Almost everyone has heard of Benadryl. It is often used as an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine in treating allergies. It can also make you sleepy because of its sedative properties.
As a result, some people use it to treat anxiety symptoms on a short-term basis.
This article aims to give you insight into what Benadryl is, how it may help anxiety, its side effects and risks, and other anxiety treatment options that may be less harmful and more effective in the long run.
An antihistamine called diphenhydramine is sold under the name Benadryl.
The most common allergy symptoms that Benadryl treats are:
Also, it can reduce nasal congestion associated with the common cold.
There are a few health conditions you should avoid taking Benadryl if you have, including:
You also shouldn’t use Benadryl:
There are many different reactions to Benadryl, but most people feel drowsy after taking it.
Take Benadryl at least two hours before driving, drinking alcohol, or taking any other sedative or sleeping pill.
It should not be taken for anxiety unless your healthcare provider recommends it. Hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril) is the only antihistamine approved for anxiety. Alternatives to benzodiazepines can be effective for some people. Benzodiazepines to treat anxiety may be beneficial, but they are often addictive and have significant side effects.
Several studies have shown that hydroxyzine can treat anxiety symptoms, insomnia, and panic attacks. Its few side effects make it safe for children and pregnant women.
In contrast, Benadryl has not undergone extensive research and is considered less effective than other antianxiety medications in treating anxiety.
The effect of antihistamines like Benadryl is to block the release of histamine in the brain and the excess production of histamine. Your sleep and wake cycles are affected by histamines, a natural chemical produced by the body. The histamine levels in your brain naturally decrease before you go to sleep. The brain perceives sleep as a result of antihistamines blocking histamine production. Benadryl is sometimes taken as a sleep aid by some people.
Due to the lack of testing and approval, medical providers do not recommend this as a sleep aid.
The recommended dose for Benadryl does not apply to anxiety since it isn't recommended for this purpose.
For anyone 12 and older with hay fever or allergies, Benadryl is typically taken every 4–6 hours at a dosage of 25 or 50 milligrams (mg).
A 12.5 or 25 mg dosage every 4–6 hours is recommended for children aged 6–11. Benadryl should only be given to children under six if their pediatrician recommends it.
You may also feel groggy and drowsy after taking Benadryl, and you may not fall asleep faster.
There are generally no side effects associated with most antihistamines, including Benadryl. Over time, you can develop a tolerance for them since they don't have many significant side effects.
Some common side effects of Benadryl include:
Despite its general safety, Benadryl comes with some warnings.
Overdosing on Benadryl can be dangerous.
There are a variety of potentially life-threatening symptoms that may result:
In very severe cases, it is possible to go into a coma and die from a Benadryl overdose. Be sure to seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you love has overdosed on Benadryl.
If you are unconscious, experiencing a seizure, or having difficulty breathing, contact the poison control helpline at 800-222-1222.
There are some medications and substances that can interact with Benadryl. Alcohol is one of the most common interactions. The sedation effect of Benadryl can be exacerbated by alcohol consumption, resulting in dizziness, drowsiness, and sluggishness.
Some medications can interact with Benadryl, such as:
Benadryl should not be taken with any of these medications.
Be sure to contact your healthcare provider if you're not sure whether your medication interacts with Benadryl.
Your doctor can help you create a treatment plan if you suffer from anxiety, which typically combines medication and talks therapy.
Anxiety can be treated with the following medications:
In addition to psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) may be recommended by your provider. When you are experiencing anxiety symptoms, therapy can help you work through and manage them.
Talk to your doctor if your anxiety is affecting your life.
You can get a diagnosis from them and recommendations for treatments that can help you manage your anxiety.
If you are experiencing anxiety, consult your healthcare provider before taking Benadryl. Benadryl is not approved or tested to treat anxiety, although some say it helps them. Anxiety symptoms can also be effectively treated with other medications, such as SSRIs and SNRIs.
Diphenhydramine is commonly known as Benadryl. Symptoms of allergies, hay fever, and colds can be treated with diphenhydramine. There is no approval for any of them to treat anxiety.
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