Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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Long-term high dose Benadryl use

I originally posted this question in the "Abuse" community and now realize that was wrong place to post it so I am re-posting here as I do not see a way to delete or change/expand the communities.  At any rate, thank you for taking the time to read this.

I have talked with only one of my friends about this and I need somewhere to turn for answers or even support.

I've been dating this wonderful man for about 7 months.  We have known each other for six years and have both struggled with opiate addiction in the past.  We are both sober from illegal drugs now.  I take prescribed benzodiazepines, an anti-depressant and Suboxone to help with my opioid cravings.  He does not take anything except Benadryl...It started when he was in the hospital for a long period of time due to an infection.  They were giving it to him there IV and ultimately in pill form.  His first hospitalization was in 2013.  He was in and out of the hospital for awhile but has been out and recovered for almost 2 years.

The issue is, he still takes Benadryl-and not for allergies or once in a while to help get to sleep. He takes it every day-like first thing in the morning.  I'm not sure of the highest dose he's taken but I know he has taken at least tweny five 25 mg pills at one time.  He goes through a 100 ct. bottle of 25 mg pills in 3-4 days, sometimes more and sometimes less.

I'm writing this tonight because I am scared.  I had never seen him so messed up as I did tonight.  He claimed to have only taken 5 pills (125 mg) but I don't know how many he actually took.  At first today, he was kinda surly towards me.  Then he took a shower, after that he was really nice.  We went to the store and then when we got home, we sat down to watch TV.  He couldn't even operate his television.  I think he started hallucinating in some capacity.  We would start to have a conversation and he would say something completely unrelated.  He was also "nodding".  His parents think he just takes it at night to sleep but I know he takes more than that.  I am scared obviously of the short-term effects but more-so the long term ones.  I know there aren't many studies done on very high doses and I know he won't go to a doctor or even admit this to anyone else.
This has happened 2 other times but it was in combination with dramamine...It was really scary, he was driving erratically, running red lights, just really scaring me.  He's been downstairs in the bathroom now for about 45 minutes.  I record some of the things that happen on my phone so he can watch them the next day or whenever he is coherent.  He's so smart, has college degrees, a full time job and is just a wonderful person.  But I'm terrified of what the future holds.  
I'm going to keep this short because I think I've made my basic point.  He says he wants to taper down but I really never know how much he's actually taking.  Has anyone else been dependent/addicted to benadryl at high, frequent doses?  I'm just really scared and sad right now.  It's not just the behavior, I am seriously concerned for his health.  I love this man with all my heart.  Any advice is appreciated.  Thank you!

**I'm going to add something to this since I now have it in the correct community.**
When we were at the store tonight, I was standing by him as he opened his wallet and inside were 2 of the benzodiazepine pills I take.  A few months ago, I had asked him to take some out of my bottle sometimes for when I run low at the end of the month so I can have a few extra.  However, I ran low in December and he never told me he'd taken 2 out to save for me..I have seen him on other drugs mixed with benadryl and I believe him when he says he was saving them for me(although your wallet is about the dumbest place to carry around someone else's prescriptions).  He says he doesn't remember putting them in there and originally they were in a container in his dresser.  I believe him-because when he's on benzos and benadryl he's WAY WORSE.  But I had to wonder...I love him so, so, SO much and it breaks my heart when he's all effed up like this.  I'm not judging, I've been an addict for 12+ years but I just need to know others experiences, with either a loved one or your own experience with benadryl. Low-dose, high-dose, frequent, infrequent.  Anything would help at this point.  Thank you so much.
8 Responses
1742220 tn?1331356727
hey lost ... im going to take a stab at answering though you might not like all i have to say, and i'm no authority ... but it sounds very very complicated, all of this.  let's see ... you're taking subox and benzos?  are you taking them indefinitely?  i don't know anything about subs but i was on a slew of benzos and it was a very ugly story when i detoxed from them.  imo, your guy is into a lot more than benzos and Benedryl ... it sounds unhealthy in all respects.  i take Benedryl almost daily for sleep and allergies, but the most i take is 2 pills (50 mg).  once i was hospitalized for an allergic reaction but i don't think they were giving me near the amounts you mention even then!!!  also you say that you were friends for six years, and dating for 7 months ... can you go back to the friends stage???  lol   I mean ... i get it that you love this man but it sounds like he is not ready for a relationship, and you would do a lot of good to him and yourself by being his friend ... good luck!!!  Meegan
495284 tn?1333894042
I agree with Meeg on this.  You are in a very toxic relationship and the outcome doesnt look good.  You need to take care of yourself here.  We cant control what others do.

Now for the benedryl.......a couple months ago a 16 yr old girl died.  She was in school with my grandson.  They found her body one morning laying face down in mud.  She had suffocated.  The friend she was with the night before was in the hospital due to seizures.  This was from high doses of benedryl.  I hope he gets the help he so desperately needs as this is deadly.  He needs to get honest with his doctor so they can monitor him as he comes off this.
Avatar universal
Well I found out more information as the night wore on....he had found one of my klonopin on the floor and took it-and he reacts HORRIBLY to klonopin(delusions, just really weird stuff), so I guess he decided to shoot up suboxone after that on top of the 5 (or possibly more) benadryl.

I am not taking suboxone indefinitely but benzos I plan to be on as long as possible, I have been for nearly 15 years.

The only other times he has been like this were when he has taken klonopin.  He can take just 1 mg and be totally screwed up.  Whereas I can take 10 and remember everything.  He can take xanax just fine but something about klons doesn't work for him.
Avatar universal
It really isn't as toxic as it sounds-this was just one awful night.  He is the best person in the world and I am not justifying his behavior by any means but he is never like this.  It was a small mistake that he and I now both know causes huge problems.  No more klonopin and yes, he needs to get off the benadryl immediately. I am going to find a taper program and work with him on it.

I don't think he would tell his doctor.  I don't know.  There is absolutely no way I would ever leave his side.  Aside from this reaction to the medication he initially denied taking, he is an amazing person.

I am so sorry to hear about that young girl, that is awful.  I know benadryl can cause many long lasting health issues...I just thought that night that's all he had done.  But it was so much more and I knew it when I found the needles he just blatantly left about the house....broke my heart.  But it was all because of the damn klonopin which he never should have taken....and now we know that.  

meegWpaw, you were definitely spot on.  He was into a lot more that night...I believed him when he told me he didn't take any of my benzos, but after I found everything else it was just so obvious and he kept lying all saturday night from about 8 pm until Monday morning, he finally sobered up.  Even though I saw the mark on his arm and his pupils were pinpoints.  He finally told me the truth and apologized and his parents talked to him about it...His parents don't know the whole story but they did find a spoon which they think had benadryl in it...ugh.  The benadryls gotta stop but this klonopin reaction will never happen again because he will never take it again.  He's too smart.  Something was just off Saturday.

And thank you both for responding so promptly.  I thought I would get an e-mail saying I had responses but it wasn't until I came back to check on this that I saw you two had responded and I appreciate it so much.  I really needed to talk to people that night, and next day as well...it was rough.

495284 tn?1333894042
Thanks for updating us.  Glad he is okay.  Keep us posted on how you 2 are doing~
1742220 tn?1331356727
Yes I'm glad about the update too.  Hope you both are doing okay!  I think you have another post so I'll take a look at that too.  :)
Avatar universal
Thank you!  Everything has been great between us since he came out of that state.  He is actually willing to go see his doctor and be honest about the benadryl which is really good!  He is the most stable, kind person and we've swept the house of syringes and whatnot since.
Avatar universal
Thank you!!  We are both doing really, really well.  I started school yesterday and he is back at work and doing just fine. Of course, he still needs to taper off the benadryl which he will see a doctor for but everything is great between us and he has re-committed to sobriety-and will definitely never take a klonopin again because of the bizarre reaction!

And yes, I posted something for 2 friends of mine last night.  They still use.  I keep my distance to protect my sobriety but I am still there for them to an extent.  Thank you for responding and checking in.  I really like this community, people are pretty nice. :)
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495284 tn?1333894042
City of Dominatrix, MN
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