Can Benadryl help with anxiety?

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    Benadryl will calm you down, but it will make you super sleepy. It’s actually the same exact stuff they put in sleeping pills, diphenhydramine hydrochloride – they just market it in two different ways. If you have severe anxiety or panic attacks, or your anxiety is interfering with you being able to live your life the way you want to, go see a psychiatrist and explain. He’ll probably prescribe a benzodiazepine for you in a small dosage – a drug like Xanax or Valium that are made specifically to calm anxiety. They’ll also make you sleepy, and you can get hooked on them, but if you don’t overdo it and only take them when you need them, in the smallest amount you need, they’ll probably help you a lot. They’re really good tools to have with you when you need them, and they can help you live a better and calmer life if you use them intelligently and think of them as just that – tools, like a screwdriver or a hammer. Most of the time you don’t even think about your screwdriver, but when you need it, it’s incredibly helpful, and it really sucks if you don’t have one around.

    OK, that was a stupid analogy. But you know what I mean.

    Anyway, um. I’ve taken most of the benzodiazepines at different times over a long period and some make you sleepier than others, some work better than others, some have side effects like dizziness… so you might have to try a couple different ones before you find the right one to help your anxiety. If you have trouble sleeping as well, a lot of them are also prescribed for insomnia, so hey, two birds. But I wouldn’t try to self-medicate with Benadryl for too long. That stuff can really screw you up if you take it on a long-term basis (see Buyer Be Aware: Benadryl is a Serious Drug) plus it’s got all this antihistimine stuff in it that you don’t need that will build up in your system and mess you up. Go see a psychiatrist, seriously. Insurance pays for most of them (check first) and why not? That’s what they’re there for.

    Good luck.

    I can be used as a short-term rescue medication, which is how I was advised to use it.

    I do not do well on benzodiazepines, and it was recommended to be as a rescue medication for acute anxiety. I am also on an SSRI to reduce the number of times I’d need it.

    BUT, it is not a real solution. It does not treat the root of your anxiety, it just helps you feel a little better in the short-term. It’s like taking pain pills for something like back pain—you feel better, but it does not treat the cause of your pain.

    You should be visiting your doctor for anything that you feel you need medication for. There are much better and stronger options. If there are addiction issues at work you may still be prescribed something like benadryl, but better suited for this purpose.

    For most people, it works because you are so drowsy you are not anxious. If I need it, I take the day off, and sleep because the benadryl knocks me right out. However, in some cases it actually causes anxiety—especially children.

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    It wouldn’t be my first choice, as it’s accompanied by drowsiness, but yea, it can. Vistaril is often prescribed for this, often by doctors who are reluctant to prescribe benzodiazepines for whatever reason. Usually because this patient is a recovering addict. Both Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Viataril are antihistamines, meaning their primary purpose is for relief of allergies. The drowsiness is technically a side effect, but one that is often used as an “off label” treatment.

    Another problem with using antihistamines for anxiety is the body tends to become tolerant to them quickly. While a benadryl may help with some mild anxiety at first, it is highly likely that after 2 weeks, it will do almost nothing. Also keep in mind that diphenhydramine is the active ingredient in Tylenol PM, Advil PM, ZZZQuil, and pretty much any over the counter sleep aid.


    Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine of the first generation. It is used to treat sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, skin rashes, itching, and other symptoms of a cold or allergy. Benadryl is also used to treat motion illness, to cause sleep, and to treat some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

    You should remember that it is not recommended to use Benadryl for long-term, and to treat anxiety, because it can cause side effects, including anxiety; means the medicine itself can cause anxiety symptoms.

    You should not use Benadryl if you are allergic to diphenhydramine. You should ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take this medicine if you have other medical conditions, especially:

    • Blockage in the digestive tract (stomach or intestines);
    • Bladder obstruction or other problems with urination;
    • Colostomy or ileostomy;
    • Liver or kidney disease;
    • Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or other breathing disorder;
    • Cough with mucus or cough caused by smoking, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis;
    • Heart disease, low blood pressure;
    • Glaucoma;
    • Thyroid disorder; or
    • If you are taking potassium (Cytra, Epiklor, K-Lyte, K-Phos, Kaon, Klor-Con, Polycitra, Urocit-K).

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    Do not ever ever and I mean ever try to use benadryl or other dangerous antihistamines like visiril for anxiety. It may work the first time or two and then after that sheer terror and an entire host of nasty side effects. You think your anxiety is bad you’ve not seen anything yet until you’ve started on the first generation anti histamine path.

    I’m talking scary stuff like hallucinations, tardive dyskensia type jerks, seizures, psychosis ect. It even says on the visitril warning not to use more than one month because it can cause seizures. I’m not talking over dosing either. I’m talking about simply .5 to 1 whole pill.

    I made that mistake before and trust me when I say you don’t want to go that route. Find a real doctor who respects you enough to give you REAL anti anxiety drugs like benzos that have a much higher safety index when taken as directed.

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    Benadryl isn’t meant to be used for treating anxiety. It can make you feel sleepy, which might temporarily make you feel less anxious. … If you have symptoms of anxiety, talk with your doctor about medications that are a better choice for treating your symptoms. The most prominent of anti-anxiety drugs for the purpose of immediate relief are those known as benzodiazepines; among them are alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan). Go to my Profile and you can find all dog material there…


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    There are better ways to deal with anxiety than Benadryl. One of the methods I’ve learned and has helped me is mindfulness. Just be aware it exists but not trying to push it away.

    Anxiety is how our body respond to perceived threats, it triggers your “fight or flight” response, which can be handy in situations of real danger.

    However, sometimes our own thoughts constantly trigger that fight or flight mode and we feel anxious for threats that are not real.

    How to better deal with it:

    • go for a run or power walk.
    • Exercise
    • enjoy time with people you care about
    • do something you like and focus in that activity, like baking.
    • Challenge your self talk: Is this a real worry?
    • Seek professional help, CBT practitioners or a coach can tailor resources to your specific circumstances.

    I like this post that explains how thoughts works in an easy way.

    Benedryl is an antihistamine and it’s off labeled usage is for anxiety and agitation. I’ve worked with several psychiatrists who use it to sedate agitated patients. It is well tolerated and there are few side effects. The primary side effect is sleepiness and this is called a desired side effect when it is prescribed for anxiety or agitation. It is well tolerated with most medications. If you are feeling the need to take it often I would suggest seeing a psychiatrist to monitor your condition. They will perform a complete assessment and prescribe medications based on that assessment to treat your condition. If you are taking it long term, you may develop a tolerance to the medication and it would cease to be effective for you.

    Technically, yes. Benadryl is a non-addictive sedative that depresses the CNS. However, if it is used on a daily basis, the effective will lessen. Its primary usage is to treat allergy symptoms. If you are going to use it, it is best off used during bad panic attacks if you can’t calm down.

    If you take it for a panic attack, don’t drive or operate machinery, as impairment is higher than if you were drunk.

    Common side effects are sleepiness, poor coordination, and nausea- though it can also be used to treat nausea. _o_/

    More info on the main active ingredient: Diphenhydramine – Wikipedia

    Disclaimer: Self-medicating is dangerous and I do not recommend it.

    That’s a slippery slope there. Go to a therapist and let them help you get the right treatment, if you try to use Benadryl for it you’re likely to develop a problem with self-medicating which is hard to break. Benadryl is actually a very dangerous drug, and it is quite possible to OD on it with misuse, and you’re opening yourself up to drug addiction. It might help short term, but is likely to have more risks than benefits


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    Sometimes a PCP or psychiatrist will prescribe Hydroxizine (an anti-histamine, like Benadryl) for anxiety problems. However, just like any anti-histamine, it can make you incredibly drowsy.

    If you suspect you have anxiety, please take some online assessments such as those listed below & visit a psychiatrist. These professionals are skilled at diagnosing and treating such conditions. You are not alone! Anxiety affects approximately 3.3 million US adults (Source: Facts & Statistics).


    Screening for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)


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