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Benadryl is a brand name FDA approved over-the-counter medication. Benadryl’s active ingredient is diphenhydramine, which is classified as an antihistamine. The intended use of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is in the alleviation of symptoms related to allergies and the common cold, including:
When an individual experiences an allergic reaction or a common cold, the body releases the compounds Histamine and Acetylcholine into the body. When these two compounds successfully bind with receptors, the symptoms listed above can occur in response. Diphenhydramine works as a Anticholinergics by blocking receptors for histamine and acetylcholine, which can eliminate or decrease symptoms associated with allergies or a cold.
A side effect is a reaction to a medication that is not intended and is generally seen as undesirable. As with many medications, Benadryl can produce unwanted side effects. When taken in the correct dose, side effects from Benadryl are typically mild to moderate.
Common side effects of Benadryl:
Less common side effects of Benadryl:
Benadryl taken at high doses beyond the recommended amount can cause changes in perception such as hallucination, changes in vision, and mood. These effects can be sought after as a “high,” which can lead to abuse of the medication. When an individual takes high doses of Benadryl frequently, there is a risk for diphenhydramine addiction. To have significant impairment or distress to a substance, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual used by medical professionals looks at tolerance, withdrawal, increased use, loss of control, and functioning decline.
Additionally, due to Benadryl’s sedating side effect, research conducted in the United States is showing increased use of antihistamines as sleep aids. Although Benadryl has not been shown to be physically addictive, its use can become psychologically addictive. Individuals who rely on Benadryl for sleep have been shown to get less restful sleep.
An overdose is a serious medical condition that occurs when an individual receives too much of a substance. Overdoses can be fatal if immediate medical attention is not sought. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) can lead to an overdose when taken in large amounts. Symptoms of Benadryl overdose include the following:
If you believe you are experiencing or witnessing an overdose, visit your local emergency room or contact your local poison control center.
Benadryl and other antihistamine products are not safe or effective in children younger than six years. Therefore, the use of the medication should only be done with a prescription from a licensed medical provider. When storing antihistamines, it is important to keep them out of the reach of children.
Symptoms of antihistamine overdose in toddlers include the following:
If you believe your child is experiencing a drug overdose, visit your local emergency room or contact your local poison control center.
The first step to all addiction recovery is to recognize there is a problem and evaluate what resources and supports are needed to overcome it. Often a good first step is to talk to your primary health care provider about your concerns and explore what level of care is right.
When a substance is taken for long enough at a high enough dosage, quickly stopping use without medical and emotional support can be dangerous. Detoxification/rehabilitation sites can assist you at safely withdrawing from Benadryl.
Individual counseling is a meeting between yourself and a licensed mental health therapist. These meetings are used to assist you in understanding triggers for substance use, exploring strategies to decrease or stop substance abuse, and identify strengths you can use moving forward.
Group therapy is a form of treatment in which a group of individuals with a common issue, such as substance abuse, meet regularly under the guidance of a trained facilitator. Group therapy can assist the individual in finding support, discussing issues in a less judgemental space, and gaining insight from other members.
Peer support groups such as NA are meetings led by community members that encourage honest introspection.
There are now several medications on the market particularly designed to assist with substance abuse and dependence. Some work as Agonist treatment blocking the receptors in the brain that would allow for a high. Other medications may assist in treating other psychological disorders exacerbating addition such as depression or anxiety. These medications are only FDA approved for alcohol and opioid use disorders.
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Trouble Sleeping? Experts Say Skip Antihistamines. www.bcm.edu/news/experts-warn-against-antihistmaines-sleep-aid.