Alcohol and Benadryl

Alcohol and Benadryl

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. 

It’s easy to find, affordable, and works to relieve common allergy and cold symptoms quickly. But before you reach for a bottle at the end of the night, it’s important to ask: can you take Benadryl with alcohol? 

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. 

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. 

Benadryl also makes you drowsy, which is why it doubles as a sleep aid. It may seem like this overlap is a good thing, but it is actually one of the qualities that makes the combination dangerous. Mixing antihistamines and alcohol can become a threat to your health. 

Benadryl and Alcohol Interactions 

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. 

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 vaguer. 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. 

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. 

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 

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. 

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 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. 

Rediscovering Your Life at The Discovery House 

From evaluation through aftercare, we will offer you the care, support, and guidance you need to recover. Call us today at 818-452-1676 to get started. It’s time to rediscover your life at The Discovery House. 

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