Energy drinks linked to psychotic episodes in people with mental illness

Sunday, February 20, 2011

SYDNEY - An expert has warned that caffeinated energy drinks may trigger a psychotic episode in people with mental illness.

The warning was issued after a 27-year-old schizophrenic Maori man had two separate psychotic events a week apart following his intake of the drink ‘Demon Shot’.

Professor David Menkes said these events took place at a time when the man, who was prone to persecutory thought and hallucinations, was otherwise responding well to anti-psychotic medication.

In the first instance, the man drank two 60ml bottles of Demon Shot and later reported experiencing recurrent thoughts, over several hours, of “people wanting to harm him”.

“One week later, he drank three Demon Shots over 15 minutes,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Prof Menkes, who is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Auckland University, as saying.

“He was observed to be emotionally labile (moving from one point to another) - initially laughing and talkative, later becoming restless, withdrawn and argumentative.”

Other symptoms included a rapid pulse and insomnia, which took 24 hours to subside.

The man described again having had paranoid thoughts over several hours and an experience “consistent with a psychotic episode”.

“The fact that our patient had the same reaction on two distinct occasions is important,” Menkes said.

The man’s case was “evidence that some patients with treated schizophrenia may be vulnerable to exacerbation of their illness by caffeine-containing energy drinks”, he said.

The case is detailed in a letter published in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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