Benadryl For Anxiety? Benadryl For Anxiety?

Benadryl For Anxiety: What You Need To Know


Almost everyone has heard of Benadryl. It is often used as an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine to treat allergies. Its sedative properties can also make you sleepy.

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 treatment options that may be less harmful and more effective in the long run.


What Is Benadryl?

An antihistamine called diphenhydramine is sold under the name Benadryl.


The most common allergy symptoms that Benadryl treats are:


  • Itchy eyes

  • Runny nose

  • Sneezing

  • Itchy nose and throat


Also, it can reduce nasal congestion associated with the common cold.


Benadryl Risk Factors

There are a few health conditions you should avoid taking Benadryl if you have, including:


  • Trouble urinating

  • Breathing problems

  • Glaucoma


You also shouldn’t use Benadryl:


  • Children's sleep aid

  • In combination with other diphenhydramine-containing products

Benadryl has many different reactions, 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.


Does Benadryl Help Anxiety?


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.


Benadryl And Sleep

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 the body produces. 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.


Recommended Dosage

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.

Side Effects

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:


  • Sleepiness

  • Dry mouth

  • Constipation

  • Grogginess


Risks And Warnings

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:


  • Confusion

  • Agitation

  • Seizures

  • Hallucinations

  • Delirium

  • Heart problems


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:


  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec

  • Trazodone

  • Lisinopril (Zestril)

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)

  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)

  • Melatonin

  • Tramadol (Ultram)


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.


Anxiety Treatment Options

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:


  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): Depression and anxiety are often treated with these medications. Some SSRIs include Prozac (fluoxetine), Celexa (citalopram), and Zoloft (sertraline).

  • Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): Sufferers of depression, anxiety, OCD, and other mood disorders might benefit from these drugs. This includes such medications as desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and levomilnacipran (Fetzima).

  • Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are sedative drugs that treat anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. A few examples are alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), and diazepam (Valium). Long-term use of benzodiazepines is generally not recommended due to their serious side effects and habit-forming potential.

  • Antipsychotics: Neuroleptics are used to treat schizophrenia, psychosis, and anxiety. Asenapine (Saphris), cariprazine (Vraylar), and aripiprazole (Abilify) are antipsychotics.Asenapine (Saphris), cariprazine (Vraylar), and aripiprazole (Abilify) are antipsychotics.


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.


Seeking Help For Anxiety

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.


Frequently Asked Questions


Is Benadryl Good For 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.


What Kind Of Benadryl Helps With Anxiety?

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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