The antihistamines diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine have both been linked to the addiction properties. The diphenhydramine is in the class of histamine receptor agonists while the chlorphenamamine is in the class of non-receptor agonist drugs. When these two drugs are used without proper medical supervision, they can cause a wide range of side effects. Some of the common signs of an addiction include: The medical community has been at a standstill over this substance. This has been attributed mainly to the low cost and availability of diphenhydramine products in countries such as the United States. When these two drugs are consumed regularly, they become habit forming. This is because the brain will need to constantly change the amount of neurotransmitters in order to produce a sense of well being. When a person sleeps through the effects of these drugs, they are not experiencing the full effects of their sedative.
Diphenhydramine Addiction concerns
Another area of concern with these drugs is the fact that there is a lack of long term research regarding the long term use of antihistamines. Although many long-term health risks have been discussed, there is still little information available. In recent years, there have been some cases of patients suffering from allergic reactions to antihistamines. A common allergy is Lupus. There have also been cases of depression caused by the use of antihistamines. The most common method of misuse of the sedative antihistamines is through abuse of dosing schedules. There have been cases where individuals have had success in doubling doses in order to achieve the same effect. This is known as “diphenhydramine addiction” and has been attributed to the physical actions of the drug and the subjective feelings of “being tired.” Unfortunately, this also creates an addiction which can be difficult to overcome.
Although long-term research has yet to be conducted, it is clear that the long term use of antihistamines is linked to an addiction which can lead to psychiatric illnesses and mental illnesses such as hallucinations and mania. Although some short-term studies have shown that taking small doses of antihistamines for short periods of time is effective against allergies, the long term consequences of using these medications remain unknown. An interesting study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that those individuals who abused diphenhydramine while not under an anesthetic experienced severe mood swings, increased anxiety levels, confusion and disorientation. This seems to indicate that the body begins to adapt to the drug and in turn creates a tolerance level which increases the risk of abuse.
Although the medical community is still unclear as to the cause of Diphenhydramine addiction, a common denominator seems to be the involvement of psychosis. Because the brain’s neurotransmitters are affected by this drug, individuals suffering from schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder have been found to have a high risk of becoming addicted to this substance. Another factor associated with this type of addiction is the use of the drug in conjunction with other substances. The use of alcohol and cocaine has been found to significantly increase the likelihood that an individual will suffer from an overdose. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the majority of Diphenhydramine users develop a tolerance to the drug, which means that they require larger doses to achieve the same effect. Talk to an addiction specialist today.