Can You Get Addicted to Benadryl?

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl, also called diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine commonly taken to relieve symptoms of allergies, hay fever and the common cold. The symptoms it combats include skin rashes, watery or itchy eyes, itchy nose or throat, coughing and sneezing. It is also used to treat symptoms of motion sickness such as nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

The US Food and Drug Administration has warned about taking high doses of the drug, as heavy use could result in “serious heart problems, seizures, coma, or even death.” Fatal cases have been reported from those taking more than 20mg/kg. Increasingly, young adults are abusing Benadryl, becoming addicted and are faced with these risks along with mental instability and toxic psychosis.

Dangers of High Doses

 At high doses, users report troubling hallucinations and several have warned about the incidences of mental instability and psychosis caused by Benadryl.  In 2020 a “Benadryl Challenge” on TikTok started trending among teens and young adults to induce these hallucinations. What teens and young adults don’t consider is that the dose they’re taking to  are hallucinate could be life-threatening. Several have been hospitalized and a 15 year old Oklahoman teen who died from the challenge made headlines in 2020.

Yes, Benadryl Can Be Addictive

According to this literary article from the National Library of Medicine, abusers of antihistamines, particularly diphenhydramine, have been shown to exhibit withdrawal symptoms from the drug after heavy use.

There are several first-hand accounts of the drug’s addictiveness as well. One Redditor who tried the drug to combat depression and insomnia commented that they had developed a dependency on diphenhydramine, leading to a diagnosis of sedative dependency disorder.

Benadryl is not the only drug with harmful side effects and addictive properties. For this reason, it’s important to know about the medicines you’re taking, and the risks involved in seemingly harmless drugs.

Warning for Parents

For parents, it’s important to know how to properly store medicines to keep children safe. Check out the FDA’s guide “Think it Through: Managing the Benefits and Risks of Medicines” for more information on drug risk assessment and management.

If your young adult loved ones needs help, Contact Us at PACE Recovery Center to learn about our addiction and mental health programs for young adults.

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