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Energy Drink Hospitalizations Increase Tenfold In 4 Years

A new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has shown a tenfold increase in energy drink related hospitalizations between 2005 and 2009.

The report stated that hospitalizations related to energy drinks had climbed to 13,114 in 2009 -- up from which just 1,128 in 2005 -- according to Reuters. A whopping 16,055 visits were reported in 2008, the highest number of energy drink related hospitalizations ever recorded.

The report has also shown that a majority of those hospitalized in relation to energy drinks were adult males between the ages of 18 and 39. Females, however, were more likely to wind up in the hospital as the result of a combination of energy drinks and pharmaceuticals.

Though the study did not include alcoholic energy drinks -- such as the infamous Four Loko -- many incidents were related to drinking alcoholic beverages in addition to energy drinks. In fact, 44 percent of the cases involved the addition of drugs or alcohol.

Nevertheless, the majority of cases did not involve alcohol, meaning the energy drinks can be dangerous by themselves.

Cecile Marczinski, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, told WebMD that there may actually be more caffeine in energy drinks than is being reported.

... Marczinski said she recently learned that manufacturers don't have to report the total caffeine that's in the drinks. They only have to list what they add. There may be much more caffeine that comes from stimulant herbs like guarana.

"The caffeine in these drinks could be vastly underestimated," she tells WebMD.

In addition to the potentially dangerous combination with alcohol, researchers noted a number of reasons for energy drink related hospitalization, including arrhythmias, hypertension, dehydration and other serious medical conditions.