Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 12-30-2017, 12:25 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 25
Why does diphenhydramine hcl (Benadryl) cause 'worm and spider' hallucinations in many people?

Just came to the U.S. a few days ago for a trip and stocked up on bargains for antihistamimes which I can't find anywhere else in my country.

I wanted to take a lot (not recreationally but for sleeping) but then I rememeber reading on a drug harm reduction forum as well as reading experiences on Erowid that large doses will cause extremely unpleasant or frightening hallucinations. These range from seeing worms on your skin, spiders on the ceiling, dizziness,

What's the cause for this scientifically? Are there specific parts of the brain this drug acts on to produce bad hallucinations instead of 'good' ones like mushrooms and LSD?
#2
Old 12-30-2017, 12:49 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 6,138
It's an anticholinergic which inhibits the parasympathetic nervous system. The PNS brings your body down and handles things like rest and digest. The sympathetic nervous system brings your body up and handles things like fight or flight. The SNS and PNS are in dynamic equilibrium so inhibiting the PNS should result in increased SNS activity. This means that at high doses, Benadryl may in some ways act like a stimulant. Overuse of stimulants can result in stimulant psychosis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stimulant_psychosis

I don't have any first-hand experience with stimulant psychosis but I understand that having creepy critters crawling under your skin is typical of stimulant psychosis.

As for why they would tend to be bad hallucinations: If you let the SNS run wild, your fight or flight response will go through the roof, hence your delusions will tend to be negative and related to threats. Also note how people on crack or meth often pick at their skin; There seems to be something about high doses of stimulants that makes people be hypersensitive, obsessed and irritated with their skin. Mix that with a propensity for delusion and increased threat perception and you have an Indiana Jones crypt under your skin.


Classical psychedelics like LSD are chiefly serotonergic which tends to improve mood.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 12-30-2017 at 12:52 AM.
#3
Old 12-30-2017, 02:03 AM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Fenario
Posts: 1,171
I can personally attest to having, many times, hallucinated a spider on the ceiling in the very earliest moments, like a few seconds, after waking up from sleep. It's always the same, it is kind of blurry, like a child's scribble; is large, like the scale of a tarantula, and has many more legs than an actual spider would have, and it makes a jittery, shaky motion as it gradually fades away. As I said, it lasts for about three or four seconds, beginning immediately after waking up and opening my eyes. It's happened many times. Diphenhydramine wasn't involved, though.

I have also had extremely intense, half-asleep/half-awake, dreamlike adventures on Nyquil or other medicines containing dextromethorphan. I'm not even talking drinking a whole bottle like some people do, just an extra capful or so above the normal dose. Crazy, crazy experiences, during which it's exceptionally difficult to judge whether I'm awake or asleep.
__________________
A hazy shade of winter.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:33 AM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: [email protected].

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: nuanced antonym clod of dirt splinter under fingernail skosh etymology natalie portman beautiful ghostbusters doughboy japan automatic movement sucking penis quiero mean airbag injuries he washers fireguard army tuna and sweetcorn orient and occident rolex refurbishing injury from airbag moonshine sale jaguar car pronunciation ignore alien orders usps tracking inaccurate fever of 109 epil stop matrix synopsis washing raspberries quikrete dye niger pronounce interracial affair rejection lines kirk green sons of moses cat doesn't meow altimeters barometer hindu multiple arms best place to buy vitamins and supplements can i go pick up my package at usps grape pop tarts discontinued bag balm for hemorrhoids how to cut through thick metal old tv off air screen can i use regular tape instead of electrical can you cough in your sleep traci lords penthouse centerfold parliament (cigarette) laser hair removal inside nose squeaky belt or pulley tranquilizers and alcohol are utorrent access is denied open pet scan machine picture why did my power go out and come back on how to transfer answering machine messages to computer broadly sub-saharan african project due tomorrow haven't started can you catch a cold from sex super 8 sound film what does the song la bamba mean in english how to tell if a male cat has been neutered does kanka heal canker sores harbor freight wheel bearing packer what goes good with tequila who sings beverly hills can you get wood cut at lowes what is inside a ping pong ball a correlation demonstrates a cause of behavior is jerry springer show staged bands named after states how high is a two story house adt yard sign amazon