Which comes first? The energy drink addiction or the drug addiction? Caffeine and recovery from drug addiction seemingly go hand in hand. The stereotype of recovery group meetings, for example, is accompanied with token items like cigarettes, doughnuts, and coffee. Today’s recovery, especially for young people, looks a little different. In lieu of coffee are energy drinks, in lieu of cigarettes are ‘vapes’ or e-cigarettes, and in lieu of doughnuts are superfood, protein packed smoothies.
Many men who enter recovery find themselves turning to alternative mind altering substances, like energy drinks, though for non-abusive purposes. Energy drinks do contain high amounts of sugar, caffeine, and other natural vitamins known to increase energy. Low energy is common in early recovery from addiction as the body is fighting to recalibrate and normalize. A craving for stimulation in the brain, which caffeine provides, is also common as the brain struggles to balance its chemistry without large amounts of dopamine.
Energy drinks are controversial in recovery because of their mind altering and sometimes mood altering effect as well as their ability to be abused. Some have claimed that energy drinks are just an ‘addiction swap’ or that they could cause a relapse back into drug and alcohol addiction. Research released in 2017 by the University of Maryland School of Public Health revealed that young adults who consumed energy drinks ‘yearly’ between the ages of 21 and 24 “were at greater risk for subsequently doing cocaine, using prescription stimulants…and problem drinking,” reported USA Today.
Should Energy Drinks Matter?
Recovery can be seen as a matter of mind over matter. Should an energy drink have any influence on whether or not a man in recovery relapses? The truth is that the energy drink does not force him to relapse. It does not put a drink or a drug in his hand and it does not make him consume that substance. Energy drinks can, however, lead to a shift in brain chemistry which results in a shift in behaviors that can ultimately lead to relapse without swift and drastic change.
There is freedom from addiction. At Tree House Recovery in Portland, Oregon, men are creating a sustainable recovery by creating sustainable changes in their life mind, body, and spirit. Our treatment programs combine the best of health and wellness, clinically proven therapies, and inspirations from Oregon’s great outdoors. For information, call us today: (503) 850-2474