins. Most common energy drinks don't have more than 100 percent of each B-Vitamin, but XS has 4900 percent Vitamin B-12, the main energy producing vitamin. Think this may be too much B-12? Well when people with diabetes get their insulin shots, the shot contains about 20,000 percent vitamin B-12. Any extra that your body doesn't use is just flushed out of your body through your urine.

Since there is no sugar and a low dosage of caffeine, you won't get jitters, ridiculously dangerous side effects, and no crash. Don't believe me? Just look it up. There are more than 10 flavors, including the "classic" flavor if it appeals to you! --Jon


The five hour energy commercial does not say 73 percent of doctors would recommend the product. Listen to it again for the deception.


Why doesn't the FDA make the makers list possible side effects on the packaging and restrict the sale or use for anyone under 18 years of age?

The 5 hour energy drink says out of three thousand doctors they ask, 73 percent would recommend its use for healthy patients. How many of these doctors would use it themselves?


I too, am a 60 year old male, and drink on average one energy drink a day. I'm mot sure how many anon76710 drinks a day, but it sounds like a lot. If you drink them like some people drink coffee or cokes, I can see why they have problems. Besides energy drinks, I also drink a fair amount of water daily, since I work in a very hot climate.


I had about four energy drinks tonight and now I have trouble breathing. Are the two related? Should I call an ambulance before I pass out?


I just had my first energy drink. It has been a couple hours since I've had it. My mouth is dry, but I'm still salivating so it's not too bad. It could be worse. I have a rapid heart rate and my breathing is a little offset. Other than those three things, I feel all right. Oh, and my left side started hurting really bad for about 10 minutes or so, right about where my liver is. The energy drink i had was Monster. Oh, and one more thing: I felt jittery.


After I quit for good alcohol and nicotine five years ago (I was never addicted or anything but I wanted a deep change in my life, I was 20 back then).

I started drinking diet coke and now I drink two liters per day and sometimes up to 4X500ml energy drinks! I believe I'm not really addicted because I feel extremely high effects when I drink one single can after two days of not drinking anything. This thing is strong. I suggest that if you want to binge drink it, do it in a setting where you are in full control and only sporadically. Anyway I do not recommend drinking this.


In regards to the spike energy drink, I started drinking it 2 1/2 years ago. About the same time I started to drink two a day I experienced extreme fatigue, skin infections, stomach pain, etc. None of these symptoms had been present before the increase of the energy drinks.

I have always sought to have more energy as my son was born a year prior to the use of energy drinks. I also notice some other odd things: my balance was off, my legs began to feel weak, I was short of breath frequently, I also can't focus anything for an extended period of time. My eyes would burn, like a dryness? I started to see floaters and halos.

Somehow I convinced myself if i didn't drink them I would be incapable of functioning. So far in denial a close friend of mine approached me very concerned about my health. I decided to give them up, for 10 days. By the 10th day I was feeling a little better. My sleep was better, my focus, my skin, etc. all started to change back.

I do believe I have killed the gland that triggers the fight/flight response. We shall see in time I guess.


I'm planning to use energy drinks as a substitute for military stimulants. If anyone can recommend a drink which is ideal for this please post your answers. Thanks.


Ive been using energy drinks like Red Bull to keep me awake. But after an hour or two, i tend to crash.


I am 60 years old and started drinking energy drinks about five years ago. After 2.5 years I began gradually developing symptoms similar to Sjogren’s. In fact I had been tentatively diagnosed as such. However, blood tests have proven that to be wrong.

I currently suffer from the following symptoms:

Dry/Burning Skin; dry/burning mouth and throat; dry eyes; fatigue; confusion and memory problems; stomach pain and nausea.

Because of my age I feel like the canary in the coal mine but I fear for those still drinking energy drinks. So, I want to relate my story.

Initially I was fine. I can remember drinking an energy drink and having no problems. Then I would drink one and my skin would burn after -- not before and not from anything else. I can remember when I drank an energy drink and the burning did not go away but stayed and eventually got worse. I can remember when the dryness started in my mouth after drinking an energy drink but it would eventually go away.

I remember when the dryness stopped going away and the aching in my gums started right after drinking an energy drink. Then the ache would go away.

I can remember when the aching got so bad after drinking an energy drink that I finally had to stop and when I went to the dentist he had to give me a root canal. My gums had become infected because of the dryness.

I was there when the wobbling started and I could barely stand up because, and I’m assuming here, my inner ear was so dry but when I quit drinking energy drinks my balance returned. But, like my skin and mouth and throat, there was still dryness and I still had a problem with standing.

The ache in the gums, the dryness and burning in my mouth, throat and skin are all still with me and if I drank another energy drink, the dryness would probably result in another gum infection and I would need another root canal.

You see there was a direct impact on my salivary and mucus glands from drinking Monster. I know because I was there. I watched it happen. Those glands have been destroyed in my body and have also impacted my stomach wherein lies the pain.

My body does not produce enough mucus to offset the digestive acids in my stomach and I currently endure pain and nausea every day.

On a scale of 1-10 it’s been an 8 and I've been taking either Omeprazole or Nexium for over a year.

Now the aging process takes hold and of course things will only get worse. But I’m only one guy. What happens to all the other people who drink energy drinks and have the same problems?

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    • Energy drinks can cause headaches in some people.
      By: Subbotina Anna
      Energy drinks can cause headaches in some people.
    • Energy drinks can contribute to insomnia.
      By: Dan Race
      Energy drinks can contribute to insomnia.
    • Some energy drinks may cause nausea.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      Some energy drinks may cause nausea.
    • Severe side effects of energy drinks include disorientation and psychosis.
      By: chuugo
      Severe side effects of energy drinks include disorientation and psychosis.
    • Short-term side effects of energy drinks may include irritability.
      By: Alliance
      Short-term side effects of energy drinks may include irritability.