Can Benadryl Cause Anxiety?

Many people wonder if Benadryl, a common over-the-counter allergy medication, can cause anxiety. It is important to understand that while Benadryl is generally safe and effective for treating allergies, it may have some side effects and could impact mental health. Benadryl has also emerged as a common drug of abuse for younger people, partly due to its over-the-counter availability.

Learn more about the relationship between Benadryl and anxiety, why some individuals may experience anxiety after taking the medication, and the various effects and uses of Benadryl.

What Do You Take Benadryl For?

Despite the potential for causing anxiety, it is important to acknowledge that Benadryl (also known as diphenhydramine) serves various purposes and is widely used to alleviate allergy symptoms. It can effectively reduce itching, sneezing, and watery eyes caused by hay fever, hives, or other allergic reactions. Benadryl can provide relief during allergy season or in response to specific triggers, such as pet dander or pollen.

Additionally, Benadryl is commonly utilized to relieve symptoms associated with the common cold, such as nasal congestion and runny nose. Its antihistamine properties can help suppress allergic reactions triggered by the body’s response to viral infections.

Benadryl is also sometimes recommended by healthcare professionals to manage symptoms of motion sickness. The medication can help alleviate nausea, vomiting, and dizziness experienced during travel by blocking signals in the brain that trigger these sensations. Benadryl is also sometimes used as a sleep aid due to its sedative effects.

For some people, under the direction of a doctor, Benadryl can also be taken as a supplemental tool to reduce anxiety. It’s most often used acutely, such as to ease the symptoms of an anxiety attack. People who are hesitant to take conventional psychiatry medications for anxiety may find Benadryl to be a helpful treatment in certain doses. But this should only be done under the supervision of a medical professional.

Why Do You Feel Anxious After Taking Benadryl?

woman in the middle of a blurred crowd covering her face

One of the potential side effects of Benadryl is increased anxiety. This can be attributed to its sedative properties. However, diphenhydramine also affects the central nervous system, resulting in drowsiness. In some cases, this drowsiness can trigger feelings of anxiety or restlessness.

Furthermore, Benadryl can cause dry mouth and dizziness, which may also contribute to feelings of anxiety. These physical sensations, combined with the sedative effects, can lead to increased worry or uneasiness in certain individuals.

It’s important to note that individual responses to medications can vary widely. While some people may experience increased anxiety after taking Benadryl, others may not have this reaction at all. Factors such as dosage, frequency of use, and personal sensitivity to the drug can all play a role in how a person responds to Benadryl.

In addition, certain medical conditions or underlying mental health issues may also influence how Benadryl affects an individual. For example, people with a history of anxiety disorders may be more prone to experiencing heightened anxiety as a side effect of the medication. It’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider if you have concerns about how a medication is affecting your mental or physical well-being.

Why Does Benadryl Affect People Differently?

Individual responses to medication can vary significantly. Some people may be more sensitive to the sedative effects of Benadryl, experiencing heightened anxiety as a result. On the other hand, individuals who are less prone to sedation may not experience anxiety when taking the medication.

Moreover, factors like age, weight, metabolism, and overall health can influence how an individual’s body reacts to Benadryl. It is crucial to understand that each person is unique, and their response to the medication may differ based on these factors.

Age plays a significant role in how Benadryl affects individuals. Older adults may experience more pronounced sedative effects due to changes in their metabolism and body composition (and may suffer different adverse effects with overdose). Conversely, children and young adults may metabolize the medication differently, leading to varying responses.

Additionally, underlying health conditions can impact how Benadryl interacts with the body. Individuals with liver or kidney issues may process the medication at a different rate, which may affect its efficacy and potential side effects.

What Are the Effects of Benadryl?

single man sitting on edge of his bed

In addition to its potential effects on anxiety, Benadryl can cause drowsiness, blurred vision, dry mouth, and urinary retention (among other side effects). It is essential to read the label and follow the recommended dosage to minimize these adverse effects.

It is always wise to consult a healthcare professional before using Benadryl, especially if you have existing medical conditions or are taking other medications. It should be noted that misuse or excessive consumption of Benadryl can lead to more severe complications, including addiction.

Benadryl is classified as a first-generation antihistamine. This means that it works by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms. By blocking histamine, Benadryl can help relieve symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and the runny nose associated with allergies.

Moreover, Benadryl is not only used for allergies but also for its sedative properties. Due to its ability to cause drowsiness, it is occasionally used as a sleep aid. Many individuals rely on Benadryl to help them fall asleep, especially when dealing with occasional insomnia. However, it is important to use it cautiously and as directed. Benadryl was once considered a safe sleeping aid to give to children. Today, it’s considered best practice to consult with a pediatrician or other health professional before giving a child a sleep aid.

What Does Benadryl Overdose Look Like?

To those who abuse Benadryl as a substance, the effects can be strong and extremely unpleasant. This is partly why it’s considered extremely dangerous to mix Benadryl use with other substances like alcohol. But taking excessive amounts of Benadryl can be dangerous on its own.

A Benadryl overdose may produce the following symptoms:

  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Severe anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Vivid hallucinations (commonly bugs or spiders)
  • Confusion
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Slurred speed

If someone is displaying the previous symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Dizziness and anxiety may also present as effects of Benadryl withdrawal.

Benadryl can interact negatively with certain SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which can result in excessive amounts of serotonin in the brain. Complications may result if someone takes large amounts of Benadryl while taking an SSRI.

Does Benadryl Treat Anxiety

woman who looks upset sitting with therapist

Benadryl’s primary function is to alleviate allergy symptoms and related conditions. If you are struggling with anxiety, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who can assess your situation and recommend appropriate treatments. Although some individuals may experience increased anxiety as a side effect of Benadryl, it is not typically prescribed as an anxiety treatment.

There are various medications and therapies specifically designed to address anxiety disorders, providing targeted relief and support. But it is important to seek guidance from a medical professional to determine the most suitable treatment options (via medication and otherwise) for your needs.

In addition to seeking professional help, incorporating lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, mindfulness practices, and a balanced diet can also contribute to managing anxiety symptoms. Engaging in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction, such as yoga or meditation, can complement medical treatments and improve overall well-being.

Furthermore, therapy options like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) have been proven effective in treating anxiety disorders by helping individuals identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors. These therapeutic approaches empower individuals to develop coping strategies and build resilience against anxiety triggers.

While Benadryl is generally safe and effective for treating allergies and other conditions, it can potentially cause anxiety in some individuals. Understanding the possible side effects and individual variations in response can help make informed decisions when using this medication. It is always advisable to consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns about the interaction between Benadryl and any medications you may be taking, as well as your risk for addiction to Benadryl.

Treat Anxiety and Addiction in Utah

therapist addressing small group in therapy

Anxiety is a life-affecting mental illness that can proliferate every aspect of a person’s life. Many addictive substances can affect anxiety, often exacerbating it and making the problem worse. This often continues the cycle of addiction, leading people to keep using illicit substances in an attempt to alleviate their anxiety. But the anxiety is never actually cured, and the person develops an addiction that only works against their own healing.

The way to true healing for anxiety is through focused and directed treatment. At Acqua Recovery, we believe in using a variety of therapy modalities in anxiety treatment. Anxiety often co-occurs with addiction, which necessitates working on both problems and addressing how they can interact with each other.

Contact us today to begin your new life of sobriety and healing. It’s never too late to learn how to manage symptoms, and there’s lots of relief and peace waiting for you.

Can Benadryl Cause Anxiety?

Dr. Daniel Pickrell

Dr. Daniel Pickrell
Medical Reviewer

Dr. Pickrell is a board-certified psychiatrist with interests in addiction and psychiatry. He strives to identify the underlying cause of substance use. His understanding of addiction as the overlapping symptoms of biopsychosocial development is the foundation to his care model. He is committed to helping both patients and families understand that addiction is a treatable medical illness. He has been involved in the treatment of addiction for the last 17 years and completed his residency training at the University of Utah.

Many people wonder if Benadryl, a common over-the-counter allergy medication, can cause anxiety. It is important to understand that while Benadryl is generally safe and effective for treating allergies, it may have some side effects and could impact mental health. Benadryl has also emerged as a common drug of abuse for younger people, partly due to its over-the-counter availability.

Learn more about the relationship between Benadryl and anxiety, why some individuals may experience anxiety after taking the medication, and the various effects and uses of Benadryl.

What Do You Take Benadryl For?

Despite the potential for causing anxiety, it is important to acknowledge that Benadryl (also known as diphenhydramine) serves various purposes and is widely used to alleviate allergy symptoms. It can effectively reduce itching, sneezing, and watery eyes caused by hay fever, hives, or other allergic reactions. Benadryl can provide relief during allergy season or in response to specific triggers, such as pet dander or pollen.

Additionally, Benadryl is commonly utilized to relieve symptoms associated with the common cold, such as nasal congestion and runny nose. Its antihistamine properties can help suppress allergic reactions triggered by the body's response to viral infections.

Benadryl is also sometimes recommended by healthcare professionals to manage symptoms of motion sickness. The medication can help alleviate nausea, vomiting, and dizziness experienced during travel by blocking signals in the brain that trigger these sensations. Benadryl is also sometimes used as a sleep aid due to its sedative effects.

For some people, under the direction of a doctor, Benadryl can also be taken as a supplemental tool to reduce anxiety. It’s most often used acutely, such as to ease the symptoms of an anxiety attack. People who are hesitant to take conventional psychiatry medications for anxiety may find Benadryl to be a helpful treatment in certain doses. But this should only be done under the supervision of a medical professional.

Why Do You Feel Anxious After Taking Benadryl?

woman in the middle of a blurred crowd covering her face

One of the potential side effects of Benadryl is increased anxiety. This can be attributed to its sedative properties. However, diphenhydramine also affects the central nervous system, resulting in drowsiness. In some cases, this drowsiness can trigger feelings of anxiety or restlessness.

Furthermore, Benadryl can cause dry mouth and dizziness, which may also contribute to feelings of anxiety. These physical sensations, combined with the sedative effects, can lead to increased worry or uneasiness in certain individuals.

It's important to note that individual responses to medications can vary widely. While some people may experience increased anxiety after taking Benadryl, others may not have this reaction at all. Factors such as dosage, frequency of use, and personal sensitivity to the drug can all play a role in how a person responds to Benadryl.

In addition, certain medical conditions or underlying mental health issues may also influence how Benadryl affects an individual. For example, people with a history of anxiety disorders may be more prone to experiencing heightened anxiety as a side effect of the medication. It's always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider if you have concerns about how a medication is affecting your mental or physical well-being.

Why Does Benadryl Affect People Differently?

Individual responses to medication can vary significantly. Some people may be more sensitive to the sedative effects of Benadryl, experiencing heightened anxiety as a result. On the other hand, individuals who are less prone to sedation may not experience anxiety when taking the medication.

Moreover, factors like age, weight, metabolism, and overall health can influence how an individual's body reacts to Benadryl. It is crucial to understand that each person is unique, and their response to the medication may differ based on these factors.

Age plays a significant role in how Benadryl affects individuals. Older adults may experience more pronounced sedative effects due to changes in their metabolism and body composition (and may suffer different adverse effects with overdose). Conversely, children and young adults may metabolize the medication differently, leading to varying responses.

Additionally, underlying health conditions can impact how Benadryl interacts with the body. Individuals with liver or kidney issues may process the medication at a different rate, which may affect its efficacy and potential side effects.

What Are the Effects of Benadryl?

single man sitting on edge of his bed

In addition to its potential effects on anxiety, Benadryl can cause drowsiness, blurred vision, dry mouth, and urinary retention (among other side effects). It is essential to read the label and follow the recommended dosage to minimize these adverse effects.

It is always wise to consult a healthcare professional before using Benadryl, especially if you have existing medical conditions or are taking other medications. It should be noted that misuse or excessive consumption of Benadryl can lead to more severe complications, including addiction.

Benadryl is classified as a first-generation antihistamine. This means that it works by blocking the action of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms. By blocking histamine, Benadryl can help relieve symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, and the runny nose associated with allergies.

Moreover, Benadryl is not only used for allergies but also for its sedative properties. Due to its ability to cause drowsiness, it is occasionally used as a sleep aid. Many individuals rely on Benadryl to help them fall asleep, especially when dealing with occasional insomnia. However, it is important to use it cautiously and as directed. Benadryl was once considered a safe sleeping aid to give to children. Today, it’s considered best practice to consult with a pediatrician or other health professional before giving a child a sleep aid.

What Does Benadryl Overdose Look Like?

To those who abuse Benadryl as a substance, the effects can be strong and extremely unpleasant. This is partly why it’s considered extremely dangerous to mix Benadryl use with other substances like alcohol. But taking excessive amounts of Benadryl can be dangerous on its own.

A Benadryl overdose may produce the following symptoms:

  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Severe anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Vivid hallucinations (commonly bugs or spiders)
  • Confusion
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Slurred speed

If someone is displaying the previous symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Dizziness and anxiety may also present as effects of Benadryl withdrawal.

Benadryl can interact negatively with certain SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which can result in excessive amounts of serotonin in the brain. Complications may result if someone takes large amounts of Benadryl while taking an SSRI.

Does Benadryl Treat Anxiety

woman who looks upset sitting with therapist

Benadryl's primary function is to alleviate allergy symptoms and related conditions. If you are struggling with anxiety, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional who can assess your situation and recommend appropriate treatments. Although some individuals may experience increased anxiety as a side effect of Benadryl, it is not typically prescribed as an anxiety treatment.

There are various medications and therapies specifically designed to address anxiety disorders, providing targeted relief and support. But it is important to seek guidance from a medical professional to determine the most suitable treatment options (via medication and otherwise) for your needs.

In addition to seeking professional help, incorporating lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, mindfulness practices, and a balanced diet can also contribute to managing anxiety symptoms. Engaging in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction, such as yoga or meditation, can complement medical treatments and improve overall well-being.

Furthermore, therapy options like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) have been proven effective in treating anxiety disorders by helping individuals identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors. These therapeutic approaches empower individuals to develop coping strategies and build resilience against anxiety triggers.

While Benadryl is generally safe and effective for treating allergies and other conditions, it can potentially cause anxiety in some individuals. Understanding the possible side effects and individual variations in response can help make informed decisions when using this medication. It is always advisable to consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns about the interaction between Benadryl and any medications you may be taking, as well as your risk for addiction to Benadryl.

Treat Anxiety and Addiction in Utah

therapist addressing small group in therapy

Anxiety is a life-affecting mental illness that can proliferate every aspect of a person’s life. Many addictive substances can affect anxiety, often exacerbating it and making the problem worse. This often continues the cycle of addiction, leading people to keep using illicit substances in an attempt to alleviate their anxiety. But the anxiety is never actually cured, and the person develops an addiction that only works against their own healing.

The way to true healing for anxiety is through focused and directed treatment. At Acqua Recovery, we believe in using a variety of therapy modalities in anxiety treatment. Anxiety often co-occurs with addiction, which necessitates working on both problems and addressing how they can interact with each other.

Contact us today to begin your new life of sobriety and healing. It’s never too late to learn how to manage symptoms, and there’s lots of relief and peace waiting for you.

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