A MACKAY general practitioner has described the consumption of energy drinks as "a traffic accident waiting to happen", as patients as young as 12 present with severe anxiety.
Dr Charles Voisot is so concerned he is calling for energy drinks to be marketed like alcohol and only available to adults - if not banned.
Dr Voisot, who practises at Andergrove Medical Centre, said he saw at least one patient a day with side effects from consuming energy drinks.
He said it would take the "death of consumers" for something to be done.
Young people under the age of 25, and specifically school-aged children, made up the majority of his patients.
"People are drinking these drinks on a daily basis and the caffeine content makes them addictive," Dr Voisot said.
"They're like a drug and it's concerning because we don't know what the effects will be like in 20 years time because they haven't been on the market for long."
Dr Voisot compared an addiction to energy drinks to "a ticking time bomb" and the long-term effects to marijuana use.
"I see kids on a daily basis that present with anxiety, tachycardia (abnormal fast or irregular heart rate), edginess and that are more prone to violence," he said.
Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton backed up what Dr Voisot was seeing in Mackay.
He said he was "flabbergasted" that energy drinks were the fastest growing sector in the soft-drink market and described them as a "recipe for disaster".
He said the new trend of mixing alcohol with energy drinks was more dangerous than consumers might be aware.
"You're mixing a stimulant plus a relaxant," Mr Hambleton said. "It reduces the impression of how intoxicated they are, so people get into more trouble than they normally would.
"There has been international evidence that has shown these drinks have led to more sexual assaults."
People are more likely to be sexually assaulted, to commit sexual assault and to get into a car with an intoxicated driver, he said.
- Daily recommended caffeine intake for adults is 200mg
- Caffeinated drinks are not recommended for children of any age
- 475ml - Mother - 160 mg caffeine - 52g sugar
- 250ml - Red Bull - 80mg caffeine - 27g sugar
- 475ml - Monster - 160mg caffeine - 54g sugar
- 250ml - V - 78g caffeine - 54g sugar
Do you drink energy drinks?
This poll ended on 03 November 2013.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
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