It could happen to you: caffeine shock

Ransom Riggs

As if in response to my recent post about the caffeination of almost everything imaginable, from water to bars of soap and beyond, last week a British girl went into shock and nearly killed herself by slamming 7 double espressos in just a few short hours. She worked in a coffee shop and, like an alcoholic bartender, was making herself drinks along with those for her customers. According to the BBC:

"She developed a fever and began struggling to breathe after being sent home by her father. 'I was drenched. I was burning up and hyperventilating. I was having palpitations, my heart was beating so fast and I thought I was going into shock.'"

In which case, it should be no surprise to learn that recently an otherwise healthy 28-year-old Australian man's heart stopped after he consumed eight Red Bulls in short order -- luckily, paramedics were able to get it going again, and he was okay. According to Energy Fiend's "death by caffeine" calculator, it should take about 80 double espressos or 153 cans of Red Bull to kill you -- pick your poison -- though that doesn't take into account factors such as lack of sleep (as in the espresso girl's case) or drinking on an empty stomach (as in Red Bull man's).

As for the above photo, I took this while on vacation in Maine, and I think it pretty much speaks for itself. (I wonder if "Shock Coffee" would've picked another name had they known in advance about people going into shock and cardiac arrest from caffeine.) Anyway, if coffee's not caffeinated enough for you -- and you're not a soldier on an 18-hour patrol in a war zone -- there's clearly something wrong! As for sleep being "overrated," I think it's quite the opposite.