Surviving seasonal allergies while fulfilling personal and professional responsibilities can be incredibly difficult. It’s understandable that a person may take an antihistamine like Benadryl (the brand name of diphenhydramine) to relieve a runny nose and watery eyes. However, it’s not safe to mix an over-the-counter allergy medication with other behavior inhibiting substances like alcohol. For example, there are various dangers of mixing Benadryl and alcohol.
Mixing Benadryl and Alcohol
Benadryl is commonly used to treat allergies, cold symptoms, and sometimes insomnia. Alcohol is legal and sold in many stores where a person can also buy Benadryl and other allergy medications. This makes mixing Benadryl and alcohol relatively easy when people assume using both at the same time is safe. The reality is that mixing Benadryl and alcohol can be incredibly dangerous.
Mixing Benadryl and alcohol can cause extreme drowsiness and mental fogginess. This combination may cause a person to lose their balance and stumble and fall or feel heavily sedated. Ingesting both drugs at the same time depresses the central nervous system, which controls most functions of the mind and body like physical coordination and sensory experiences. Individually, alcohol and Benadryl can affect the central nervous system as well as a person’s cardiac functions. Drinking on Benadryl causes the side effects of both drugs to be exacerbated.
Side Effects of Mixing Two Powerful Substances
Mixing Benadryl and alcohol is dangerous and can lead to an addiction. Additionally, an overdose on Benadryl and alcohol is possible and can be fatal. Provided below are other side effects of drinking on Benadryl.
- Both drugs cause intense drowsiness when consumed separately. This might tempt a person to misuse alcohol and Benadryl as a sleep aid. However, alcohol doesn’t improve sleep and Benadryl should only be used to treat allergy symptoms.
- Another side effect is dehydration as alcohol is a diuretic and often causes a headache the day after consumption from a lack of water intake. Symptoms worsen when an individual also takes Benadryl, which can lead to a dry throat, nose, and mouth.
- Confusion and memory impairment occurs after consuming these two substances at the same time. Certain neurotransmitters in the brain that affect learning and memory become blocked by Benadryl, and alcohol causes similar symptoms of fogginess. Combining both makes the impairment more pronounced.
- The side effects are more pronounced in older adults because as we age, the body’s ability to break down alcohol slows down. This slowdown increases the time a person will be at risk of a possible harmful interaction between Benadryl and alcohol.
One related and pertinent question is, “how long after drinking can I take Benadryl?” It’s clear that mixing Benadryl and alcohol can lead to extreme drowsiness and impaired motor skills and alertness. However, it’s not as clear regarding how long you should wait after drinking to take Benadryl. According to Healthline, Benadryl is designed for short-term use, so it’s best to wait until you’re done taking it before you drink any alcohol. It’s also a good idea to speak with your doctor or pharmacist regarding how long to wait after you finish taking Benadryl before you consume alcohol.
What is Polydrug Abuse?
Whether intentional or not, a person can become addicted to both drugs, also referred to as polysubstance abuse or polydrug abuse.
Combining Alcohol and Benadryl is Dangerous
Benadryl is a potent drug, despite how easy it is to access to relieve allergy symptoms. Alcohol is a legal, sedative drug that can change how a person acts. Mixing diphenhydramine with alcohol, particularly in large doses, is extremely dangerous. In fact, an overdose on Benadryl and alcohol is possible and may lead to death.
Recovery Is Possible at Steps to Recovery
Over-the-counter medications like Benadryl can be addictive, especially if you’re mixing diphenhydramine with alcohol. If you’re struggling with an alcohol addiction or polysubstance abuse, we’re here for you.
At Steps to Recovery, we offer partial hospitalization treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, and outpatient care with licensed recovery housing. Our treatment center programs are trauma-informed, individualized, and accredited by the Human Rights Campaign as a leader in providing LGBTQ+ services. Additionally, at our sister program, Silver Pines, we offer an alcohol detox program.
Throughout all our programs, we provide individualized, person-centered care to help each client uncover the “why” behind their addiction and help them build foundational relationships that help answer the “how” in moving forward. Steps to Recovery’s addiction therapy includes:
To learn more about our alcohol addiction and polysubstance abuse treatment, contact the Steps to Recovery team today at 267.719.8528.