SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Korea Bizwire) – High-caffeine energy drinks that presumably give heightened awareness and attention may be promoting suicidal thoughts in youth, according to a recent study conducted by a research team from Soonchunhyang University.
The study, which was based on a 2015 online survey on youth health, analyzed energy drink consumption patterns and their relationship to the risk of suicide in 66,068 individuals (33,374 middle school and 32,694 high school students).
According to the team’s findings, 8.8 percent of middle school and 8.7 percent of high school students consumed energy drinks at least once or twice per week. This consumption pattern was followed by three or four times per week (1.6 percent MS, 1.9 percent HS), five or six times (0.5 percent MS, 0.6 percent HS), and at least once a day (0.6 percent MS, and 0.8 percent HS).
Meanwhile, the frequency of suicidal thoughts increased along with the consumption of energy drinks.
Among middle school students, those consuming the drinks once or twice a week showed a 1.24 times increase in the frequency of suicidal thoughts, which rose to 1.88 times for those consuming three or four times per week, 2.2 times for five or six times per week, and 2.66 times when the student consumed at least one beverage every day.
A similar pattern was observed in high school students, with the frequency of suicidal thoughts increasing from 1.26 (one or two per week), to 1.84 (three or four per week), 2.42 (five or six per week), and 3.89 (once or more per day).
“Our study showed that frequent consumption of energy drinks with high caffeine content can increase the risk of exposing oneself to suicidal thoughts,” said professor Min In-soon, who led the study. “Overconsumption of caffeine can lead to severe side effects to mental health, including morbid sensitivity and sleep disturbance, requiring young consumers to take extra caution.”
By Lina Jang (email@example.com)