Everyone indulges in caffeine or alcohol occasionally. If you enjoy both, is it a good idea to mix the two? According to Healthline, mixing alcohol and caffeine is potentially unsafe. You may remember the trend of energy drinks mixed with alcohol. The controversy surrounding said drinks was not unfounded. It can be dangerous and to understand the risks, you have to understand how alcohol and caffeine affect your body independently of one another.

Caffeine is a stimulant. It helps you to feel more energetic and increases your alertness. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depressant and has the opposite effect. If you are like most, you probably drink caffeine regularly in the form of coffee or energy drinks. Energy drinks tend to be a favorite to combine with alcoholic drinks, due to the different flavors and strong burst of energy that they provide.

When caffeine and alcohol interact, the caffeine winds up masking the alcohol’s symptoms. The alcohol, however, still works in your system. It still alters your reaction time but with the energetic effects of the caffeine, you may feel sober. You might even choose to get behind the wheel of a car. In addition to reckless decisions, it is easy to drink more because you cannot feel the effects of the alcohol. This can result in alcohol poisoning.

What if you do not mix caffeine and alcohol but have coffee before a night out? Even then, you need to be careful. Caffeine stays in your system for five to six hours. This means that after a few hours of drinking, you may still mask the effects of it.