Can an OTC Sleeping Pill Get You High? Not Really
For most people who have used Benadryl either as an allergy medication or as a sleep aide the thought of a Benadryl high may seem silly. Benadryl is a first generation antihistamine that is most commonly used for the acute relief of allergy symptoms like hives, itching and nasal congestion or for its sedative effects as a sleep aide. The most common adverse Benadryl side effects are sedation, dry mouth, constipation, dizziness, and nausea. Less common Benadryl side effects include confusion, hallucinations and agitation. These effects appear to be more common as the Benadryl dosage is increased above the recommended doses the incidence of hallucinations and sedation are increased. This appears to be the basis of Benadryl abuse to achieve a Benadryl high.
Young people seem to always be looking for ways to get high on easily available drugs, and attempts to achieve a Benadryl high seem like a manifestation of this tendency. When Benadryl is in high dosage can lead hallucinations and lightheadedness and a sense of extreme sedation are perceived as a desirable combination of effects that are considered a Benadryl high. These effects are usually noted in addition to very unpleasant nausea, shakiness and sometimes paranoia. Fortunately although the lethal dose of Benadryl is poorly understood in humans, death from Benadryl overdose seems to be very rare. In rats the LD-50 (dose at which half of the time death occurs) is 500mg/kg weight) and is estimated to be over 2000 mg in humans. Typical doses used to achieve a Benadryl high are in the 300-400 mg range.
Almost all people who take this type of overdose of Benadryl will have unpleasant Benadryl side effects like nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, nervousness or anxiety and paranoia. In addition the hallucinations noted with recreational Benadryl over dosage are highly unpredictable. On a quick perusal of the anecdotal web sites discussing Benadryl high essentially every discussion states that they would never try achieving a Benadryl high again because the adverse side effects outweigh the relatively minor Benadryl high. Likely for these reasons abuse of Benadryl in attempts to get a Benadryl high is probably not terribly common, especially as recurrent abuse seems the exception rather than the rule.