Can Benadryl help with alcohol withdrawal? (+15 symptoms)
In this article, we will discuss the role of Benadryl in alcohol withdrawal. We will also discuss the symptoms and risks of alcohol withdrawal and its management.
Can Benadryl help with alcohol withdrawal?
Benadryl can help with alcohol withdrawal to manage the sleep disturbances associated with it. However, it is not effective for the management of other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal such as hallucinations, confusion, irritability, and palpitations. Benadryl is rarely prescribed for alcohol withdrawal because of the availability of better treatment options.
Benadryl (dihenhydramine), is an antihistamine and antichoinergic medication. It is widely used to manage hay fever, common cold, allergic reactions, and its associated symptoms. It has a rapid onset of action and due to its anticholinergic properties, it can help in the management of sleep disturbances (1).
What does research suggest?
There is only limited research on the role of Benadryl in the management of alcohol withdrawal. According to research, Benadryl can be effectively used in the management of sleep disturbances and insomnia. It is a well-tolerated medication in elderly patients with a low incidence of side effects (2). Sleep disturbances can occur in some individuals during the withdrawal of alcohol which can be managed by Benadryl.
However, research suggests that the use of Benadryl may cause and exacerbate hallucinations. Therefore, administering Benadryl to individuals experiencing alcohol withdrawal may increase the occurrence of hallucinations (3).
Therefore, it is recommended to use Benadryl only under the supervision of healthcare professionals to ensure the safety and efficacy of treatment and to reduce the incidence of side effects associated with its use.
What are the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal is associated with a range of symptoms that may occur in individuals who abruptly discontinue the consumption of alcohol. These symptoms may include:
- sleep disturbances
- loss of appetite
The exact symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may vary from one individual to another based on their overall health condition and the history of alcohol use. Chronic alcohol users are prone to experience severe withdrawal symptoms after stopping alcohol.
How to prevent alcohol withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal can prevented by gradually reducing the alcohol intake if you are a chronic alcohol user. Abrupt stopping of alcohol is associated with the risk of withdrawal syndrome which has a range of symptoms.
If you are planning to withdraw from alcohol, you should consult your healthcare professional. They may provide you with guidance based on your condition and recommend a gradual tapering schedule. In some cases, doctors may prescribe medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms and alcohol cravings.
A healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet, adequate hydration, and regular exercise has been shown to improve mood and reduce stress which may increase after alcohol withdrawal. A healthy lifestyle also contributes to overall mental and emotional well-being.
Which medications can help with alcohol withdrawal?
Alcohol withdrawal can be a serious medical condition, and medications may be used to manage symptoms and prevent complications. However, the use of these medications should be carefully supervised by a healthcare professional. Some common medications for alcohol withdrawal include (4):
- valproic acid
These medications can be used to manage the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. However, the choice of medication may depend upon the individual condition of the patient and the specific symptoms he is experiencing after alcohol withdrawal.
Benzodiazepines including diazepam and chlordiazepoxide are generally used to manage serious withdrawal symptoms of alcohol such as anxiety, seizures, and insomnia. Whereas, Naltrexone is used to prevent relapse by reducing cravings for alcohol and Disulfiram creates an aversive reaction if alcohol is consumed, discouraging individuals from drinking (4).
In conclusion, to my knowledge, Benadryl is rarely prescribed in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal. Benadryl might be effective in the management of sleep disturbances and anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal but it is not a choice of medication for reducing other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Your healthcare provider can provide appropriate care and prescribe medications to manage withdrawal symptoms safely. It’s crucial not to attempt to self-manage severe alcohol withdrawal without medical supervision.
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Huynh DA, Abbas M, Dabaja A. Diphenhydramine Toxicity. 2023 Apr 29. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 32491510. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32491510/
Almond SM, Warren MJ, Shealy KM, Threatt TB, Ward ED. A Systematic Review of the Efficacy and Safety of Over-the-Counter Medications Used in Older People for the Treatment of Primary insomnia. Sr Care Pharm. 2021 Feb 1;36(2):83-92. doi: 10.4140/TCP.n.2021.83. PMID: 33509331. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33509331/
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