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Can You Mix Benadryl and Alcohol?

Can You Mix Benadryl and Alcohol?

Dealing with a stuffy nose, uncontrollable sneezing, and red, itchy eyes can be frustrating.

The moment the season changes or the rain is kicked up a notch, your allergies may flare up. Thankfully, there is a range of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs like Benadryl that can bring you the one thing you want: relief. Unfortunately, our Banyan rehab in Gilman is aware that people underestimate the dangers of Benadryl and often combine it with other substances, both accidentally and purposely. Alcohol is a particularly common substance that people often mix Benadryl with. But can you mix Benadryl and alcohol? What happens if you do?

What Is Benadryl?

Benadryl is the brand name for an antihistamine called diphenhydramine. An antihistamine is a drug that blocks the reaction of a compound called histamine that the body naturally produces when exposed to allergens. The immune system responds to allergens with histamine, which is the reason behind why you get a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, rash, and other symptoms when you come across something you’re allergic to. Antihistamines like Benadryl block the body’s responses to allergens, alleviating symptoms.

Benadryl is an over-the-counter drug, meaning you can purchase it in most drug stores without a prescription. Because of its easy accessibility, many people believe that it’s entirely harmless; however, Benadryl is a strong drug that has contributed to an alarming rate of overdoses in young teens and adults in recent years. This drug can produce adverse side effects when taken in high doses or mixed with other substances.

Some common side effects of Benadryl include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pains
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth, nose, or throat
  • Lack of coordination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulties urinating

What Happens if You Mix Benadryl and Alcohol?

So, can you mix Benadryl and alcohol? The answer is a resounding no. "When you take Benadryl and drink alcohol, there are immediate and potentially severe effects to consider. Although Benadryl doesn’t cause liver damage as alcohol does, both substances are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. This means their combined impact can produce heightened side effects. CNS depressants work by depressing or relaxing the central nervous system, causing functions such as breathing to slow down. When you combine Benadryl with alcohol, the immediate side effects can include drowsiness and sedation, problems with focus, and difficulty performing physical tasks. These effects can make it dangerous to engage in activities that require alertness, such as driving or operating machinery. It is particularly risky for seniors, who may experience more pronounced impairments.

Furthermore, a Benadryl and alcohol interaction can lead to respiratory depression and prevent the brain and heart from receiving the amount of oxygen they need to work properly. In extreme cases, this can result in loss of consciousness, coma, dehydration, impairment in learning and memory, and even an increased risk of dementia. Due to these risks, combining Benadryl with alcohol is never advisable. If you unintentionally mix alcohol and diphenhydramine, it is crucial to rest in a safe environment to restore balance and avoid engaging in hazardous activities.

When older adults mix alcohol and Benadryl, they are also at a higher risk of experiencing severe symptoms like overdose and respiratory depression because aging slows the body’s ability to break down alcohol. This means alcohol will last longer in the body of an older adult compared to someone younger. Both alcohol and Benadryl are also addictive, and many people abuse this combination on purpose to experience severe sedation. Eventually, a person engaging in this form of substance use may need to get treatment at a facility like our alcohol rehab in Illinois to get sober.

Does Alcohol Affect Benadryl?

Mixing alcohol with Benadryl can enhance the effects experienced from both substances since each acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Both alcohol and Benadryl lead to slowed brain activity. As a result, combining the two can heighten side effects such as:

- Increased drowsiness and sedation

- Reduced ability to concentrate

- Impaired physical coordination

It is strongly recommended to avoid consuming alcohol while taking Benadryl, particularly for older adults, as the combination poses significant risks.

Why is it Not Advisable to Mix Benadryl with Beer?

It is highly discouraged to combine Benadryl with beer due to the enhancement of the sedative effects that both substances individually possess. When taken together, the interaction can notably augment drowsiness and significantly diminish motor coordination and cognitive functions. This mix further poses risks such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure, collectively exacerbating the potential for hazardous health outcomes. Hence, consuming Benadryl alongside beer elevates the odds of experiencing these detrimental reactions and should be avoided.

What are the Risks of Combining Benadryl with Wine?

Mixing Benadryl and wine heightens the likelihood of adverse reactions due to their synergistic depressant effects on the central nervous system. This combination can greatly enhance drowsiness and sedation, making activities such as driving or operating machinery particularly dangerous due to impaired motor skills and delayed reaction times. There is also an increased risk of memory lapses, confusion, and an amplified chance of experiencing falls or other accidents. Additionally, both alcohol and Benadryl can contribute to dehydration. When taken together, this effect can be compounded, possibly leading to more intense headaches, reduced focus, and an exacerbation of other side effects associated with each substance separately. Ultimately, this may result in a more intense hangover. Considering these risks, it is vital to exercise caution if consuming these substances together, and it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional to discuss any potential health implications.

Can You Overdose on Benadryl and Alcohol?

Yes, you can overdose on Benadryl and alcohol. Overdose is a common risk of an alcohol and Benadryl interaction in which a person takes a large dose. Even though it’s a commonly used OTC drug, Benadryl’s side effects are amplified when alcohol is added to the mixture and vice versa. Because both are CNS depressants, high doses of both can intoxicate the body and make breathing difficult to the point where they lose consciousness, which can result in brain damage or death.

On its own, alcohol is an addictive substance that can produce an entire host of symptoms. Whether you have a drug problem or a drinking problem, Banyan Heartland can help. Call us now at 888-280-4763 to speak to a team member about our drug rehab programs in Illinois.


Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Can You Mix Benadryl and Alcohol?
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