Many who rely on Benadryl long-term for allergies or insomnia are now realizing that cutting the addiction cold-turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms. They can get a rash, insomnia, itching, headache, nausea and hives along with intensified allergies for a short time. Let me help you through this with my story of Benadryl withdrawal and Diphenhydramine addiction along with what I did to break through it naturally.
What Does Benadryl Really Do to You?
The chemical Diphenhydramine HCl is classified as both a first-generation H1-antihistamine and an anticholinergic. This means that Benadryl blocks the effects of histamine, the immune system’s allergy chemical. Therefore, you don’t experience allergy symptoms like sneezing, congestion, headache, inflammation, and you know what else.
By taking an antihistamine drug like this, your body is still having an allergic reaction, you are just masking the symptoms. The inflammation still exists, unless you take an anti-inflammatory, and it’s still doing unnecessary harm to your body. This is the point I try to address throughout my site and why we should treat the root cause of our allergies.
There’s a reason for everything
In addition to the effects on blocking histamine, Diphenhydramine’s anticholinergic effects block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine from functioning properly in the nervous system. Acetylcholine is an important chemical responsible for involuntary movement of muscles in your digestive system, lungs and heart. This may be the primary reason why you experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping Benadryl cold-turkey.
Although blocking the ability of your muscles to work involuntarily sounds bad, it helps with various conditions like psychosis. That, and gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia, respiratory disorders, and motion-sickness for the short term.
Is Benadryl Addictive?
I personally remember taking this antihistamine very frequently early on in my life up until I was a teenager in high school. As a child, my family members gave me Benadryl and other Diphenhydramine generic brands. That’s when I would sneeze excessively due to my seasonal allergies during spring, summer, and fall. Then, I would also have to take one whenever I visited a home with a dog who had short hair. That would trigger my allergies and cause the dog allergy symptoms of an itchy face, tearing eyes, swelling throat, and sneezing.
For the instances in which I came in contact with dogs that I was allergic to, the Benadryl medication helped me for the short term. I think that this is a healthy application for use of this antihistamine because it allowed me to enjoy my family gatherings without inflammatory allergies making me feel bad. However, using it every day for my harsh seasonal allergy symptoms definitely caused a dependency issue.
I could tell that my body was relying on getting supplemented with Diphenhydramine every day. Because when I didn’t take it, I would sneeze intensely (you know, uncontrollably with mucus bursting out of your face and stuff). And I would have allergies even on low pollen days. After researching more about why antihistamine addiction occurs, it seems that the body tries to respond to the blocking of histamine by stimulating production of more histamine.
Body: What’s going on here with this histamine today??
Let’s make it more simple. Our body is like “why isn’t this working? Let’s make more because inflammation is still occurring due to the allergies…” But obviously that isn’t going to work because the Benadryl is blocking histamine’s mechanism of action. You can imagine what’s going to happen when the antihistamine wears off: there’s going to be influx of histamine pouring in. That causes the intense sneezing, headaches, sinus pressure and congestion.
So what’s the simplest way to deal with these symptoms? Take more Benadryl to stop the symptoms for the short term so that you are able to get through your day half-productively, right? But that’s going to make the problem of overproduction of histamine even worse over time.
This is addiction isn’t it? Kinda sounds like a heroin addict needing more heroin to feel normal?
Benadryl Withdrawal Symptoms
For my experience as a child-teenager being addicted to Benadryl, I had taken it on and off up until high school. That was for seasonal allergies, my shellfish allergy, my legume allergy, and my allergy to dogs. However, there was about a year-long period at around age 13 where I would take it every day. I couldn’t stand the withdrawal symptoms, also known as the influx of histamine that it causes.
For me, I suffered from a very strange rash going through the withdrawal from Benadryl and it would appear on my inverse elbow… Or my elbow ditch/the area on my arm where it bends. LOL whatever it’s called, I guess I would get weird rashes here, as well as the same spot on my legs. I was a very uncomfortable and anxious teenager, so I would scratch at the rashes until they developed into psoriasis. That caused a whole new issue that needed treatment and stuck around for weeks after my withdrawal period ended.
I guess my advice to you would be to not scratch the rash that you may develop. Perhaps, take measures to avoid the discomfort with a natural anti-itch cream or a soothing ingredient like aloe vera gel.
Increased Dizziness During Benadryl Withdrawal
Another Benadryl withdrawal symptom that I had experienced was dizziness that was similar to nausea, but I didn’t really feel the urge to vomit. It would come in waves unexpectedly, even if I was sitting down in place not moving. It felt like I was in class sitting on a ship that was caught in a whirlpool.
I don’t have motion sickness or sea sickness, so perhaps this may make you want to vomit if you do. It was actually kind of entertaining for me because school is extremely boring if you didn’t know, especially in the United States. I would daydream in class and imagine that I was a captain of a ship during a rainstorm (it was raining outside). Maybe I would be fighting a Kraken or battling an enemy pirate ship.
Okay, yeah I’m a very weird person I guess. But this symptom of dizziness may actually be uncomfortable for you if you have fear of losing control emotionally or psychologically. I could tell that this dizziness was caused by malfunction of the nervous system. This can often happen when you don’t get enough restful sleep.
The dizziness may be a good sign that your nervous system is readjusting to the anticholinergic effects of Diphenhydramine, perhaps even healing due to its effect on acetylcholine. In my opinion, stopping your supplementation with Benadryl allows your nervous system to function properly again. After the withdrawing period, I definitely experienced better mental clarity, less brain fog, and increased efficiency of my senses, especially my vision. The best way to deal with this symptom would be to get enough sleep, drink water, and perform light exercise throughout the day.
Diphenhydramine Withdrawal Insomnia
This is the most important withdrawal symptom of Benadryl. It can have the biggest impact on your health and make the other withdrawal symptoms much worse to deal with. Getting enough sleep is always important for general well being, feeling good, and it’s just very relaxing. So, I think we can all agree that it’s awesome.
For me, insomnia had been a problem symptom for me throughout my life up until my early college years, when I discovered the necessity of a regular parasite cleanse, considering common mineral deficiencies, and healthy fasting practices. However, up until then and through high school (Age 18) I really struggled on some days to get to sleep. Yeah, even if I had exercised, gotten enough sunlight, and avoided caffeine or other stimulant drugs. That’s why I thought that I needed Benadryl for most nights because it definitely knocked me out when I needed it to.
The help with sleep that you get from Diphenhydramine OTC is due to its anticholinergic effects on the nervous system, not its antihistamine effects. It causes drowsiness in a similar way that alcohol does, but this side effect and its intensity varies with each individual person. Some don’t even get drowsy at all when they take Benadryl.
Help You Get to Sleep
When you are going through the withdrawal, insomnia is probably going to be your biggest challenge besides your intensified seasonal allergy symptoms. The best way you can combat it is not with another sleep aid drug, which might contain Diphenhydramine as its main ingredient anyways, but with melatonin.
Melatonin is a chemical compound that is produced naturally in your brain when you are in the darkness. It causes you to get sleepy naturally when it is time for some rest and it allows you to drift off into slower brain wave frequencies for a deeper, more rejuvenated sleep. It is available in supplement form, as the actual isolated chemical that you have in your brain, which is a miracle in medicine.
What’s really important though is that LESS IS MORE, despite what many doctors and supplement companies say. Ideally, you want to take about half a milligram, but one milligram has worked the best for me and helps me fall asleep easily.
Some melatonin supplements contain 5 milligrams or 10 milligrams of melatonin, which is absolutely ridiculous. Taking a dose this high will definitely knock you out. But you may cause harm to your brain and you will develop a dependency on it every day. One milligram has always worked for me no matter what I was withdrawing from. It is a useful supplement that I always keep in my arsenal to get an edge when I need it.
How Long Do the Withdrawal Symptoms Last When You Have A Benadryl Addiction?
Your withdrawal symptoms to Benadryl will last depending on how long you were addicted to this over-the-counter antihistamine. I am also sure that everybody’s health is unique and different. There’s not really a withdrawal timeline that I can make for you. It will obviously be more intense and last longer when you are hooked on it for five years compared to one year.
However, I can tell you how long my Diphenhydramine symptoms lasted. Being addicted to it on and off as a child and then for one straight year of taking it every day and then stopping cold turkey.
The symptoms of withdrawal were noticeable for about a week and a half for my case. I had trouble sleeping for about two weeks, but the first few days were definitely the worst. I really wish that I had melatonin during these first few days. The dizziness actually lasted a few days, maybe three at most. The rash went away after two weeks, although I had scratched one of the rashes on my arm constantly until it developed into psoriasis. It sucked because I needed treatment for weeks after that.
If you are addicted to Benadryl for two years rather than one, I would predict that these withdrawal symptoms will last 50% longer (3 weeks). If you are dependent for three years, around 4 weeks. But that is just a rough estimate determined by the anecdotal stories of those on internet forums. I thank goodness that I wasn’t taking Benadryl daily for that long.
But if I Quit my Addiction to Benadryl, What Do I Do About My Allergies After?
Great question, I was trying to get to that. I know it’s hard to believe but my seasonal allergies and most of my food intolerances are no longer an issue for me. I, and many others now, have treated and diminished their allergies and sensitivities with natural methods and nutrition. There are no drugs or surgeries involved and it’s actually very cheap to do.
Natural Antihistamine with an Allergen-Degrading Enzyme Combination
This is something that I am surprised that many allergy sufferers don’t know about. There are actually natural antihistamine supplements that are non-habit forming. You won’t become addicted to it like with Benadryl, and they are highly effective.
The best one that I’ve tried by far is organic quercetin. It does the exact same job that Benadryl does, except much better and it feels cleaner. It doesn’t make you drowsy, in fact, it gives you a boost of energy and mental clarity like a small cup of coffee. Quercetin is now used in energy drinks that are trying to adapt to natural and safer ingredients that won’t cause heart problems.
Many of you ask whether or not there are any safety complications, dependency issues, or side effects caused by quercetin? The simple answer is no. It seems like this is a safe and natural antihistamine that could easily replace Benadryl. Same for any other over-the-counter or prescription antihistamine for allergies. It also works for a pretty long time, at least six hours for allergy symptoms and the energy boost for around 3 or 4.
I highly recommend the quercetin that I take, which includes an effective allergy enzyme called Bromelain in its ingredients. This natural enzyme, which is found in pineapple, does many great things for your health. It helps you digest complex proteins, destroys pathogens in your gut, and breaks down histamine and allergens in your bloodstream.
This natural allergy supplement is the future. It works incredibly for me.
Intestinal Parasites Cause Allergies and They are EXTREMELY Common
My first step towards treating and getting rid of my allergies, was actually getting rid of one of the causes of my allergies. This actually isn’t crazy talk. Many people don’t know, which is extremely surprising.
I don’t want to gross you out. But, everybody has physical worms in their intestines that act as parasites, steal your nutrition, mate, and defecate. This can be the direct cause of some of your allergies, which was mine.
I wrote in-depth about how intestinal parasites cause allergies here.
If you don’t believe me, look up some videos of people who had no idea they had a parasitic infection. They start doing a parasite cleanse and then poop out huge worms in the toilet as they died. Yes it is extremely gross, even for me: a biologist.
And what do you know, the same was the case for me. I purchased this $20 all-natural parasite cleanse made of spices and fiber and within the first week of taking the capsules, I was pooping out small worms with black and white eggs that looked like rice (which I discovered were ascaris and tapeworm eggs). Then, on the very last day, I ejected a very big foot-long tapeworm out of my bowels and into the toilet (nothing else came out with it).
So Nasty but Needed to Happen!
Yes, it was horrifying, but after that, my food intolerances and seasonal allergies went away completely. I had oral allergy syndrome, making me allergic to most raw fruits and vegetables, and I had allergies to legumes, beans, fish, and many herbs. I promise that I am not lying: the allergies just disappeared after that for some reason. These parasites were the cause of most of my allergies.
Please check out my next steps to curing my allergies. This includes curing my sulfur deficiency and practicing healthy fasting for incredible health benefits along with treating my allergies naturally without drugs or antihistamines.
I feel incredible now, and so do many others. You can too.
Please share your story of Benadryl withdrawal and Diphenhydramine HCl addiction below in the comments! Let’s all get through this together. It’s a few days of suffering for a lifetime of feeling amazing and free.
Talk to you soon,