The study, which was released online ahead of publication next year in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, adds to earlier research that found links between heavy energy drink consumption and substance abuse and high-risk behavior.
Energy drinks, including Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar, deliver the equivalent caffeine dose of a cup and a half of brewed coffee but do not have to disclose their caffeine content on their label, which could lead to consumers of the drinks taking in more caffeine than they realize.
It comes as debate heated up about the dangers of drinks marketed mainly to young people, which combine both alcohol and caffeine in the same can, which five states and several universities have cracked down on or banned.
Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington have taken steps to ban drinks that combine caffeine and alcohol, as have several U.S. universities.
In August, an 18-year old girl went into cardiac arrest and died after drinking a beverage that contains alcohol, caffeine, the stimulant guarana and taurine, an amino acid thought to improve athletic performance. The girl had also taken a slimming pill on the day of her death.