New research links energy drinks to anxiety in young men

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A new study from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research has uncovered a link between energy drink consumption in young men and increased anxiety.

The study published online in Depression and Anxiety, (Official Journal of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America), examined the association between energy drink consumption and mental health in young adults from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study.

The research showed that energy drink consumption was significantly associated with anxiety in males and that this research supported previous studies that identified energy drinks as being a potential risk factor for mental health problems in young men.

Lead author Dr Georgina Trapp says the study used questionnaires completed by 502 young adult males and 567 young adult females to determine energy drink consumption at 20 years of age and compared that to their levels of anxiety, stress and depression.

"Participants were asked to record how many cans of energy drink they consumed a day and how often, for example every day or once a week."
"We then used standard depression, anxiety and stress scales to assess mental health based on their questionnaire responses and this indicated that young adult males in particular showed a concerning link between anxiety and the consumption of these high caffeine energy drinks."

"Our research showed that drinking one 250ml can or more a day of energy drinks is associated with increased anxiety and the association got stronger as energy drink consumption increased." says Dr Trapp. "

The study showed no such association in the female group and researchers believe this may be related to a higher rate of energy drink use amongst young men than young women.

Researchers say they don't know exactly why the link exists between anxiety and energy drink consumption and that further research is recommended, but there is some belief it could relate to the high levels of caffeine in these drinks and the association between caffeine and detrimental mental health effects such as anxiety disorder and panic disorder.

"Other energy drink ingredients such as guarana and ginseng have also been linked to anxiety, irritability, nervousness, restlessness, tremors and mania." Dr Trapp said.

 "However it is also possible that young males experiencing anxiety may be using energy drinks to self-medicate for temporary relief of distress, or for positive effects on attention and performance."

This is the first study of its type examining the relationship between energy drinks and anxiety in young men and the research group advises that more extensive research be undertaken.

View the full transcript


Citation: Trapp, G.S.A. Allen, K. O'Sullivan, T.A. Robinson, M. Jacoby, P. Oddy, W.H. Energy Drink Consumption is Associated with Anxiety in Australian Young Adult Males. Depression And Anxiety 00:1-9(2013)

About the Raine Study
The Raine Study is jointly conducted by the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and the University of Western Australia. The study started in 1989, when 2900 pregnant women were recruited into a research study at King Edward Memorial Hospital to examine ultrasound imaging. The mothers were assessed during pregnancy and health and lifestyle information was collected on the mother and the father. After the children were born, they were assessed at birth, at one year, then two, three and five years of age. Further follow-ups of the cohort have been conducted at eight, ten, 14, 17, 20 and now 23 years of age. Find out more at

Media contact:
Carole Kerr +61 (8) 9489 7779, or Tammy Gibbs, +61(8)489 7963, or 0408 946 698

Last updated: Wednesday, August 5, 2015

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