Many people mistakenly believe that over-the-counter medications are harmless substances that pose no risk of abuse or addiction. This is simply not true. The misuse of medications such as Benadryl can lead to an array of negative outcomes, including the development of an addiction and the onset of painful Benadryl withdrawal symptoms.
What Is Benadryl?
Benadryl is the brand name of an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that is commonly used to treat symptoms of hay fever and other allergies. It may also be used to alleviate pain that results from minor burns, insect bites, and poison ivy or poison oak.
The active ingredient in Benadryl is diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine. Diphenhydramine and other antihistamines can relieve itchiness, sneezing, runny nose, red and watery eyes, and minor throat irritations.
Benadryl may be used in tablet, capsule, liquid, spray, or gel form. Depending on the symptoms it is being used to treat, it may be taken by mouth or applied topically to the skin.
Dangers of Benadryl Abuse
The side effects of oral Benadryl use can include sedation and a sense of disorientation. Unfortunately, these effects can be enticing to people who are seeking a certain recreational high.
For adolescents, who may find it more difficult to acquire alcohol or other mind-altering substances, the availability of Benadryl may make it a particularly popular option. This problem gained national attention in 2020, when a TikTok trend called “The Benadryl Challenge” encouraged young people to take dangerously large doses of the medication.
Virtually any medication can be harmful when used improperly. In the case of Benadryl, abuse has been associated with the following dangers:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Abnormal heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Problems with urination
- Loss of consciousness
- Development of addiction
Benadryl Withdrawal Symptoms
Withdrawal is one of the classic signs of addiction. When you become addicted to a substance, attempting to quit can trigger the onset of a variety of distressing physical and/or psychological symptoms.
Benadryl withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Agitation and irritability
- Excessive perspiration
- Tachycardia (racing heart rate)
- Tics and tremors
- Abdominal cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
The intensity of Benadryl withdrawal symptoms can quickly become overwhelming. If you try to end your Benadryl abuse on your own, and you know that you can relieve your distress by abusing the medication again, your efforts to free yourself from compulsive Benadryl use may be short-lived.
However, when you get help from a reputable addiction treatment center, you can receive professional support to help you manage your Benadryl withdrawal symptoms. Once you have completed withdrawal, you can begin to develop the skills and strategies that will empower you to resist future urges to abuse this drug, so that you can live a much healthier life.
Treatment Options for Benadryl Addiction
Treatment for an addiction to Benadryl may involve a variety of therapies. There is no single ideal form of treatment that works for everyone. What’s most important is finding a provider whose services align with your needs, goals, and preferences.
As you work to overcome your Benadryl withdrawal symptoms and achieve long-term recovery, you may benefit from the following outpatient treatment options:
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP): In a PHP, you will participate in full days of treatment, five days per week. But you will need to be at the facility only while treatment is in session. In the evenings and on the weekends, you can return to your home or to a sober living residence.
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP): The IOP level offers a bit more flexibility. You may take part in treatment a few hours a day, two to four days each week. This gives you the time to work part time, take classes, and otherwise engage in a healthy independent lifestyle, while still retaining a structured connection to clinical care and support.
- Outpatient rehab: Outpatient rehab provides the greatest amount of scheduling flexibility. You may schedule sessions with a counselor on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis – or at whatever other frequency works best for you. After you have gotten over your Benadryl withdrawal symptoms and completed a PHP or an IOP, outpatient rehab can be an excellent source of ongoing support as you progress in your recovery.
Depending on factors such as the nature of your Benadryl withdrawal symptoms, if you have any co-occurring mental health concerns, and what level of care you are in, your treatment may include elements such as the following:
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Holistic therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Red light therapy
- Trauma therapy
Begin Treatment for Benadryl Addiction in Atlanta, GA
If you have become addicted to Benadryl or any other over-the-counter or prescription medication, Peachtree Recovery Solutions is here to help. Our addiction treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia, is a trusted source of quality outpatient care and comprehensive personal support.
When you choose Peachtree Recovery Solutions, you will have the opportunity to work in close collaboration with a team of skilled and experienced professionals. The members of your treatment team will take the time to get to know you as a unique individual, so that we can be sure we are providing you with the focused care that best meets your specific needs. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our admissions page or call us today.