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The Truth About Benadryl Addiction

benadryl addiction

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications are widely used to treat various illnesses and health conditions. They can be incredibly helpful in providing relief from common ailments, such as headaches, allergies, and colds. However, OTC medications also have the potential for abuse and addiction if they are taken improperly or in large doses.

One of these drugs is Benadryl, an antihistamine commonly used to treat allergies. As useful and widespread as this drug is, it has been known to cause physical dependence when abused. In this article, we will discuss what Benadryl is, how it's used, the signs of addiction associated with its abuse, and how you can get help for yourself or a loved one who may be struggling with an addiction to this medication.

What Is Benadryl?

Benadryl is the brand name for an antihistamine drug called diphenhydramine, which is primarily used to treat allergies and colds. This medication works by blocking histamines from attaching to cells, which then reduces symptoms such as itching, sneezing, inflammation, and watery eyes. Benadryl can also be used to help with insomnia or difficulty falling asleep due to its sedative effect.

Because Benadryl is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, it is easily accessible and can be purchased without a prescription. However, doctors may sometimes recommend Benadryl to patients. It is available in a variety of forms, such as tablets, capsules, nasal sprays, and syrups.

Benadryl Addiction

Benadryl is one of the most commonly used medications in the United States, so it may be surprising to discover that this drug has a dangerous side. Although it has many medicinal benefits, Benadryl can lead to physical dependence or addiction if used inappropriately.

For instance, over-the-counter medications like Benadryl are sometimes taken recreationally for their sedative effect. In large enough amounts, Benadryl may contribute to an altered state of consciousness. To achieve this, users will take larger doses than what is recommended on the label. However, this type of abuse can lead to serious side effects and even death if the person takes too much.

Over time, the body may also become accustomed to having Benadryl in its system and become addicted to its presence. In this case, a person may start feeling withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to stop taking the drug, indicating that they have developed a physical dependence.

How Common Is Benadryl Abuse?

It’s hard to identify exactly how many people are abusing this medication, as it is not routinely tested for on drug tests. But while it is difficult to measure, research suggests that Benadryl addiction is more common among younger adults and teens. Unfortunately, this age group may be more likely to misuse this drug because of its availability, relatively low cost, and widespread familiarity.

Side Effects of Benadryl Abuse

When someone abuses Benadryl in large doses, they may experience a range of unpleasant side effects such as:

  • confusion
  • dizziness or impaired coordination
  • blurred vision
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • difficulty breathing

Long-term abuse can also lead to more serious issues like depression, paranoia, and even death. As such, it is important to be aware of the side effects and signs of Benadryl abuse and seek professional help if you or a loved one is overusing this drug.

Signs of Benadryl Addiction

When a person is addicted to Benadryl, they will often display physical or behavioral signs of their dependence. These can include:

  • increased tolerance to the medication
  • withdrawal symptoms when not taking Benadryl
  • compulsive use of the drug despite negative consequences in their social life or at work
  • interference with daily activities due to their excessive Benadryl use
  • an inability or unwillingness to stop using the substance

If someone you know is displaying these signs of Benadryl abuse, it is important to seek help for them as soon as possible.

Does Benadryl Addiction Show Up on Drug Tests?

Benadryl abuse does not usually show up on standard drug tests because it is not considered a controlled substance. However, there are specialized tests available that can detect Benadryl in one's system. These tests may be requested by an employer or doctor if there is suspicion of abuse.

How to Get Help for Benadryl Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with Benadryl addiction, it's important to seek help right away. Addiction can be a dangerous and potentially fatal situation. Treatment options include therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and support groups.

  • Substance abuse therapy: This type of therapy can help an individual identify triggers, understand the psychological and physical aspects of their addiction, address underlying issues that may be contributing to their use, and develop coping strategies to help them stay sober.
  • Medication-assisted treatment: Sometimes, other medications can be used to help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings for people struggling with substance abuse. Ask your doctor or rehabilitation staff whether this is an option in your case.
  • Support groups: Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous provide individuals in recovery with a supportive community of peers who share similar experiences and can offer advice, guidance, and encouragement.

Stay Informed with Countrywide Testing

It’s important to stay educated on how drugs like Benadryl are used, abused, and detected so that you can make informed decisions about your health and that of your loved ones. When you have questions about OTC drugs, substance misuse, and addiction, Countrywide Testing has the answers you need.

An online retailer of reliable, on-site drug testing kits, Countrywide offers an array of products for workplace testing, healthcare emergencies, law enforcement purposes, and individuals trying to stay clean after rehab. Our test kits are convenient, affordable, and ship to you quickly. Plus, our lab is accredited by SAMHSA, so you can rest assured your test results are handled in accordance with the highest industry standards.

Even over-the-counter medications can carry risks, but with professionals in your corner, you can tackle addiction and follow best practices for a clean lifestyle. Want more information on how Countrywide can support drug and medication safety? Just contact our team today.