Alcohol and Benadryl: The Dangers and Side Effects of Mixing Both
Alcohol and Benadryl

Alcohol and Benadryl

Do you know what happens when you drink alcohol and take Benadryl?

Many people don’t realize that these two substances can interact dangerously.

In this blog post, we will discuss the dangers of mixing alcohol and Benadryl.

We will also provide information on how to avoid these dangerous interactions and keep yourself safe.

Table of Contents

What is Benadryl? 

Benadryl, the brand name for diphenhydramine, is an over-the-counter antihistamine. It can help relieve the most common allergy symptoms, including itchy and watery eyes, itchy sinuses, runny noses, coughs, and sneezing. 

It works by blocking your body’s response to common allergens. This reduces or eliminates many of the symptoms above, as well as rashes and irritated eyes, throats, and noses. Many people rely on Benadryl to get them through allergy season each year. 

Other common uses for Benadryl are:

– To relieve seasonal allergies

– To reduce swelling from insect bites or stings

– As a sleep aid

– To relieve motion sickness

– To relieve nausea


Benadryl as a sleep aid

Benadryl is a popular sleeping aid, but many people are unaware of the drug’s side effects. According to study, antihistamines have unwanted side effects that include drowsiness, urinary retention, and dry mouth.

Antihistamines, such as Benadryl, may help you fall asleep but don’t always result in good sleep. People who take antihistamines may wake up feeling groggy and unrefreshed.

Instead of using Benadryl as a sleep aid, its best to seek a physician or sleep disorder specialist ‘s help. They can diagnose and treat the underlying cause of sleep problems.

Different Forms of Benadryl

Like many of the most common allergy medicines, Benadryl comes in several different forms. The most common are the tablets, liquid gel tabs, chewable tablets, and a liquid solution. But you can also find Benadryl that comes in a cream, gel, stick, or spray. 

Each of these forms of Benadryl should be taken only for its intended use – relief from allergies or the common cold and subsequent difficulty sleeping. 

different forms of benadryl

Why are there different Forms of Benadryl?

The different forms of Benadryl are designed to offer relief in different ways. For instance, the gel and spray forms are meant to be applied directly to the skin for fast relief from hives or other allergic reactions. The cream form is also applied to the skin but is meant to soothe and relieve itchiness. And the liquid solution form is designed to be taken by mouth. 

Can You Mix Benadryl and Alcohol? 

Benadryl is a seemingly harmless over-the-counter medication. Most people wouldn’t even think twice about mixing Benadryl and beer, wine, or another drink. Once those pesky allergy symptoms have started to fade, you may not even remember that you took a dose of Benadryl. 

So, what could be the harm in having a drink or two now? Unfortunately, most medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription, shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol.

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. This means that it will make you tired. In addition, Benadryl also makes you drowsy. Therefore making this combination dangerous if mixed.

mixing benadryl and alcohol

What Damage Can Alcohol and Benadryl Cause If Taken Together?

Alcohol is known to cause liver damage. When alcohol and Benadryl are taken together, it can put extra stress on the liver which can lead to more damage. Additionally, alcohol and Benadryl both cause drowsiness and impair your ability to think clearly. This combination can make it difficult to walk or drive safely. 

It’s also important to remember that alcohol is a diuretic. This means that it causes you to urinate more frequently. When combined with Benadryl, which is also a diuretic, you may find yourself going to the bathroom more often than usual.

But what if I only drink a little alcohol?

Even if you don’t drink very much alcohol, it’s still not a good idea to mix alcohol and Benadryl. A small amount of alcohol can make the side effects of Benadryl worse. For instance, you may find yourself feeling dizzy or extremely tired. You may also have trouble thinking clearly or remember what happened while you were under the influence of alcohol and Benadryl.

In short, it’s best to avoid mixing alcohol and Benadryl altogether. If you’re taking Benadryl for allergies or a cold, be sure to follow the directions on the package. And if you do drink alcohol, be sure to wait at least 24 hours before taking any more doses of Benadryl. Doing so will help reduce your risk of experiencing dangerous side effects.

Benadryl and Alcohol Interactions

Since both substances are central nervous system depressants, drinking while on Benadryl can cause some troubling side effects. Mixing Benadryl and alcohol can depress your central nervous system far beyond what is necessary to get to sleep. 

Decreased heart rate, slowed breathing, and unconsciousness are all possible consequences of mixing allergy medicine and alcohol. In rare cases, it has led others into a coma. Drugs that slow down breathing rates, including alcohol and antihistamines, should not be taken together because it increases the risk of life-threatening respiratory depression. 

How Can Alcohol and Benadryl Affect Respiratory Depression?

The alcohol-Benadryl interaction can result in a condition called respiratory depression. This is when your breathing becomes very slow and shallow. In some cases, it can even stop completely. When this happens, not enough oxygen gets to your brain and other vital organs. 

Respiratory depression is a serious medical emergency that can be life-threatening. If you or someone you know has been drinking alcohol and taking Benadryl, seek medical help right away.

What Are the Signs of Respiratory Depression?

Some of the signs that you may be experiencing respiratory depression include:

-Slow or shallow breathing

-Bluish skin color

-Extreme drowsiness


-Difficulty staying awake

-Loss of consciousness

respiratory depression

What Are The Side Effects of Mixing Allergy Medicine and Alcohol?

Another common concern when it comes to mixing Benadryl and alcohol is the risk of personal injury. Beyond the more straightforward health risks, this category is a bit more vague. Someone under the influence of alcohol and Benadryl could get hurt in a variety of ways. 

Someone with a slowed central nervous system will be more prone to become unconscious at an inappropriate time, suffer impaired judgment, or behave uncharacteristically. This might cause an injury due to a fall, a car crash, or an overdose. 

Mixing allergy medicine and alcohol can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and an increased risk for overdose. Benadryl and alcohol can also cause:

  • Sedation 
  • Dehydration
  • Memory impairments 
  • Confusion 
  • Coordination issues 

The type and severity of side effects that you experience may vary depending on how much alcohol you drank, how much Benadryl you took, other substances in your body, and your overall health.  

Benadryl and Alcohol Overdose 

Despite both substances being common, normalized, and readily available, you can overdose on Benadryl and alcohol. While Benadryl itself is considered relatively safe, it should not be mixed with alcohol. 

This can lead to alcohol poisoning, abnormal heartbeats, hallucinations, and seizures, among other side effects. Overdoses involving two different central nervous system depressants can be fatal. Mixing Benadryl and alcohol is not worth the risk. 

If you or your loved one is mixing Benadryl and alcohol to intensify its effects, it can cause serious harm to your body or the people around you. Mixing different type of drugs together is always a risky proposition. Polydrug abuse is a dangerous game that can have deadly consequences.

What is Polydrug Abuse? 

Misusing multiple substances at once is called polydrug abuse. Benadryl and alcohol would be one example of this. It may be tempting to follow one of these substances with the other. Initially, doing so amplifies the effects. 

Usually, people who mix Benadryl and alcohol do so to get some sleep. But this type of polydrug abuse can be dangerous and have long-term consequences. If you are suffering from polydrug abuse, we can help. 

When you mix substances that shouldn’t be mixed, it can affect your body and brain in confusing and overwhelming ways. But you don’t have to face your polydrug abuse alone. Our co-occurring disorder treatments are specialized to help individuals battling more than one disorder at once. 

Treating the underlying cause of drug and alcohol abuse is essential to overcoming addiction. It is best to find a drug and alcohol treatment center that combines both treatment for co-occuring disorders and rehab. This way, you can get the help you need in one place.

Benadryl and Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms 

Benadryl, when taken at the usual rate and recommended doses, is concerned nonaddictive. But when you take it more frequently than recommended, in higher doses, regularly for a long time, or alongside other substances, that may not be the case anymore. 

Many people are surprised to find that you can experience withdrawal symptoms after you stop taking Benadryl when you’ve misused it for a while. While healthy use of Benadryl can help you sleep, withdrawing from it can cause insomnia. 

It can also make you irritable. And withdrawing from alcohol can bring on its own unique set of problems and side effects. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe or even life-threatening. On the milder side, we see symptoms like mild anxiety and nausea. 

On the more severe side, seizures and organic damage are possibilities, as well as other potentially life-threatening health concerns. Withdrawing from alcohol and other substances can be tricky. It can be mildly uncomfortable, painful, or even dangerous. 

This is one reason why a professional detox is typically recommended over cold turkey quitting at home. A monitored detox in the safety and comfort of our facility is where most of our treatment programs start. 

Benadryl and Alcohol Treatment 

Everyone is different. But most entering addiction treatments will start with a detox. In some cases, they may be medically assisted to help ease withdrawal symptoms and manage potential health concerns. 

Resources like blogs contain information on alcohol abuse and how you or your loved one can learn more about alcohol treatment.

In others, the traditional style of social detox is enough. Detoxing in an addiction treatment center instead of at home gives you 24-hour access to the care, support, and guidance of a dedicated medical team. 

It allows them to monitor your progress, guide you through the stage of early sobriety, ensure that you stay properly hydrated, and help you decide where to go next. Those with moderate to severe addictions or other complications may choose to stay for a while. 

Others with milder addictions, support at home, or family obligations to return to may choose an outpatient program instead. We offer personalized detoxes, co-occurring treatments, family programs, inpatient and residential programs, and intensive outpatient programs

Outpatient alcohol treatment programs and aftercare provide continued support for as long as you need it. Whether you start with a full-time program or a part-time one, we will help you build a better life. It’s time to make a change. 


Mixing alcohol and Benadryl is not generally recommended. Not only can it make you feel awful, but it can also be dangerous. The side effects of alcohol and Benadryl can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, they can be life-threatening. It is not reccommended to mix both alcohol and Benadryl.

If you or your loved one is mixing both drugs intentionally, please seek professional help as soon as possible. There are many addiction treatment centers that can help the person on the road to recovery.

Rediscovering Your Life at The Discovery House 

From evaluation through aftercare, we will offer you the care, support, and guidance you need to recover. It’s time to rediscover your life at The Discovery House