Benadryl for Anxiety (Should you take it?)

In this brief guide, we will look at whether you should take Benadryl for anxiety, and other related things like Benadryl side effects and Benadryl reviews. We will also look at what other commonly used over the counter antihistamines people use to combat anxiety.

Benadryl for Anxiety: Is it a Good Idea?

Taking Benadryl for anxiety is not a good idea because it can easily become a habit and Benadryl is not meant to treat anxiety, which means it can have harmful effects if it is used that way.

Benadryl is an anti allergy medication which can cause extreme drowsiness, which is why many people sometimes use it for relief from anxiety, but this is very dangerous because people with anxiety can more easily become prone to any dangerous behavior that relieves the symptoms.

This means that if someone is constantly taking Benadryl for anxiety instead of the proper anti anxiety medication they are supposed to take, they can get hooked and this means that their anxiety does not actually go away.

Benadryl may cause temporary relief for a short term basis, but it does not help with the core symptoms of anxiety, which means that the person may often have to use much bigger doses and more frequently, which increases the likelihood of side effects from Benadryl.

If someone has anxiety, they need to go to a physician or psychiatrist and get a valid prescription for anti anxiety medication, because taking other things may feel good for a bit, but eventually it can be very harmful. 

Benadryl Side Effects

Like all medication, Benadryl can also have side effects, which, according to WebMD are:

“Drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, stomach upset, blurred vision, or dry mouth/nose/throat may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as restlessness, confusion), difficulty urinating, fast/irregular heartbeat.”

Hydroxyzine vs Benadryl for Anxiety

The difference between hydroxyzine vs Benadryl for anxiety is that they change the levels of different things in the body, and while researchers don’t know exactly how these two affect anxiety, some people say that they are definitely associated with feelings of relief.

Most healthcare providers tend to agree that hydroxyzine changes the effects of 2 chemicals in our bodies: histamine and serotonin, out of which serotonin is responsible for the feelings of happiness or contentment, and when these levels are regulated by outside influence it can cause good feelings that bring relief from anxiety.

Benadryl causes relief from anxiety because it causes extreme drowsiness, and it calms the immune system, which can bring relief from the stress associated with anxiety.

In a comparison of hydroxyzine vs Benadryl for anxiety, one thing is clear, the fact that these anti allergy medications affect the body’s regulation of hormones that are associated with immune responses as well, causes them to bring relief from anxiety.

However, neither of these should be considered long term solutions to combat anxiety as they are not meant to treat anxiety and there is no research about what effects it could have in the long run.

Can Benadryl cause Anxiety?

Anxiety is not one of the symptoms of Benadryl but in some people it causes symptoms like palpitations, insomnia or excitability, which leads some to think that Benadryl can cause anxiety.

Benadryl for Anxiety Reddit

To understand how Benadryl may work for anxiety, you can also consider some reviews from Reddit that real people have posted:

“I would not take Benadryl daily long term as there are side effects. In general, do not self-medicate for anxiety without consulting with a doctor. Tell your doctor about the correlation between your allergy symptoms and anxiety, because who knows, maybe it all adds up to something completely unrelated.”

“I’ve never taken Benadryl for my panic attacks, but since it causes drowsiness, it might be useful to calm you down during a panic attack. As for day-to-day anxiety, I don’t see how it could help unless it’s strictly your allergies causing the anxiety.

Maybe you need hypoallergenic bedsheets if you’re only having allergy symptoms after sleeping on your bed.”

“In my experience, not really. It will knock me out if I take enough, so I guess it’s occasionally useful for insomnia. But as an anxiety medicine, not so much.

You should probably see someone about the congestion. It could be allergies, or it could be chronic sinus problems, or even a deviated septum. All things that can be fixed.”

“Maybe on occasion because it causes drowsiness. But it wouldn’t work on a long-term basis, because Benadryl loses its effectiveness as you continue to take it. by about the fourth or fifth day in a row, it might not have much effectiveness at all. Of course, it might be different for some people, but that’s how it is for me, and I’ve read online that that is a documented issue with Benadryl.

Side note: if you really do have allergies and you need a daily medication, look on Amazon for the generic version of Claritin. It’s much cheaper. As in, $17 a year versus $25 a month. It won’t help your anxiety, but I try to always throw that out there because I see people buying super expensive allergy meds in the drugstores and there’s really no need.”

“I find it’s great for falling asleep if you get anxious at night. It also helps you sleep through the night, and it does it well, which might lead you to have less anxiety in the morning. It might help with the stuffy nose too. You could’ve developed allergies (I think that’s possible) and when you have those symptoms you’ve made a connection in your mind with anxiety. I think it might help, and if it does, then go for it. The mind is a powerful thing so even if it does “nothing” and works, hell, that sounds good! Only drawback is that with Benadryl (also Zquil) you do become tolerant of the drowsy stuff in it. So don’t use it too much or it won’t be as effective (if you don’t use it for 5 days after a lot of use you should be fine it’s not permanent or habit-forming).”

“The only thing is Benadryl’s effect is all kinda physical and isn’t targeted towards anxiety. The prescription drugs you get that help you sleep also actually helps to relieve anxiety. You may find that while you’re physically sleepy from the Benadryl, you’re still mentally anxious and that’s fighting to keep you awake. Personally I’ve found that I still wake up in the night when my mind is fighting the effects of things like Benadryl and melatonin. In that case, it helps to have a night light on. If you tend to sleep through the night though then maybe you won’t have that problem.”

“I’ve got a prescription for an anti anxiety med that helps me fall asleep and it’s an antihistamine too (so it works the same way as allergy medicine.) I think it would be worth it to check with your doctor about long term use of Benadryl just to make sure your liver and kidneys can handle it since that’s not meant to be used for more than a couple weeks at a time, usually”

“Before I got health insurance through my new job, I was taking Benadryl every day to help me sleep because otherwise I would be up all night feeling totally panicky. Physically it’s not addictive, but when you stop taking it, it becomes a little tough to learn how to fall asleep on your own. Anxiety would cause me to have nausea, heartburn and indigestion, so I’d take Pepto for that with the Benadryl. I think you’re fine. If it works for you really well, then keep taking it. Anti-histamines are safe from what I’ve heard. I take lexapro now. Helps a ton and actually makes me sleepy, so I take it at night. I only use Benadryl now if I’m having a hard time sleeping due to lots of stress but nothing major. I am also prescribed Xanax but Benadryl works better for me. I hope this helped! Anxiety is no joke and if you have to take Benadryl to have some quality sleep, so be it!”

What not to take with Benadryl?

According to the WebMD, here are some medicines and other things you should not take with Benadryl:

“Some products that may interact with this drug include: antihistamines applied to the skin (such as diphenhydramine cream, ointment, spray).

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or other antihistamines (such as cetirizine, chlorpheniramine).”

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we looked at whether you should take Benadryl for anxiety, and other related things like Benadryl side effects and Benadryl reviews. We also looked at what other commonly used over the counter antihistamines people use to combat anxiety.

Benadryl, like any other medication has specific side effects and can have adverse reactions very easily, so you should definitely not take it without adequate information for unrelated conditions.

If you have anxiety, the best medication to take is anti anxiety medication, which you can get after talking to a psychiatrist, so try to do that instead of taking other medicines like antihistamines or herbal supplements.

If you have any questions or comments about taking Benadryl for anxiety, please feel free to reach out to us.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Benadryl for Anxiety

Is Benadryl good for anxiety?

Many people think that Benadryl is good for anxiety because it can be fast-acting and convenient but it is primarily an anti-allergy medication and one should not rely on it to treat their anxiety symptoms.
Benadryl can reduce symptoms of mild anxiety quickly because it causes people to feel drowsy, but if someone makes a habit of using this medication for the wrong purpose, it can become unhealthy very quickly.

Do antihistamines help with anxiety?

Antihistamines can sometimes be used to treat anxiety on a short-term basis, but they are not supposed to be used as anti anxiety medication. 
Antihistamines work on the brain and nervous system and alter how your immune responses work, which sometimes has a calming effect on anxiety as well, but taking antihistamines for anxiety should not become habit.

Can Benadryl make anxiety worse?

In some people Benadryl can make anxiety worse, but usually it causes extreme drowsiness.
Sometimes Benadryl makes anxiety worse because it can cause insomnia, excitability, restlessness, and a rapid heart rate, which may feel like symptoms of anxiety.

What can you take for anxiety over the counter?

There are nothing you can take for anxiety over the counter, as all anxiety reducing medicines are controlled substances because of the effect they have on the brain.
You can only take something for anxiety after having a prescription from a doctor, and this is not that hard to get, you just need to go to one, or talk to one online, and see what you can do about it.

What calms anxiety naturally?

Here are some ways which calm anxiety naturally
Staying active or exercising 
Avoiding alcohol
Avoiding smoking
Avoiding caffeine. 
Getting adequate sleep. 
Meditation
Eating a healthy diet.
Practicing deep breathing.

Citations

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-5680/benadryl-oral/details#:~:text=Drowsiness%2C%20dizziness%2C%20constipation%2C%20stomach,%2Fnose%2Fthroat%20may%20occur.

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

Leave a Comment