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It’s generally understood that highly caffeinated energy drinks — the beverage of choice for many teens — can cause a variety of health problems ranging from dehydration and insomnia to obesity and tachycardia. But now doctors are sounding the alarm about a new teen trend: mixing energy drinks with alcohol.

The average cup of coffee contains approximately 100 milligrams of caffeine, compared to 160 milligrams in a 16-ounce energy drink. Additional ingredients like guarana and ginseng also increase the caffeine’s potency in these drinks. When alcohol is added, caffeine masks the feeling of intoxication and teens tend to drink even more. This has led to a drastic increase in the number of teenage ER visits.

Physicians at UCF Pegasus Health discourage the use of energy drinks and recommend limiting the amount of caffeine, especially for adolescents.

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