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Benadryl and psychosis don't get along too well


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In short, I'm allergic to all of wasp and hornet kind. We have huge amounts of baldheaded wasps and yellowjackets. I try to be careful, but I'm half blind and sometimes I just get stung. Monday evening, I was having a lot of audio hallucinations and was very restless and pacing on the porch and a wasp kind and I had a crash. I got stung at the base of the throat and it started to swell shut. I grabbed the Benadryl and took two. My bf couldn't talk me into going to the hospital and I tried to sit it out about 20 minutes after the sting and the benadryl, my hallucinations became so loud that I had to struggle to understand Andrew at all...it changed from the previous chatter and other disturbances to a constant rising and falling chaos of what sounded like continually breaking glass and discordant churchbells ;) Not funny

Big Q. Has anyone else had weird reactions with either Benadryl, benadryl and a bad allergic reaction and psychosis. I've has regular ringing in my ears when stung, but never this din before. Not serious, just curious.

My freindly pharmacy lady said that Benadryl got along well with my other meds. I was wondering if others had had anything like this? :)

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Hi Panz.

Please promise you will go to the hospital next time! Anything allergic that happens from the neck up requires immediate medical attention. Rembember, you throat can swell shut in just minutes.

- Do you have an Epi-Pen? They aren't for routine use, but for life threatening allergic responses can save your life. My allergist suggested I keep one. Talk to your doc.

- Benadryl is usually fairly neutral psychologically and otherwise is quite safe. However, at very high dosages it has a hallucinogenic effect. It isn't abused a lot since the antihistamine effects are not pleasant.

Off hand I don't recall any major drug interaction warnings with it, but you can check your meds at http://www.drugs.com/

hope you feel better.

a.m.

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- Do you have an Epi-Pen? They aren't for routine use, but for life threatening allergic responses can save your life. My allergist suggested I keep one. Talk to your doc.

This is good advice, and it's commonly done for bee/wasp sting allergies. It's possible for your throat to close faster than

oral meds can take effect (one sting may only be an irritation, ten on the other hand ...)

- Benadryl is usually fairly neutral psychologically and otherwise is quite safe. However, at very high dosages it has a hallucinogenic effect. It isn't abused a lot since the antihistamine effects are not pleasant.

The anticholinergic action could allow for a temporary dopamine increase - as that's the standard culprit blamed for

bipolar mania and some psychoses it could make such things worse. However, that effect is usually small enough

that it's rarely strong enough to do worse than ease EPS. Whatever combination of events, stress, and MI that made it

hit you like a tons of bricks - it will be far safer to have an Epi-pen or two handy instead.

BTW, for the benefit of the home audience, the doses of diphenhydramine needed for a "normal" person to hallucinate are

very high and very dangerous and you just really do not want to go there.

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Heya Panz,

Not to put too fine a point on it, but.

Don't be an idiot.

It's impossible to predict the severity of your next reaction!!!!!

;)

Next time you may very well DIE.

I have a wasp allergy. I carry three epipens everywhere I go.

1. sit or lie down and epipen plus benadryl plus pepcid (that's not a misprint, pepcid)

2. call 911 (preferably someone does this at the same time as 1.)

3. lie down with your feet up until the paramedics get there.

4. if you're out camping in the woods far from a phone (this is just a dumb thing for us wasp-allergic people to even *think* about doing) just get to the hospital ASAP.

5. 4. is a last resort. Paramedics have actual medicine and can intubate you so you don't, you know, DIE.

6. After ten minutes repeat epipen.

Always wear the medicalert tag and make sure someone with you also knows how to use the epipen (You might not have time or ability to inject it, you can be unconscious *that fast.*). Your pharmacist will have demonstration epipens.

Whew. Sorry, I feel strongly about anaphylaxis since, you know, DEATH.

And yes Benadryl can do mighty weird things.

But so does anaphylaxis. Which make no mistake you were damned lucky to have survived.

--ncc--

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Heya AM,

;) I was waiting for that question.

I'm not sure there's even any evidence here.

But in the emerg they're (individual MDs/RNs) frequently giving it in the IV with the epi and the Benadryl (diphenhydramine).

Reasoning is:

Pepcid, Zantac ... famotidine, ranitidine are their real names. They're in the family of H2RAs. Histamine type-2 receptor antagonists.

Which are the receptors in the stomach that contribute to acid secretion and reflux.

But maybe there are H2 receptors involved in the overwhelming histaminergic response that goes with anaphylaxis.

So. Add that to the diphenhydramine and you might hit the histamine-2s as well as the histamine-1s.

No RCTs that I can find, so it's crappy evidence to say "everyone does it" and "the names of the drugs make sense" but I also can't find evidence of harm.

At any rate it's in my handy-dandy MedicAlert kit with my epis and my Ben ... diphenhydramine.

--ncc--

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:embarassed: Ok, I'm good and scolded. Going into anaphylactic shock is not even fun at really weird parties

I will get some allergy doggie tags and a supply of Epi-pens...We have a lot of wasps in our area and the heat just seems to make them nastier, so I've been trying to avoid going out when they are at the worst, but I didn't even see this one coming.

Good thought about the pepcid

Thank you guys for caring ;)

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No RCTs that I can find, so it's crappy evidence to say "everyone does it" and "the names of the drugs make sense" but I also can't find evidence of harm.

For patients with Ig antibodies to blood components it's just short of, if not already, SOP to premedicate with both

diphenhydramine and famotidine in addition to any other precautions before administering the components.

For the really system-wide reactions you do have to hit every histamine receptor you can reach.

If you're not a doctor, that's one of the many things you don't want to have to know.

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Some researcher (Charlton, BG) claims that some antihistamines - like diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine - also have an SSRI-like effect. However, I've found no other sources to confirm that claim.

But regardless if it's true or not, becoming dead is not a good alternative to becoming manic, anyway, so diphenhydramine is your friend no matter what.

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Herpie,

I spent some time tracking down Charlton's claims as well. His work is sloppy and generally unsubstantiated. Usually over half of his citations are to himself, unpublished and non-peer reviewed. For those that aren't familiar, Charlton basically claims that individuals can self medicate using OTC drugs.

a.m.

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There's one thing that could confirm that diphenhydramine and SSRIs have *something* in common - both give me noticable akathisia.

But that *something* may be completely unrelated to serotonin reuptake.

By the way, is pseudoephedrine a reasonable choice when epi-pens are absolutely unavailable? (well, assuming you're conscious and can swallow)

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  • 2 years later...
Guest kimbriel

In short, I'm allergic to all of wasp and hornet kind. We have huge amounts of baldheaded wasps and yellowjackets. I try to be careful, but I'm half blind and sometimes I just get stung. Monday evening, I was having a lot of audio hallucinations and was very restless and pacing on the porch and a wasp kind and I had a crash. I got stung at the base of the throat and it started to swell shut. I grabbed the Benadryl and took two. My bf couldn't talk me into going to the hospital and I tried to sit it out about 20 minutes after the sting and the benadryl, my hallucinations became so loud that I had to struggle to understand Andrew at all...it changed from the previous chatter and other disturbances to a constant rising and falling chaos of what sounded like continually breaking glass and discordant churchbells ;) Not funny

Big Q. Has anyone else had weird reactions with either Benadryl, benadryl and a bad allergic reaction and psychosis. I've has regular ringing in my ears when stung, but never this din before. Not serious, just curious.

My freindly pharmacy lady said that Benadryl got along well with my other meds. I was wondering if others had had anything like this? :)

Uh yeah... both of my manic episodes were kicked off by accidental huge doses of benadryl... I was losing sleep before that, but went BATSHIT afterwards. I was trying to take over the counter sleep meds to get sleep, which apparently all contain benadryl. I actually don't think I'm bipolar at all, think I just had an extreme paradox reaction to benadryl.

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Guest kimbriel

Hi Panz.

Please promise you will go to the hospital next time! Anything allergic that happens from the neck up requires immediate medical attention. Rembember, you throat can swell shut in just minutes.

- Do you have an Epi-Pen? They aren't for routine use, but for life threatening allergic responses can save your life. My allergist suggested I keep one. Talk to your doc.

- Benadryl is usually fairly neutral psychologically and otherwise is quite safe. However, at very high dosages it has a hallucinogenic effect. It isn't abused a lot since the antihistamine effects are not pleasant.

Off hand I don't recall any major drug interaction warnings with it, but you can check your meds at [link=http://www.drugs.com/"'>http://www.drugs.com/" target="_blank]http://www.drugs.com/[/link]

hope you feel better.

a.m.

Do you have any studies which show that benadryl is hallucinogenic at high levels? I've been saying this to my pdoc for a couple of years now... he of course has waived it off.

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What constitutes a high level of benadryl?

I was told that liquid benadryl was recommended for stopping anaphylaxis (WHILE YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY TO THE E.R., you silly).

I ordinarily hate all pesticides with a passion-besides the fact that anything that will kill wasps will kill a multitude of other things, I'm desperately allergic to sprays. That having been said, see if you can persuade someone else to spray wasp-killer just around any overhangs on your house, just lightly, and using a hose to spray down and remove any active nests. I have done this in years where the wasps kept showing up in my bedroom, and this seemed to stop them. The spray basically acts as a repellent for a good while...

But upon googling, I also found this bit of homemade niftiness:

[link=http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Wasp-Trap"'>http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Wasp-Trap" target="_blank]http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Wasp-Trap[/link]

And if my wasp problems crop up again, I'm going to try it.

I'm not sure I would recommend trapping for you, panz-it seems like the potential for contact with an angry wasp is just too high.

Edited by SnotAProblem
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Guest kimbriel

What constitutes a high level of benadryl?

I was told that liquid benadryl was recommended for stopping anaphylaxis (WHILE YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY TO THE E.R., you silly).

I ordinarily hate all pesticides with a passion-besides the fact that anything that will kill wasps will kill a multitude of other things, I'm desperately allergic to sprays. That having been said, see if you can persuade someone else to spray wasp-killer just around any overhangs on your house, just lightly, and using a hose to spray down and remove any active nests. I have done this in years where the wasps kept showing up in my bedroom, and this seemed to stop them. The spray basically acts as a repellent for a good while...

But upon googling, I also found this bit of homemade niftiness:

[link=http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Wasp-Trap"'>http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Wasp-Trap" target="_blank]http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Wasp-Trap[/link]

And if my wasp problems crop up again, I'm going to try it.

I'm not sure I would recommend trapping for you, panz-it seems like the potential for contact with an angry wasp is just too high.

Oops sorry about that. Well for me it was 3-4 times the normal dose. And I just went INSANE. Could not think, pulse racing, blood pressure very high... just totally nuts. I RAN to the ER without underwear on (I did put on a skirt). That's when I was 5150'ed.

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I stupidly took an overdose of this medication when I was in a psych ward thinking I would go to sleep. YES I know it was stupid. I went EXTREMELY psychotic. thats where my nurse phobia stems from. I saw hands coming out of the wall, nuclear bombs going off on the celing it was fucking terrifying. I still get flashbacks even now almost 3 years later. I wont touch an antihistamine. It was like taking a hit of Acid. I phoned up all my family and friends whilst whacked out and terrified the complete shit out of them. I ended up on Level 2 obs - within arms reach of a psych nurse. They wanted to transfer me to Psychiatric Intensive Care. My mother couldnt eat for three weeks she was so distressed. My sister took two tablets of Benadryl and got really aggressive and wanted to strangle her dogs and she doesnt even have psych problems.

If anyone is thinking of taking this recreationally, and some people do because I read about it on the net, it is a very bad move, especially if you have psychosis in the first place like me. It has made my psychosis even worse than pot did. I bitterly regret taking it. I was so fucking stupid I could kick myself. Worst thing I ever did hands down

blackbird x

Edited by blackbird
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Guest kimbriel

I stupidly took an overdose of this medication when I was in a psych ward thinking I would go to sleep. YES I know it was stupid. I went EXTREMELY psychotic. thats where my nurse phobia stems from. I saw hands coming out of the wall, nuclear bombs going off on the celing it was fucking terrifying. I still get flashbacks even now almost 3 years later. I wont touch an antihistamine. It was like taking a hit of Acid. I phoned up all my family and friends whilst whacked out and terrified the complete shit out of them. I ended up on Level 2 obs - within arms reach of a psych nurse. They wanted to transfer me to Psychiatric Intensive Care. My mother couldnt eat for three weeks she was so distressed. My sister took two tablets of Benadryl and got really aggressive and wanted to strangle her dogs and she doesnt even have psych problems.

If anyone is thinking of taking this recreationally, and some people do because I read about it on the net, it is a very bad move, especially if you have psychosis in the first place like me. It has made my psychosis even worse than pot did. I bitterly regret taking it. I was so fucking stupid I could kick myself. Worst thing I ever did hands down

blackbird x

Well, honestly, it's not that bad a thing to try. It's SUPPOSED to make you sleepy. The extreme adverse reaction that some people have (myself included) is just coming to light. I really don't think I'm Bipolar at all. My one psychotic and one manic episode were kicked off by large doses of benadryl.

Pot never made me manic/psychotic.

Mushrooms never made me manic/psychotic.

LSD never made me manic/psychotic.

Ecstasy never made me manic/psychotic.

Speed never made me manic/psychotic.

But benadryl, man... I literally cannot explain to anyone how FULLY f-in nuts I went, after those 3 doses of sleep meds...

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Anything over 25mg of Benadryl makes me very agitated and sort of crazy. I tell medical people but it is not an allergy with me. It is just one of those unexpected reactions you get, like opposite from what you expect. Also it is most likely related to benadryl being similar to the antidepressants and since I'm bipolar it all makes sense.

I am careful to not list it as an allergy b/c god forbid I have anaphylactic shock I want them to get it to me and deal with the agitation later. I told a nurse about this recently and she said they would give me the benadryl and if i was agitated they would just slap me. (lol it was so funny) so now I just tell nurses and doc it's better to be agitated than dead so yes give me benadryl and slap me if necessary.

( this is not medical advice and may not be your choice)

Edited by Stars
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  • 1 year later...

Hi, I had a recent similar psychotic experience with a PM pill that contained benadryl. I thought I was having a heart attack or stroke. I ended up going to Emergency Room 4 times in two weeks. Finally, a wise doctor figured out the PM pills had benadryl and she told me that benadryl in it can cause psychosis in 1 out of 100 people. It's a nightmare, I faced death while on the pm pills. I was ready to be commited to mental institution for my own good, I was in hell.

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I stupidly took an overdose of this medication when I was in a psych ward thinking I would go to sleep. YES I know it was stupid. I went EXTREMELY psychotic. thats where my nurse phobia stems from. I saw hands coming out of the wall, nuclear bombs going off on the celing it was fucking terrifying. I still get flashbacks even now almost 3 years later. I wont touch an antihistamine. It was like taking a hit of Acid. I phoned up all my family and friends whilst whacked out and terrified the complete shit out of them. I ended up on Level 2 obs - within arms reach of a psych nurse. They wanted to transfer me to Psychiatric Intensive Care. My mother couldnt eat for three weeks she was so distressed. My sister took two tablets of Benadryl and got really aggressive and wanted to strangle her dogs and she doesnt even have psych problems.

If anyone is thinking of taking this recreationally, and some people do because I read about it on the net, it is a very bad move, especially if you have psychosis in the first place like me. It has made my psychosis even worse than pot did. I bitterly regret taking it. I was so fucking stupid I could kick myself. Worst thing I ever did hands down

blackbird x

Well, honestly, it's not that bad a thing to try. It's SUPPOSED to make you sleepy. The extreme adverse reaction that some people have (myself included) is just coming to light. I really don't think I'm Bipolar at all. My one psychotic and one manic episode were kicked off by large doses of benadryl.

Pot never made me manic/psychotic.

Mushrooms never made me manic/psychotic.

LSD never made me manic/psychotic.

Ecstasy never made me manic/psychotic.

Speed never made me manic/psychotic.

But benadryl, man... I literally cannot explain to anyone how FULLY f-in nuts I went, after those 3 doses of sleep meds...

Interesting.

- Pot made me manic when it was high in THC content, calmed me down when it had CBD

- Mushrooms made me manic

- LSD DEFINITELY made me manic

- Ecstasy made me feel depressed

- Speed made me manic, psychotic, all that fun stuff

Benadryl (up to 75mg) makes me feel calm and eliminates my antipsychotic-induced akathisia (restless, anxious, feeling like I will explode if I don't keep shifting or moving).

I stay away from these now-a-days.

Edited by nibblerd
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  • 2 years later...

I realize this thread kind of died out a few years ago but I wanted to put my two cents out into the world about Benadryl (diphenhydramine hydrochloride) and psychosis. Just a bit of background info about me when my reaction was finally diagnosed: Female, early to mid 20s, great general health with no symptoms of mental health issues, except for an exceptionally bad year of allergies worsened by constant exposure to one particular horse barn (normally seasonal allergies do not bother me in the slightest, still don't. Same goes for horses).

 

After dealing with the sneezing and watery eyes for a day and knowing I would have to go back to the barn for the next week and a half at least, I went to the drug store and got some benadryl OTC.  I took the _NORMAL_ dose per the label on the box and within 36 hours I would swear that the world was coming to Armagedon, that something was wrong somewhere and you could not convince me otherwise. I could not sit still without at least bouncing my foot, nor was I able to concentrate on anything for longer than 2 minutes. The worst of it was that this came to its peak while I was at work supervising others. After realizing that it was probably the medicine (benadryl always made me slightly hyper as a kid), I stopped taking it and after being released from work I immediately took myself to the urgent care, where I was told that it was more than likely indeed causing my "altered mental state" and that my reaction was definitely not normal and I should avoid Benadryl and anything with its active ingredient.  

 

The theory was, best we could figure since most of the acute psychosis events were caused by accidentally taking too much, was that I was ultra sensitive to it or my body could not process it out properly.  I was told to say it was an allergy because we discovered that even one dose would start the problem back up, so for all intents and purposes I am allergic to it.  For an OTC alternative, I was told Claritin would be the best for me for the odd time I needed something.  

 

But! My best advise to anyone who has -any- kind of symptom from a medication (even one that the box says is common) or an allergic reaction, especially if it's moderate to severe, GO see a DOCTOR asap! They know what they're doing and help you get what will help you best.  Everyone is unique and not all medicines will work the same for everyone, that's just a simple rule of nature. 

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Panz, definitely EPI pen!!! I had a friend at work who was allergic to nuts, but accidentially ate some in cookies... Being that we are all uneducated in the seriousness of this allergy, we thought she was being a baby and told her to go take a Benadryl... I know, sounds like we're a bunch of bitches, but this girl was pure evil (I'll blog on that later...but trust me she was a backstabbing harpy!).

Anyways, we ignore her, and she staggers off to the ambulance company next door and next thing you know she's in hospital. Guilt much? Nobody really understood how serious this allergy is, but we do now...

 

And about the Benadryl, I've taken one before several hours between doses of Xanax and it was a *huge*  mistake of epic proportions! My head was buzzing and I was dizzy but incredibly tired...and the buzzing was almost unbearable. IMHO, you might have a sensitivity to Benadryl or it might be interacting with your Klonapin. I totally understand what you went through--that must have been absolutely awful!!!

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