A new study reveals that one or two caffeine- rich energy drinks a week can increase black outs, binging and alcohol-dependence in youngsters compared to non- drinkers.

"People that drink these energy beverages daily or weekly need to be careful about alcohol consumption," said Harold C. Urschel, an addiction expert in Dallas.The researchers could not exactly point out how these drinks increase alcoholism, but they feel it is the combination of alcohol and caffeine that heightens the potential risk. This combination poses serious threat even when they are not mixed in the same cup. "Drinking alcohol and caffeine at the same time is like hitting the gas and the brake at the same time," says John Higgins, University of Texas Medical School at Houston and director of exercise physiology at Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute.

Caffeine in the drink keeps a person awake, prolongs the drinking session and masks drunkenness. This is called wide-awaken drunkenness and it leads to self-destruction or other life threatening behaviors. “The caffeine helps to disguise intoxication so you can drink more without realizing that you are drunk,” said Urschel “You are more intoxicated and more revved up, and that is quite dangerous."

Most of the leading energy drinks come with caffeine and they do not disclose their caffeine content on the label. Many of the US states and universities have banned the use of caffeinated energy drinks and others are mulling over such a move.

The research published online in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research studied more than 1000 students from US University. This finding adds to a previous research that found direct link between alcohol-dependence and caffeine-rich energy drinks. According to the study 10.1 percent of the students took these energy drinks weekly and another 2.6 percent had it daily or almost daily.