Is It Safe to Mix Benadryl and Alcohol?

heroin withdrawal symptoms
Heroin Addiction Therapy: Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms You Should Expect
December 26, 2020
How Does Art Therapy Affect The Brain Positive Art Therapy 2021
January 19, 2021

Benadryl Abuse and Misuse

Benadryl is the most well-known brand name of the drug diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine. Antihistamines are used to treat the symptoms of allergies, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing. 

Although Benadryl is sold over-the-counter and does not require a prescription, it is known for its drowsy, sedative effects, so some people use it for insomnia or sleeplessness. It is, however, important to emphasize that Benadryl is only approved by the FDA to treat allergies and mild cold symptoms– not sleep issues. 

The recommended dosage of Benadryl is 25 mg per dose for an adult. On September 24, 2020, the FDA released this official statement on the dangers of exceeding the recommended dosage of Benadryl: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that taking higher than recommended doses of the common over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medicine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can lead to serious heart problems, seizures, coma, or even death. We are aware of news reports of teenagers ending up in emergency rooms or dying after participating in the “Benadryl Challenge” encouraged in videos posted on the social media application TikTok.”

The “Benadryl Challenge” encouraged teens to take large quantities of Benadryl to induce the side effect of hallucinations. At least one teenager died after participating in this challenge. Taking too much Benadryl can be fatal. 

Combining Benadryl and Alcohol

Both Benadryl and alcohol slow down the central nervous system (CNS), and when combined, they can slow it down too much. This can result in effects such as sedation, drowsiness, and inability to remain alert and aware. Because of these effects, it is not recommended to combine Benadryl and alcohol. In fact, this is stated clearly and directly on the label of Benadryl, stating: When using this product:

  • avoid alcoholic drinks
  • alcohol, sedatives, and tranquilizers may increase drowsiness

Side Effects of Benadryl and Alcohol

Common side effects of combining Benadryl alone can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache 
  • Nausea

When combined with alcohol, it is likely that any side effects an individual experiences will be amplified—in particular, as mentioned previously, the effects of drowsiness and dizziness. It is important to note that these are common side effects for a regular dose of Benadryl. There is significant risk in abusing Benadryl by taking more than the recommended dosage, particularly when combined with alcohol or other substances. 

When combining Benadryl and alcohol, risks also include cardiac arrest and alcohol poisoning, both of which can be fatal. 

It is imperative to follow the instructions, dosage limits, and warnings written on the Benadryl label. If in doubt about whether or not it is safe to take either Benadryl or alcohol in an individual circumstance, contact your doctor or a healthcare professional before making the decision. 

If substance misuse or abuse develops, it is crucial to seek help as soon as possible, as this can be a precarious situation with deadly consequences. 

How Oasis Recovery helps individuals with substance misuse, abuse, and addiction

Oasis Recovery Center, located in the heart of Asheville, North Carolina, has helped hundreds of individuals reclaim their lives from the grips of addiction. 

Our comprehensive addiction treatment programs incorporate everything from medication-assisted treatment to psychotherapy with options such as EMDR to group activities and processing, adventure therapy, equine therapy, art therapy, and a variety of mindfulness-based holistic healing modalities including acupuncture, qi gong, yoga, meditation, and more. Clients at Oasis are supported through every step of their healing journey with our unique, individualized, impactful recovery programs. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, Oasis Recovery is here to help. Reach out to us today at (828) 330-9497  or get in touch through our online contact form for more information about addiction treatment and recovery at Oasis.