Citation: Smith. "Dangerous Stuff: An Experience with Diphenhydramine & Alcohol (ID 32362)". Erowid.org. Nov 16, 2007. erowid.org/exp/32362
Recently I experimented with diphenhydramine, with very undesirable results. This is one substance I would definitely not recommend for any purpose other than relieving allergy symptoms. The 'trip' itself is not much fun unless you enjoy being nauseous and completely insane for about six hours. Even if you are able to keep your eyes open long enough to experience the good effects, the minor bit of enjoyment is far exceeded by the physical and mental torment. With readily available alternatives for simply recreational use or to elicit mind-expanding experiences, it seems silly to me now that I abused diphenhydramine at all.
It was a typical Sunday night, and I wasn't ready to let go of the weekend yet, so I popped open a bottle of red wine and proceeded to drink the whole thing (about 4 glasses) over the course of about an hour. Feeling slightly loopy and with my inhibitions dulled, I spontaneously decided to swallow 6 Unisom Maximum Strength capsules, each containing 50mg diphenhydramine, for a total of 300mg. I figured that the worst case scenario would be to fall asleep and wake up groggy in the morning. The best case scenario might be an enjoyable, introspective experience. About an hour later I began to realize that the possibilities could be much worse.
I was lying on the couch watching a movie, and began to have extreme difficulty keeping my eyes open. I also had a strong medicine taste in the back of my throat. My muscles began to ache, and I was having trouble focusing on anything. My vision was distorted and it became very difficult to follow the action on the TV screen. I decided to grab a blanket and just pass out on the couch. As I lay there trying to let myself fall asleep, I felt more and more uncomfortable, both physically and mentally. Thought patterns were highly non-linear and my attention floated groggily from one idea to another without coming to any natural conclusions. Short term memory was virtually nonexistent. Images on the TV screen melted together, as did sounds, many of which were not even there, in retrospect. While my heart rate seemed close to baseline, my breathing was extremely slow. Gradually I drifted off to sleep (around 2 AM, T+2hr), which was really more like a drunken stupor than actual sleep.
I woke up feeling nauseous sometime around 4 AM, and my sense of equilibrium was completely gone. I tried to sit up, wanting to go sleep in my bedroom, but could not figure out which way was up. In the pitch black room, I had no reference to help me find my way out of the couch. I fumbled around, feeling for something familiar, preferably the carpeted floor. My head was swimming and my stomach began to lurch with nausea. I fell off the couch and began flailing my arms wildly in a panic, trying to find my way to the bedroom. Despite knowing I was now lying on the floor, I couldn't seem to figure out which way was up or down. The whole world spun and twisted around me. My head felt like it was being squeezed in a vise, my eyes bulging out of my skull. It seemed as though the floor was rocking back and forth like a ship caught in a storm, and none of the objects were where I expected them to be. I reached toward the coffee table to try to pull myself to my feet, and felt my hand claw at thin air. I fell forward onto my stomach and desperately began crawling across the carpet toward where I hoped to find my bedroom.
When I finally reached my bedroom, I tried to stand up to walk over to the bed. This room was also completely dark, and I immediately tripped over something (probably my own feet) tumbling forward and hitting my head on a bookshelf. I eventually managed to find my bed and crawl up into it, fighting the urge to vomit the whole way. Lying in bed, my thought patterns became extremely annoying, and I hoped I would fall asleep again very soon. I was hearing voices and all sorts of bizarre animal sounds, that were clearly not there. I drifted in and out of sleep for what seemed like an eternity. My mouth became so extremely dry that I could hardly swallow water. I did my best to keep hydrated, stumbling to the kitchen to refill about every twenty minutes. Urination was extremely difficult, partly because I found it so hard to stay on my feet.
I woke up to the sound of my alarm clock sometime later, feeling completely disoriented and confused. I knew I was late for something, but couldn't remember what it was. 'SHIT! I'm late for work!' I thought, and tried to get up to get dressed. I could not stay standing at all, and my coordination was too impaired to even put on a pair of pants. So I called in sick, and went back to bed.
I actually went to work later that day. As soon as I opened my mouth to speak to someone, I realized how difficult it was going to be. At first most of what came out was jibberish, and I had to concentrate to form a real sentence. No one seemed to notice my verbal ineptitude, but several people commented on how tired I looked. Looking in the mirror, I saw that my eyes were bloodshot and sunken into the back of their sockets, with big dark circles underneath. The cotton-mouth from hell did not go away until the next day. My hands were extremely shaky (so that I found it virtually impossible to write) for most of the next day as well. All the while I felt like I was on the verge of having a seizure.
Some people might enjoy feeling like an insane jellyfish rolling from room to room trying to figure out which way is 'up' while fending off sinister voices from all around, but I sure as hell am not one of them. That's why I'm never touching diphenhydramine again. I give this drug zero stars.
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