THE majority of court-ordered referrals to the Lyndon Withdrawal Unit are because of people mixing alcohol and caffeine and doing “stupid things”, according to Lyndon Withdrawal Unit addiction medicine physician Rod MacQueen.
He says when people drink caffeine and alcohol together they have an over-inflated impression of their capabilities and are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviour.
“You should never mix uppers and downers,” he said.
“We suffer from sample bias because normally people are in here because they have done something stupid like get in a car and drive under the influence or get in a car as a passenger. It’s impulsive silly stuff.”
Dr MacQueen said people overestimated their sobriety because they felt wide awake.
He said mixing caffeine and alcohol also created a cycle of drinking behaviour. Dr MacQueen said caffeine could cause anxiety, so people would have another drink, then another, to try and calm the nerves, while exacerbating the anxiety.
The effects of alcohol wear off quicker than the effects of caffeine.
“The half life of caffeine is longer than it is on alcohol, so when you wake up in the morning you’re twice as crook,” he said.
“If you drink 20 or 30 caffeine drinks then it takes greater than a day to get that out of your system.”
Occidental Hotel general manager Don Scholte made a decision to ban energy drinks from his venue prior to opening the pub for late night trading.
He agreed with Dr MacQueen and said people should never mix uppers and downers.
Mr Scholte said in his experience as a licensee, introducing caffeine and alcohol could lead to violence.
“My raw experience at the coal face is that by mixing anything like that there can be the potential for violence.Anything is a potential with an upper and a downer,” he said.