Can Energy Drinks Lead to Bipolar Disorder Mania?

 (This is one of my top ten posts. Let me know what you think! Julie)

I’ve written many books on bipolar disorder and they all discuss mania extensively- but they don’t discuss energy drinks and how they might affect mania. The reason is that the explosion of these drinks on the market is so new that it wasn’t even a topic of concern a few years ago.  

How did so many products get on the market so quickly? I think it was the success of Red Bull and it moved on from there.  I have to ask:  Are we really that tired?  Or do we just like feeling buzzed?  Who knows?  But I do know it’s a potential problem.

Can these energy drinks lead to mania or exacerbate mania?


But it might not be in the way you think.

It’s not that the energy drinks are bad for you because they directly cause mania. They don’t.  They are not like drugs that go into your system and potentially cause a manic episode such as meth, cocaine, ADHD stimulants or anti depressants.

 Instead, the problem is that energy drinks significantly affect  sleep. Consistent research shows that one of the top triggers of bipolar disorder is a change in sleep patterns.  Thus, there is a link with the energy drinks and how they can rev you up to the point that sleep is significantly impaired or impossible. This is a fire-starter for mania. (Is there a drink called Fire Starter? It wouldn’t surprise me!)  People without bipolar disorder can drink all they want.  I know someone who drinks Rock Star all day and jumps around like a rabbit- but it is her choice.  She doesn’t  have a brain that gets manic.  You or someone you care about probably does get manic.  That is the difference. It’s why you have to make choices that consider bipolar disorder. Yes, it’s a bother and not fair, but it’s reality.  Who thought a little can could cause so much trouble!  The other night I was watching UFC  (mixed martial arts) with my brother at a bar.  The woman next to me ordered her second can of Red Bull. I thought- there is no way you could get me to drink that. I’d fly through the roof!  Here is what she said when it arrived:It’s not alcohol, but it gets me plenty high!

Another example:  I go to karaoke regularly and see people order a Red Bull and Guinness.  I am no prude and have had way, way too much to drink in my lifetime to judge, but this just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.  And very few people stop at just one.

To be honest, having one energy drink early in the day may not affect your sleep.  You will have to experiment. Problems start when you drink them at night, all day or have more than enough at a bar and then can’t sleep.  Please think about it.

Energy drinks may be over the counter- but so are cigarettes. If you have trouble with mania (or anxiety), energy drinks are not your friend.

It’s as though the energy drinks lull people into thinking they are not really a problem as they are sweet and a pretty color in a vibrant can. But beware!


– For more information, click here to read an excellent article called Are Energy Drinks Safe?

– If you’re a parent of a child who feels that energy drinks are no problem- feel free to pass this on.

– My books that best explain mania the best are Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder  and  The Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder.

– Information on my family coaching can be found here 

Note: I just received this excellent question:  What about coffee?   The first difference is the amount of caffeine. Some of the drinks have the same caffeine as a cup of coffee.  Some have quadruple. Another difference is sugar content (one has almost the double of a Coke) as well as other ‘natural’ stimulants used in the drink.  (Sugar free versions are available, but their stimulant content stays the same.) And finally, it’s simply rare for someone to drink espresso all day or all night. Can you imagine seeing someone with a big coffee mug of espresso and drinking it even while singing karaoke? Whew!



56 comments to Can Energy Drinks Lead to Bipolar Disorder Mania?

  • Ileifa

    Is coffee also in this category?

  • Aaron

    I agree very much with the information you have presented in this article. My ex. who is bipolar, had a great year in 2010, until he was prescribed an anti-depressant by a PA without a proper history. I think there is also a correlation to be made with someone who is teetering on the edge of mania/hypomania with wanting to drink the energy drinks to sustain or stimulate a further high. I can remember when my ex. would have just one energy drink earlier in the day, he would not be able to fall to sleep that night at all. I on the other hand, just got a little boost out of it, and was fine. He stayed away from energy drinks for the most part, but I noticed after he became hypomanic that he would be drinking energy drinks (especially the next day after a night of drinking) my guess is that this would counteract the depressive state that the drinking might bring on the next day. I would certainly say he is calculated in when he drinks the energy drinks. I would say it is very dangerous, especially for those who are addicted to the high of mania/hypomania, as they see it as a way to extend or reintroduce their manic state. If you think about the chemical properties of energy drinks, they act in a very similar nature as anti-depressants with stimulating the sympathetic response, but instead of a localized response in the synaptic cleft (such as leaving serotonin around longer by blocking its uptake) you get a global response with the release of adrenaline, which can cause a lot of physiological changes throughout. Loved the article! I enjoy reading your observations because they are way ahead of the curve on any research (because it takes forever to get peer review/agreement).

    • Hello Aaron,

      Wow! I should have interviewed you for the blog. Your information is invaluable.

      Thank you for your kind comments about my work. Your information is going to help a lot of people.


  • jenn

    I don’t drink them; I did at one time and they seemed to trigger panic attacks, or at the very least intensified the attacks I was getting due to stress at work. The one I used was a more natural one; I was working at a whole foods at the time and bought them on my break. The ingredients (amino acids. b vitamins, caffeine) would be fine as separate ingredients, but together they caused problems. I also get anxious just drinking too much caffeine.

  • I spent years trying to ‘force onset of mania’ because I thought that was the ‘real’ me. Now that I am stabilized with meds, I miss the highs (I think many of us do miss them) even though the outcomes were ugly. I wasn’t sure what an energy drink would do to me, but since a glass of wine now and then wasn’t causing any problems, I tried one. Once. Never again.

    I was wired like mania, but unfocused, jittery, bouncing from one thing to another. Never finished, or really even started, anything. I can see wanting to to extend or reintroduce my mania with one of these, but I won’t because I preffer being ‘quiet’ after years of self-medication (unlawful substances & booze) and rabid fist- and knife-fights.

  • Erick Blackwelder

    I take meds morning and night.

    My night time meds are six meds that are marked, “May cause drowsiness.” All six combined knock me out in 20 minutes.

    I wake-up with a hangover from my night time meds.

    After years of tolerating the hangovers, I asked my pdoc to add some “speed” to my morning meds to get me out of my hangover. We started with Adderall, but it was a hassle to manage doses through the day.

    Then he put me on Vyvanse, and one capsule in the AM pulls me out of my hangover, and helps me feel energetic, without triggering mania.

  • Gaelena Jorgeson


    Just thinking about drinking one of those causes my heart to pound and my breathing to become strained. I question if people that drink these energy drinks really want to be stable. A good saying is “If you don’t want to slip, don’t go to slippery places”. Toying with it shows that there is unfinished business in terms of acceptance of their diagnosis. I’ve learned to love the middle ground and keep away from triggers. I value this after 40+ years of highs and low lows.

  • Caroline R

    Julie, I am sure they would cause mania in me. I absolutely cannot take caffeine or sugar or I will go into a manic episode. It’s not in my imagaination; it happened once when I injested sugar at a restuarant without knowing it and I couldn’t sleep–the warning sign of mania for me. I later found out that the dish did have sugar and then I knew. I was not always so sensitive to these substances, but since I cut them out (and have not had to be hospitalized for 14 years) I am much more reactive. I try to follow macrobiotic principles in eating and it has stabilized me more than anything else. Keep up the great work, Julie! You are an inspiration.

  • Hi Julie,

    I would never try one of the energy drinks, mainly because they have so many suspicious and unpronounceable ingredients and I’m concerned they may interact adversely with my medication. I had to cut out caffeine completely for a long time because of my reaction to it. Caffeine and energy drinks stimulate the sympathetic (“fight-or-flight”) nervous system. My fight-or-flight reaction likes to be “on” most of the time anyway (bipolar and years of anxiety and improper body alignment all contribute to and are affected by it, it’s a vicious circle!). I can drink beverages that have a little bit of caffeine, and I do occasionally drink caffeinated coffee or tea, but I monitor it closely. I don’t drink anything with caffeine after lunchtime. As you said, it affects sleep, and if I don’t sleep I’m a disaster.

    Thanks for this post, it’s a good one. Being in fight-or-flight mode when you don’t need to fight or run away takes a terrible toll on one’s health, and can make the reaction NOT work when you actually need it. I know this from experience, unfortunately!

  • Randa

    Doug’s comment about wired like mania … struck a cord w/me. Don’t drink the energy drinks but coffee – decaf. I was diagnosed w/BP2 five years ago & on Lamictal ever since. But I only started taking BP2 seriously November 2011 so I’ve just started tracking symptoms. I drink decaf latte’s – usually limit to 1 on Sat & 1 on Sun. Last night I drank two within 4 hours. Was wired, shaky, hyper-focused & think my euphoric mania kicked in. I read or heard something somewhere that said artificial sweetners can be a trigger for us. I use sweet n low – so got a lot in the lattes. Is that an ingredient in energy drinks?

  • Heidi

    Hello Julie:

    I avoid anything that might even remotely make me “high”. I get enough of it when mania sets in. So, I’m wary of energy drinks. I read the ingredients on the “Red Bull” when my teens drank it. It was full of caffeine. I don’t even drink coffee, regular or decaf. I don’t drink regular tea. I don’t even eat chocolate any more. Many decaf and herbal teas don’t have enough caffeine and those drinks don’t seem to affect me adversely. I don’t drink alcohol, or smoke cigarettes. Besides affecting my mind, all of these affect other systems in my body as well. Very few times I am tempted to “cheat”. But I have to tell myself emphatically “NO!!” I know what any one of them will do to me. I want to make every effort not to land in the hospital!

  • Tricia

    I believe you’re wrong when you say energy drinks are ok for people who aren’t Bipolar. If they need that boost, I believe there’s an issue.

    I don’t see energy drinks as being any different than the ‘awake’ pills at truck stops. Granted, I haven’t even looked at ingredients, but if something boosts your energy you’re self medicating. In my first year of teaching a very hyper child (before the DX of ADD or ADHD, or TX with Rx stimulants) was given a 1/4 cup of coffee at recess because it helped with her behavior. More than 1/4 cup was another matter.

    Since the advent of energy (stimulant) drinks I’ve wondered how many mentally ill people are self medicating. They scare me, personally. I use 1/4 cup coffee in the a.m. to focus to get ready for the day. I’m very aware that it helps.

    As far as your question about whether or not the drinks effect mania…. if they have caffeine, I am definitely effected. Edgy. Irritable. When manic, I do my best to avoid coffee, chocolate, etc….. however, it’s not easy. Caffeine or too much sugar after 3 p.m. and my sleep is effected.

    As a retired kindergarten teacher I use to send parent letters about what we were doing and also included an FYI at the end. Caffeine was an FYI topic. I always find it difficult to believe that people can’t see the behavior changes in children who have caffeinated soda or ice tea.

  • Jessica

    This is very interesting and timely information for me. I am a massage therapist and also am bipolar. I know the benefits of massage in both helping lift depression and in calming a manic state. It’s good to know this type of information when discussing nutrition with a client as part of lifestyle changes that can help improve mood and body functions. Thank you!

  • Sherry

    My son had never had an episode of either depression or mania until 2 1/2 years ago when, at 19, he began drinking a workout supplement – SuperPump 250 by Gaspari. It is a powder purchased over the counter and mixed with water. Like other supplements, it is not regulated by the FDA. After drinking it for a couple of times a day for 2 weeks -and smoking pot like he had done since he was 16, he became manic. The mania led to psychosis several days later. I had to have the police pick him up and take him to the hospital. He ended up in a psychiatric hospital for 2 1/2 weeks. There were no drugs, other than the marijuana, in his body. The doctors told us that they had seen mania as a result of energy drinks, but had never known it to move into psychosis. To make a very long story short, he has been well since then although he quit taking his medication after several months because it made him feel like a zombie. He is now a senior in college and living a healthy lifestyle, but, knowing that the odds are about 80% that he may experience another episode, worries that he’ll go through it again at some point. Our hope, of course, is that the SuperPump 250 was the trigger.
    Julie, I found you on the internet at the worst point in my life. I bought and read your books and continue to read your emails. Unfortunately, another friend has a son who has become ill over the course of the past year. I immediately told her about you. Thanks for being there for so very many of us when we need help and don’t know where to find it. You are a Godsend.

    • justine

      You’re son’s bipolar is like mine. There have been times that when I went into a mania and smoked pot I had mania with psychotic features. Also mania while on anti depressants have spun me into the same experience. So I just stay on a mood stabilizer. Off of the mood stabilizer, even nicotine can cause an episode and once I go manic I seem to be drawn to pot like a magnet and then have the psychotic situation.
      But if I stay on the mood stabilizer religiously and get plenty of sleep, I do just fine. I hope your son doesn’t have to go through a psychosis again….it’s so embarrassing. And takes at least a month to recover.
      I have smoked pot just a few times while on the mood stabilizer and have been fine, but I don’t risk it very often. Maybe 3 times in ten years.
      The superpump 250 might have pulled him into an early mania, but as he gets older, other things could draw him into one…even just overworking himself on a project so the mood stabilizer is key, I had a six year lapse between my first and second episode. It’s very tempting to go off medication. Important to just accept it as a forever thing.

  • Ruth

    Since you mentioned espresso, apples-to-apples comparisons of various caffeinated drinks are not always straightforward but please check out this table: Espresso, apparently has less caffeine than non-espresso coffee.

  • Susan Lathro

    I just read your post and I haven’t read the above comments yet. I have a research psychiatrist that in my opinion puts her in front of most other psychiatrists. She has prohibited caffeine period. Even morning coffee. None, nada. She also has emphasize eating beans, lentils, peas, fish oil (that one most of us know). Maybe beans and legumes are related. This is just a quick post and so I am not researching the difference. If I have a 1/2 cup of coffee in the morning and then a coffee in the afternoon it trips me over to mania. So if it is a drink with 4 times the caffeine as coffee it makes sence that the drink will really throw many of us who are BiPolar 1 into a tailspin. She is the 1st psychiatrist that has made the above recommendations and I am so glad to have found her. It often takes time for this information from research doctors to regular doctors.

  • Susan

    P.S. to my above comment. If psychiatric hospitals restrict coffee and coke completely due to caffeine….there is a reason for that. I am sure when you think about it, some of these energy drinks probably have been the factor that put some BiPolar 1’s into the hospitals, maybe even after getting involved in some energy induced criminal behavior. Maybe I am putting myself out on a limb, but I know how much caffeine affects me. It makes you wonder about labeling and lawsuits doesn’t it…like the warning on psych meds.

  • Does green tea affect Bipolar as it does contain caffein ?
    Thank you for your interesting articles.

  • Gary

    Just because the FDA hasnt labeled energy drink contents as a drug doesnt mean anything. As time rolls on I believe that we will see more and more defects of energy drinks. I see kids drinking them probably more than water, adults for energy and Quite literally it is the drug of choice for many people! My daughter definitely gets more manic when exposed to power liquid such as caffine and energy drinks.. It needs to be off limits for those with serious manic issues. It is actually a trigger..Once more studies are done I believe we will see a ban on these natural drugs.. such as marijuana.. coca leaves..all natural and create havoc in peoples live… Octane for the Episodes

  • Paul Winkler

    Hi Julie! I stopped drinking caffeinated drinks several years ago, after (I presume) several unpleasant interactions with my meds. Then I made a mistake and took a fat-burning supplement that I got at a “health” store! Wow I was I wired! I went to the gym to work it off, but I was shaking, with chills, sweats, and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Even my eyeballs and cheeks were jumping. It had caffeine in it. I won’t do that again! Now I stick to decaffeinated tea, and not too much of that.

  • Sharon

    Um, definitely energy drinks make me go bananas. I have ended up in the emergency room more than once after having an energy drink (sometimes coupled with alcohol) in the attempt to elevate my depressed mood. Whoa – not a comfortable feeling. I think even coffee is no longer a good idea for me, but I’m having trouble giving it up. It makes my mind race incredibly and I get super worried and try to organize my life in the course of a day.

  • Tricia

    I’m sure most people know, but just to put it out there, something needs to be ‘caffeine free’. If it’s labled ‘decaf’ it still has an amount of caffeine. If I remember correctly, decaf coffee retains 10% of it’s caffeine.

    Some people may laugh at the ‘10%’ concern, however, it’s enough to mess a lot of us up. People don’t have enough respect (knowledege?) for what caffeine can do. For children it’s not just hyperactivity, but bone growth, which also means you need to be aware of it for osteoporosis. Don’t forget cardiac patients. Am I tangential? Off the subject of mania? Just trying to emphasize the impact of caffeine.

    Do you suppose the manufacturers of these energy drinks even care? Manufacturers of tobacco products defend their merchandise to the ‘death’.

  • Clara

    I dont dare to try it , a simple chai makes me stay awake for at least 30 hrs , in Mexico there’s a drink called “black pearl” ( perla negra) and it contains boost and j

  • Wow, so many comments! Way to go Julie on a great article!

    I’d like to try to answer Cathy’s question about green tea. I have bipolar disorder and I drink green tea often. Most days, it is fine.. But if I’m already hypomanic it can push me. Green tea is interesting because it has caffeine and Theanine. The Theanine may have a positive effect – it’s supposed to be relaxing.

    I’ve also found that there are lots of types of green tea. Some seem to have more caffeine than others. If I want green tea with less caffeine, I usually heat my water less, remove the tea bag sooner, and sometimes I used a green tea that’s like Mint Green Tea because the bag contains mint leaves that are caffeine free, which reduces the total amount of caffeine.

    So… yes, I’d say that green tea can have a definite effect on bipolar disorder, but it all depends on your sensitivity!

  • I have enjoyed reading this article. I have always asked the same question and seem to intuitively skirt around them as they are so commercially displayed for sale in every convenience store you stop in. I am leary. The question is for the de[ressive side of Bi-Polar disorder…If you are in a depression and your anti depressant medication has not quite picked up your mood, could drinking an energy drink in the morning for a few days help give you a boost to assist you out of your depressive chemical mood?

    • Tricia

      Gigi~ I have found myself unintentionally increasing my a.m. coffee when depressed, then I pay for it big time being unable to sleep, which in turn can trigger mania, and so the circle goes… Currently there is no coffee in my life and only an occassional 3oz. of coke if a migraine is starting. (I recently took a fall that triggered a lot of weird things, including virtigo and migraines. The benefit is that I had to go off most of my psychotropics for testing and am doing great mentally emotionally!) That’s another story with caffiene. It IS used in pain control.

  • A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about energy drinks for a local sports magazine. Even though the magazine is published no longer, the website archive is still online. You can find the article at:
    My email address at the bottom of the is no longer active, however. You can share my website if people need to reach me.

  • Stuff

    The fact these drinks contain a stimulant and excessive amounts of sugar indicate the drinker may have a health issue in the first place, finds it hard physically to function and may think they are tired.To over stimulate themselves and perhaps give them selves an opportunity to remain sicker and artificially conscience to there detriment.

    I drank just over 1.25lt a day. I chose not to drink alcohol. I stopped the Coke cycle and gave it up for 7 years. I rarely have it, as a luxury is a luxury. Just like any soft drink, it

  • Wow these people like to talk and none of them are mentally ill. Energy drinks can cause mania??? REALLY!!???

    Cocaine is 1/10th the high of pure mania. The high from cocaine is LAUGHABLE compared to mania. But an energy drink can get you up there hmmm???? Interesting…

    All you coffee drinking, Starbucks sipping, intellectuals can suck my impotent @@#$ with your ‘energy buzz’ placebo.

    This world makes me sick. And if anyone dares find me in real life, please kill me. Suicide doesn’t allow my family my life insurance.

    • hi Mr. Appleseed. I like your posts. I will answer a few of your questions. Energy drinks cause sleep problems that can lead to mania. The number one bipolar trigger is substance abuse- the second is sleep disruption! I know it’s odd. Cocaine is awful for bipolar- you are right- it can cause straight mania. It can make someone who has latent bipolar go into full bipolar. I see it in my clients. I have always been incredibly careful about coffee. My new med regime makes me VERY tired so I can drink some coffee now! Awesome!

      I know that being manic causes a lot of messed up thoughts- and a lot of anger. I am fine if you want to write about it here. I’ve been there and know what you are going through. I can’t write it on the blog though. 🙂

      On to your next post…..

    • iwonttellyou

      wow mr. appleseed, you are the one that seem not mentally ill to me, you seem soo ignorant..please if you have no good to contribute don’t write anything..your whole post was a waste of my had nothing good to say.

  • realist

    I drink energy drinks and im bipolar. In the day time im tired. At night im awake anyway. They dont stay in the body for long.

  • Susan Lathrop

    Julie, you were really gentle with Mr. Appleseed, but I wish that this post was not on here. I found the profanity very disturbing. Yes, it is free speech but I found it very offensive. It is what it is and if there had been several comments like this I would stop reading the comments. Your article was fantastic and so were all the great comments. I was so disturbed at the end. It is was it is. It was a bit of a trigger.

    • Hi Susan,

      Thank you for saying this. I acutally took out a lot of the language!!! I didn’t want to delete the post as I feel he has the right to say what he thinks- as many feel this way when they are manic. I will go through it again and make changes. I’m so impressed he wrote back and feel that we can all learn from another person’s situation. Thanks again! julie

  • Fredrick Bowman

    Energy drinks are great but most of them contain caffeine. I would usually prefer the ones based on green tea.^

    Remember to visit our favorite web blog

  • jess

    i am addicted to caffiene so i drink energy drinks atleast 1 or 2 a day or every other day and drink a 2 liter bottle of coca-cola classic a day i am bipolar and honestly i disagree not because of the fact that i am addicted to them but because you dont need bipolar disorder to have a irritable moment or manic episode i know alot of people who do not have bipolar disorder who drink more energy drinks then i do and when they are going through caffiene withdrawl they get irritable start flipping out on people breaking things until they get their energy drink.

    and that is seriously messed up to say that people who are bipolar shouldn’t drink energy drinks but people without bipolar can drink as much as they want that seems like how sexism would go when men say women shouldn’t drive or when they say women were put into this world only to please men cook and clean for them.

    i am giving my own opinion yes people arent going to like it but i am speaking free of what i believe and yes when i go so long without a energy drink i do get irritable but i have control over myself and my anger i can drink 5 energy drinks in 1 day and still beable to sleep it does not affect me or give me a rush anymore it is like i am drinking water and im also an insomniac BUT i take seroquel only when i feel i need to most of the time the energy drinks and coca-cola help me fall asleep i have grandmal seizures but i dont have as many when im drinking caffinated drinks as when i am not

    anyways i was not here to cause issues only voicing my statement in this

    have a good day

  • Freddy

    Well, I’ll write my story, in the past as adolescent I suffered of some disturbs including a deep depression, after my mother passed away (I was 13), also other reasons I do not want to mention here…
    Well in these times I used to drink lots of red bull as a way to feel a little better and relieve the asleep symptoms of my depression…
    But everything was just getting worse, I didn’t give fault to red bull, I didn’t even think about it, in those times I was not in myself, it was not really me in my body, I just tell I used to think that furniture, yes I said furniture, “tables, chairs” etc..could steal my “soul” as a magic/superstitious ritual, so I had to touch them until this “threat” was averted by keeping touching them and make some moves kinda: “come to me again” until I felt I averted the threat…. same was for stairs, to avert my soul to fly away I had to jump on the step, one yes one not and so on…. It was just seriously crazy, but it gives you an idea of the conditions I were…
    Time passed, things got better for me, and at the age of 18 most of my disturbs passed alone, at 19 they were totally disapperaed, got an important job, I lost weight, 40 pounds ( I was 250 at age of 17 because of depression I used to eat so much), I got my own house my life was litterally shining, the past just a bad memory to be thrown away…. I actually deleted much of that period in my mind and hurts so much remembering it.
    This until my busy life and big responsibilties brought me to use, better say abuse of red bull again, about one year ago in the month of June, now I’m 24, well it was really a terrible period, lack of sleep time, big stress at work, so to improve my performances I started again to use red bull…
    I used it for a month, like 5 to 6 cans a day, I felt like it was changing something in me and my behaviour but I gave fault to stressful period I was living, then one night, I had to work until very late, it was going to be a hard busy evening, I was so tired, I had to do an important job, the matter was crucial for the fate of the company, but I felt like I was not going to manage it without red bull help that night, so that night I did drink 4 cans of redbull after having had already 3 since early evening, plus 2 coffees, then came back to home at 12:30 AM, was so tired, I felt euforic, happy to have done the job, but so tired….
    I got in the bad already dreseed, and as my head touched the pillow I fell in a strange sleep, it was not like usual, it was a kind of strange REM phase or something, well suddenly something strange happened, I felt like an explosion in my head, a loud “bang” like a bomb was exploded into my head, ho hurt just a shake, and like an electric shock passed through my brain, without even noticing I bounced and sat on my bed a and then I lyed down so quickly and I hit my head to the bedside table….I remembered that the day after I could still feel the bump…
    Well since that night I started to suffer suddenly of things similar to Bipolar disorder, paranoidal things and kind of OCD….as long as depression.
    Still right now, even if looks less, just had another crisis tonight, a pretty strong one, surprised me, things looked like they were fixing up, I’m tired, I admit thought about suicide more than once after this, I’m unhappy and hope things will change, still trying to understand what happened, why, so suddenly, this after my life was doing quite great, finally, so that’s how tonight I started again surfing for a certain correlation beetween Red Bull and this, that’s how I came to this website….
    Do not know what happened to me, if it is fault of red bull or not, I just wanted to say what I passed through…. give my 2 cents and say this, whenever is this stuff the cause or not just keep away from it, I don’t wish to anynoe what I’m passing through…so better stay away just for eventuality.

  • I was diagnosed with bipolar about a year ago and I feel like my pills are making me so sleepy all the time. I’m taking trileptal and navane. When there’s school I always have the hardest time waking up early in the morning. I would set my alarm at 6:30am and end up snoozing it until 9:30am. It’s that hard. I try to drink coffee in the morning and it does kinda help but I end up taking long naps once I get home. Then on the weekends when there’s no school I sleep for about 13 hours and then I end up taking more naps throughout the day. Is this bad? I really wanna start having more energy again. But once I do start having more energy it leads to mania and my psychiatrist starts to increase the dosage of my pills making me really sleepy again…. How can I feel more energetic without leading to mania or hypo-mania?

  • Maureen

    I too have had a change in my ‘sleep’ pattern, for no apparent reason either, same meds, nothing has changed but ive gone from 6hrs per night to now 12hrs that’s double the amount of sleep I was getting, and I also am really sleepy during the day now also even getting that amount of sleep, I thought at first it was because of so many months getting only 6hrs and less most nights it was all catching up with me and the extra sleep now was that, but Ive changed my mind I think, as this has been two nights in succession that ive slept so much, I always link more sleep with an onset of depression, but Im hoping thats not going to be the case.
    I have had to cut my med down, the Depakote due to hair loss, could this be the reason Im sleeping more?
    Im baffled as to why this has happened.
    I know what Im writing has nothing to do with the energy drinks, but I dont take them, so Ive no comments to make on that issue really.
    I dont think they are good, that’s about all I can say regards them, and I dont think people should take them, they cannot be good for anyone with all that caffeine in them.

  • Ryan

    I enjoyed the article/newsletter but I was wondering how much of it is just opinion and how much is research based. My main concern is as a person with Bipolar Disorder who does drink energy drinks I would like to see clinical research based on this idea/question. Also where did you get the information you presented where you said, “Consistent research shows that one of the top triggers of bipolar disorder is a change in sleep patterns”? I would definitely like to read this research if you can provide the link.



  • Hi! This is so true because Red Bull really made me maniac in the past. I used to drink at night also. My sleep pattern was disturbed, and yeah! I became a maniac with grandiosity and overactive physiological pattern.
    Now, I quit drinking Red Bull because I used a lot of Lithium Carbonate and anti-psychotics. I am happy to share that I am not a maniac anymore.

  • I started drinking these types of energy drinks to keep me awake through the day when I couldn’t sleep during manic episodes. I noticed that when I stopped drinking them my sleep pattern improved and thought it may have been a coincidence. However, reading this article and its comments I realise I probably exacerbated the problem.

    Thanks for a great article.

    • Hello to everyone and thanks for the great comments. It’s not only that energy drinks can cause mania. Another problem is that we use them to exacerbate mania in many ways. Sometimes we know we’re doing it because we want to prolong our euphoria or sometimes we do it because mania can make you really tired. Dysphoric mania has something that I call wired and tired. That’s where you have all kinds of energy, but you just feel awful and you can’t sleep. Isn’t it crazy that we would want to put something in our bodies that makes it worse? But what I have found is that mania craves mania. It’s interesting that some drinks that call themselves refreshing or energized or something like 5-Hour Energy Drink can have all kinds of stimulants in them that aren’t even related to caffeine. We really do have to be careful about anything that affects our sleep. But we also need to go easy on ourselves if we crave something that energizes us when we’re already manic. That’s simply a symptom of mania. That’s why I have to manage my mania at the very very beginning using my Health Cards because many of us have the kind of euphoric mania that makes us crave doing really stupid things. Julie

  • Diana

    I’ve been diagnosed as BP in the past, but think I lean more towards BP2. I have never gone on meds because I always thought I could handle it on my own even though some of the depressive days get really dark. For years I would drink red bulls (sugar-free) to help get me through the day or to stay up late studying. They seemed to focus my brain a bit, although they don’t always keep me awake. I never noticed mania; I think I just thought I was wired, but honestly I never paid much attention. About a month ago I started drinking sugar free Monster Energy drinks because I read an article that the aspartame that’s in sugar-free red bull has been linked to Alzheimers. They have twice as much caffeine as a red bull and seriously messed with my sleep, but I’ve never slept really well so again, I didn’t think anything of it. Well, last weekend I was seriously manic after drinking one, went out, had some alcohol and became obsessed with wanting to smoke pot (which I haven’t done in about 12 years shy of maybe twice). Long story short I was manic and now I’m stuck in a depressive state, saw this article and it definitely clicked because my depressive state started three weeks ago when I started drinking the monster. Thanks for the information!

  • I agree with this article. Caffeine in general I feel is bad for bipolar patients. I’ve switched to decaf a lot and mostly just drink water and decaf tea.

  • Caffeine and dark chocolate mess with my sleep cycle. I’ve never had a pure energy drink, thankfully. Reading the comments, I see I’m not the only who feels too tired on meds and then needs energy during the day. I’m working on adjusting my sleep meds now so I’m not as tired throughout the day. Someday I’ll have sleep figured out, except I like reading books at night when my kids are in bed. 🙂

  • Lalas mommy

    I am here because my 19 year old takes Rockstar and I just wanted to educate myself for his sake and mine.Julie you use the term health card I don’t know the meaning can you explain.Thank you for the article.

    • Hello! I’m glad the article was a help. Anything that affects sleep can affect bipolar disorder- for example, music concerts are a big trigger for me simply because I get home so late! The Health Cards are the treatment plan I talk about in all of my books. You can find the full system at and an explanation of the system in Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder (for partners) and Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder, a book for anyone affected by the illness. Thank you! Julie

  • Tom

    I’m bi-polar I drink a lot of Lipton iced tea w/crystal light flavors to sweeten it w/o sugar…..& I drink ice water on hot days/wasn’t always this way used to drink tons of coffee and coke/Pepsi/the highs and the lows aren’t worth my time/effort to maintain/I don’t agree w/ someone who isn’t bi-polar saying something weird like its not OK to drink Pepsi or energy drinks/cause there’s a lot of people that do wayyyyyy worse that might see that online & revert back to they’re old ways because they perceive that they’re trying to kick whatever that isn’t as innipocent as energy drinks makes it overwhelmingly impossible to understand…..the whole article is silly/& I’m not being rude or mean/its fascinating how people that haven’t lived the last 20 years mentally I’ll can possibly jump into my shoes!!!You should be a church wedding planner not dishing out lala land high morals to the mentally ill

  • I think the caffeine in energy drinks can definitely push you towards mania. I don’t drink energy drinks, I do have coffee after I wake up, and as long as I am on an adequate dose of lithium, it doesn’t make me hyper.

  • I have been drinking monster Assault’s for the last 3 years.

    And have noticed a drastic increase in my violent tendencies
    I CANNOT control my temper, I get incredibly angry at things that make no sense to be mad at. HOWEVER knowing that Monster’s,redbull, ect are becoming an issue

    I CANNOT STOP DRINKING THEM my body crave’s the B12 and other ”vitamin’s or whatever is in these god damn things

    any suggestions? because drinking these has torn my love life apart. i’ve lost allot just because i can’t stop drinking these god damn things.

  • tom

    I drink diet coke Its got 0/0/0 & 0 But I also ride my bike up to about 6 miles a day & haul it up & down 3 flights of stairs every time I go out…….That & the local bus w/ bike are my transpo…..Been that way for a long time……
    I quit smoking analog cigarettes 5 years ago……..& vape now…..
    I feel good…..I guess what Im saying is that everyone has to work out whats best for them……Oh I cut sugar completely out of my diet………& am working on a healthier me……..I take Lithium…Serequel & also Risperdal ……I keep busy in the day whether its researching various subjects on the computer or volunteering in my community by helping unpack boxes for the food bank & setting up chairs.,,I even this last summer made sure the kids didnt fight while playing basketball at the request of the apartment owners…..I would advise getting involved & you cant just jump in anywhere you have to be somewhere for some time before that starts to happen!! Thanks….

  • Heidi H.

    I had to give up caffeine because it caused other problems in my body. But knowing all of the ways it gives me negative reactions, it has taken a lot of self-control and will power not to eat or drink the stuff. There were some “DTs” first: I had to get rid of anything with caffeine and not go shopping for awhile (I had to waste some money throwing away bad stuff for me); I have my husband’s support-it helps to have a support person. (I did go “off the wagon” once this past summer, and started to get a buzz; and knew I couldn’t have even a little of caffeine. It didn’t even taste good to me any more.) So I remind myself that I will get very sick if I eat or drink anything with caffeine. I remind myself when others in my family have it in my house. I remind myself that I am different: I take different medicines than my diabetic husband, who has to eat more protein than myself and is allergic to certain foods. It’s just a fact of life. If I want to stay healthy and live a full life, I have to choose not to have caffeine. In my mind I say, it’s for my health; it’s for my good health; I want to stay healthy.