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Is Benadryl Addictive? Signs & Symptoms Of Abuse

It is easy to assume that one cannot be addicted to an over-the-counter drug like Benadryl. Contrary to popular belief, Benadryl is, in fact, one of the most addictive drugs out there. Diphenhydramine, a major ingredient used to make Benadryl, is highly addictive. Although the drug is used to treat conditions like insomnia, nausea, the common cold, and tremors for Parkinson’s patients, if regularly ingested in liquid, tablet, or capsule form, it can become addictive.

Benadryl is commonly used in the treatment of allergies and itching. Benadryl works by preventing histamine from being produced by the body due to allergic reactions to medication or peanuts. Benadryl causes a sedative effect upon consumption, which is why most people struggling with insomnia turn to the drug as a sleep aid. Because the drug is easily accessible in pharmacies and grocery stores, it has become one of the most abused drugs over the years.

Benadryl Precautions

Benadryl addiction can go unnoticed for long periods since the symptoms may be similar to those of other conditions, such as psychosis. Most people turn to the drug to help them fall into a peaceful sleep. A full-blown addiction is present once the body gets accustomed to the drug, meaning a person constantly needs to use it to achieve the same results. When taken together with other drugs, such as antihistamines and anxiety medication, it may result in drowsiness and other unpleasant effects. When consumed by those advanced in age, Benadryl can cause dementia, confusion, hallucinations, and increased heart rate.

Unless a doctor gives permission, those with conditions like asthma, cardiovascular diseases, hyperthyroidism, kidney problems, liver disease, diabetes, and any other health issues should avoid using Benadryl at all costs. The transition to addiction may also be overlooked as many people believe the drug to be safe since it is readily available to anyone, including children under the age of 18.

Signs and Symptoms of Benadryl Addiction

Like most drugs, overdependence on Benadryl can interfere with brain functions. Long-term use results in psychological dependence on Benadryl, meaning the person consuming the drug cannot function normally without taking the substance. The body’s increased tolerance to the drug makes the body demand more than the initial dose, making a person take more of the substance to fall asleep. The user constantly feels the need to use Benadryl to feel euphoric and relaxed.

Exercising caution when consuming this popular over-the-counter drug is essential if you want to avoid the adverse side effects that come with addiction to Benadryl. It would be best to watch out for several warning signs to avoid becoming addicted to the drug. The major symptoms include:

  • The inability to fall asleep before consuming Benadryl
  • Anxiety and confusion when skipping a dose
  • Dependence on Benadryl to function normally
  • Body tolerance to Benadryl
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • An inability to cut down on Benadryl consumption
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate and to focus on simple tasks
  • Overall body weakness
  • Feeling the need to take Benadryl to achieve the high
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Nightmares
  • Low blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Shivering

Benadryl Addiction Side Effects

Despite having numerous benefits in the medical world, Benadryl has its share of negative side effects when abused. Some effects are short term whereas others can last a lifetime. A user can either encounter psychological effects, physical effects, or both.

Some of the physical effects to watch out for include:

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Memory impairment
  • Itchy skin
  • Restlessness
  • Angina or chest tightening
  • Poor coordination
  • Body weakness
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Increased heart rate

The psychological side effects of Benadryl addiction include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Nightmares
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Memory loss

Who Is Prone to a Benadryl Addiction?

Developing an addiction to Benadryl may be unintentional since it is used to treat various medical issues. Those taking the drug as a solution for insomnia can easily become addicted. Benadryl is prescribed for patients with Parkinson’s disease to help with tremors and muscle spasms, so they are also at risk of developing an addiction to the drug. Schizophrenic patients are prone to developing an addiction since Benadryl helps them manage the side effects of taking antipsychotic drugs. Those dealing with anxiety turn to Benadryl due to its ability to put them in a state of complete and utter relaxation though this reason for use often leads to addiction. Benadryl is very cheap and can be procured, even without a doctor’s prescription, making it prone to abuse.

Interaction of Benadryl With Other Drugs

Whether intentional or unintentional, pairing Benadryl with other drugs is a bad idea because it may lead to dangerous effects and can even cause loss of life. Most people pair the drug with muscle relaxants, alcohol, opiates, and benzodiazepines and experience effects like flushed skin, cramping, memory impairment, an irregular heartbeat, and constipation. Those intentionally mixing these drugs seek a euphoric high, but they could end up hooked on the drug.

The Aftermath of Benadryl Overdose

Consuming more than the recommended dose leads to overdose. An overdose manifests with adverse effects like dry eyes, ringing in the ears, enlarged pupils, blurred vision, restlessness, increased heart rate, seizures, confusion, mood swings, intense depression, paranoia, fainting, randomly falling asleep, red skin, tremors, throwing up, loss of balance, difficulty urinating, and drowsiness. In an attempt to get a euphoric high, many people accidentally overdose on Benadryl, which, contrary to expectations, brings about many uncomfortable effects.

When to Seek Benadryl Treatment

It is important to seek treatment for a Benadryl addiction before it interferes with your professional and personal life. The effects of a Benadryl addiction do not stop with the individual but spill over to family, friends, and work. Someone may find himself or herself in conflict with his or her loved ones. Because of the need to fund the habit, addicts may become deceitful and even steal. Over time, dependence on the drug affects an individual’s performance at work, causing him or her to lose a job. Addicts may also find themselves in a difficult financial situation resulting from the misuse of money to fund their addictions or because of job loss. Even completing simple everyday tasks becomes impossible once someone becomes dependent on Benadryl.

Losing sight of one’s career and life goals means it’s time to seek help before you spiral out of control. Once you lose touch with reality, close friendships, and relationships, bouncing back may take years, so it is important to address the issue before getting to this point. In extreme cases, this powerful antihistamine is known to interfere with the mental state of an individual. In children, Benadryl can have the opposite effect. Instead of inducing sleep, it can bring about psychosis, agitation, and hyperactivity.

Treatment Options for Benadryl Addiction

Depending on the severity of Benadryl addiction, a patient may either be checked in to a rehabilitation program or have to undergo detoxification. For patients with a mild addiction, taking fewer doses of the drug and taking it less frequently is one effective measure to curb addiction. Completely cutting a person off the drug at once may result in undesired withdrawal symptoms, which may, in turn, cause him or her to relapse.

Alternatively, Benadryl addicts can undergo therapy to help them overcome their addictions and to give them fresh starts. During treatment, patients under intense counseling attend meetings, group therapy, and support groups and participate in other health-focused activities to help them take charge of their individual lives.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Some of the withdrawal symptoms experienced by those trying to quit abusing Benadryl include:

  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness

Slowly tapering off Benadryl reduces the severity of these withdrawal symptoms.

Benadryl Addiction Treatment at Granite Recovery Centers

At Granite Recovery Center, we transform the lives of substance use disorders through our intense recovery programs. We have an intensive outpatient program, structured sober living programs, and residential addiction treatment centers to guide patients through recovery. Since addiction stems from underlying issues, like unhealthy coping skills or mental problems, those enrolled in our programs must undergo psychotherapy. Though we have a great detox program, most patients dealing with Benadryl abuse are not enrolled in the program unless the addiction is extreme or unless they mix Benadryl with drugs like methamphetamine or heroin. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency. To achieve long-term success, we offer counseling, among other therapeutic care plans, to patients dealing with Benadryl addiction. After undergoing residential treatment, patients receive follow-up care through our aftercare program and intensive outpatient program.

Residential Treatment Program for Benadryl Addiction

Without help from experienced professions, recovering from Benadryl addiction can be challenging. This is why Granite Recovery Center offers a residential treatment program aimed at successfully liberating individuals from Benadryl abuse. Those enrolled in the program undergo individual counseling and intense all-day therapy sessions. Granite has different types of therapy programs, like group therapy, yoga, and Gestalt therapy, which are all aimed at helping individuals become healthy both in mind and body. These programs also help individuals to uncover the actual causes of their addictions to address the problems from the roots. Granite’s residential treatment program is highly recommended for those with a severe case of Benadryl addiction.

Dealing With Benadryl Addiction Using Granite’s 12-Step Integrated Approach Program

After treatment, relapsing is easy, but through the 12-step program, patients can maintain their sobrieties. The 12-step program has successfully been used, together with other therapies, to help Benadryl addicts get over their addictions. By combining different therapy methods with each step, patients can analyze and process different emotions properly with a well-trained professional. The idea behind two integrative treatment methods is to ensure that the patient undergoing psychotherapy understands the 12-steps to increase the two interventions’ effectiveness since it focuses on change strategies that go hand in hand with physiotherapy’s cognitive behavioral models.

The Intensive Outpatient Program for Benadryl Addiction

Unlike our residential treatment program, those who enroll in the intensive outpatient program live at their individual residences but attend therapy sessions at our facility in New Hampshire. This program is for those addicts fresh out of the residential treatment program to provide them with the professional help they need to prevent a relapse. With the outpatient program, Granite Recovery Center incorporates various types of methods like depression treatment, behavioral therapy, group therapy, individual therapy, Yoga therapy, and Gestalt therapy to help individuals come to terms with, and to get over, their Benadryl addictions. The advantage of utilizing Granite’s outpatient program is you get to have some level of independence while still reaping the benefits of having professionals guide you in your recovery journey.

The Aftercare Program for Benadryl Addiction

To achieve long-term sobriety, enrolling in Granite’s aftercare program is vital. Without proper guidance, the transition from being an addict to facing life as a sober individual can be challenging. Granite professionals utilize an effective approach to treatment that focuses on three phases. Phase 1 focuses on learning the 12 steps and developing an effective plan for your daily life. Phase 2 emphasizes instilling essential skills, such as money and time management, accountability, and employment guidance, to help individuals live their lives with more ambition. Phase 3 works towards getting the reformed individuals to participate in activities aimed at ensuring personal growth and development, like employment, mentorship, and ensuring they attend peer meetings.

Get Professional Treatment From Granite Recovery Center

Though Benadryl addiction may start with a person innocently seeking a solution to an allergic reaction, it may quickly spiral out of control, and before he or she realizes it, he or she is a full-blown addict. Because Benadryl is readily available, many people accidentally become addicted to it. However, they may first live in denial because it may be hard to imagine that an addiction to Benadryl is possible. Denial keeps addicts stuck in an abuse cycle, which prevents them from getting the help they need. Once you realize you have an unusual dependence on the drug, seeking professional help should be a priority as ignorance may eventually cost you more. You can put an end to the addiction cycle by reaching out to Granite Recovery Center.