My struggle with benadryl addiction began when I was getting sober from other substances. I remember being at my mom’s house and taking 4 pills (the equivalent to 100mg of diphenhydramine HCl), about a hour in I closed my eyes and felt this wave of relaxation followed by a series of lucid dreams. It wasn’t much of a “high” but it made me feel different, and as a addict I become fond of almost everything that alters the way I feel and think.
Ever since that night, for the next 3 years, dosing benadryl to help me sleep was a nightly habit that had waves of progression. At its peak I was taking roughly 300mg (12 pills) of the substance a night. Typically I stuck around the 100mg – 150mg mark (4-6 pills).
My desire to quit the substance was I didn’t like depending on something to be able to sleep. I was sober from all other drugs and alcohol which felt very freeing, but this one substance had me tied down and I wanted to be rid of it. Not only that, I was 26 at the time and I had the energy of a old man. Others and myself noticed that I would be extremely groggy at the end of a normal shift, more so then a 26 year old should feel and look. I linked this to my benadryl usage. While benadryl helps you fall asleep by making you drowsy, it also deprives you of REM sleep meaning your getting less meaningful sleep under the influence of benadryl. I wanted to see what my energy levels were like without it.
I tried quitting cold turkey from 100mg a night and just couldn’t do it, looking back it was subtly physical in that I couldn’t fall asleep without it but it was primarily psychological – I felt like I needed it and was unsure why. I think as a recovering addict I struggled letting go because it was my last crutch, it was the last drug I could use to change the way I feel. I enjoyed the drowsy feeling and deep sleep accompanied with benadryl usage, but there was more to it then just enjoying it – I felt like I needed it. I wanted to stop about a year before I successfully ended my benadryl addiction.
So how did I quit?
I tapered down my dosage to 50mg (2 pills) and then just went cold turkey. When I quit cold turkey I remember staying up really late until I was drowsy, with benadryl my typical bed time would be 2:00 AM my first night off it I stayed up until 5:00 AM. I remember struggling with the psychological desire to use the substance, but physically I was able to sleep. After about a week, I stopped desiring the substance. Quitting the benadryl addiction was a lot easier then anticipated. I played it out as some drastic thing in my head, and in reality all I had to do was taper down and fight a small psychological addiction.
What are the benefits?
Since I’ve quit benadryl I have a lot more energy then I use to. In my benadryl addiction I would always want to sleep in, getting up early was something I dreaded, and now I wake up early and actually have energy! I still get tired after working a full shift, but it’s not “un-natural everyone can tell” tired. I also love that I don’t have to depend on a substance nightly or worry about the repercussions to my health!
I wrote this article to reach out to people and let them know they’re not alone. When I was struggling there was so little information I could find, I found some information but none of it seemed solid in providing a experience with a solution.
If you’re struggling feel free to reach out to me:
Philip – 2147349667
Social media: https://www.facebook.com/CGKid219/
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Philip Markoff (Associate of Science) is an online influencer and thought leader on addiction education; he is known as his alias “CG Kid” who’s obtained a large audience primarily on YouTube as a vlogger and journalist. His current sobriety date from polysubstance chemical dependency is June 9th, 2013.