As a result of the opioid crisis in Delaware and other areas of the United States, rates of opioid abuse and overdoses have skyrocketed, but prescription drug abuse isn’t the only problem.
Many people have begun to abuse over-the-counter medications in an attempt to experience a high and other symptoms like hallucinations. One particular medication, diphenhydramine, has kicked up quite a storm. It has become one of the most commonly abused over-the-counter medications in the world. But the question is: can you get addicted to diphenhydramine? Our Delaware drug and alcohol treatment center has your answers.
What Is Diphenhydramine?
Diphenhydramine is the main ingredient in Benadryl, which is an antihistamine that is used to treat pain and itching caused by insect bites, cuts, poison ivy, and poison oak. It can also treat symptoms of hay fever, allergies, and cold symptoms. Diphenhydramine works by targeting histamine H1 receptors, reducing allergy symptoms (hence the term “antihistamine”). Histamine is a chemical in the body that protects the immune system from allergens. An allergic reaction occurs when the body releases a large number of histamines. Half the amount of diphenhydramine drains from the body between 6 to 12 hours while the rest can stay in your system for up to two days. In addition to alleviating allergy symptoms, it’s also known for causing elevated energy and mild euphoria in its users. As a result, many people have begun abusing diphenhydramine. Because it’s an over-the-counter medication, almost anyone is able to purchase it. While some states make it illegal for people under the age of 18 to purchase Benadryl and other over-the-counter medications containing diphenhydramine, cases of abuse and even addiction have been reported.
Diphenhydramine addiction withdrawal is a real danger. A person who attempts to suddenly quit taking diphenhydramine after they’ve become addicted may suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms. At Banyan Treatment Centers Delaware, we offer a medical detox that can help a person with a diphenhydramine addiction wean off this drug and treat their withdrawal symptoms.
Diphenhydramine Addiction Symptoms
Even though many people believe over-the-counter medications aren’t addictive, you can become addicted to diphenhydramine. In fact, diphenhydramine addiction has become a growing concern. While there isn’t as much research on diphenhydramine addiction as there is on cocaine or meth dependency, it’s still a real problem. Much of the confusion behind diphenhydramine abuse is that people believe it’s safe because they can just go to the store and buy it on their own; however, diphenhydramine addiction has become a problem for many people who have relied on Benadryl for sleep or to treat their allergy symptoms.
Like any other dependency, diphenhydramine dependency occurs when the person is psychologically dependent on it. The person cannot function or carry out their day without using diphenhydramine. This often begins with regular use of normal doses. Especially for those who use Benadryl to sleep, they may develop a tolerance to their usual dose and may require more of it to experience the same effects. Over time, this pattern of behavior becomes diphenhydramine abuse, which leads to addiction.
Because so many people have Benadryl in their medicine cabinets, it’s important to know what the symptoms of diphenhydramine abuse are, including:
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Dry mouth, which can cause dental issues
- Vision problems
- Impaired memory
- Ringing or buzzing in the ears
- Difficulties urinating
- Liver damage
Without addiction treatment, diphenhydramine addiction can land you in the hospital. If you or someone you know takes diphenhydramine and has these symptoms, get help right away.