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Hydroxyzine is a popular prescription drug used by individuals to treat anxiety, reduce itching, or induce sedation before a planned surgical procedure. While it is generally considered safe to use hydroxyzine, many people continue to abuse it without realizing the potential dangers it can bring. In addition to various physical side effects, the overuse of hydroxyzine is associated with addiction.

Fortunately, most hydroxyzine side effects can be remedied or prevented with effort and management. However, to receive timely help and support, familiarizing yourself with these adverse effects is imperative to catch them in time.

The exact side effects of hydroxyzine vary from one person to another, depending on their age, sex, dosage and duration of using the drug, and more. However, most people are likely to get hit by the following consequences:

Sedation

One of the most common hydroxyzine side effects for sleep includes excessive sedation to the point that it starts interfering with daily tasks. Hydroxyzine may make users feel drowsier than usual, and this sedation is reported to be more severe than that induced by other medications indicated for anxiety. Many people also report having trouble with focus.

Nausea

People who have just started using hydroxyzine report feeling a little queasy now and then.

Dry Mouth and Eyes

Dryness in the mouth and eyes and blurry vision are other commonly reported hydroxyzine side effects in elderly and younger individuals. Using eye drops and maintaining adequate hydration are usually advised to keep them under control.

Heart Problems

Hydroxyzine is very much capable of causing abnormal heart rhythms, and its regular intake can also mess with the blood pressure, sometimes lowering it to a dangerous extent. The risk of acquiring these side effects is exceptionally high in people with heart issues.

Allergic Reaction

Some people are allergic to hydroxyzine without realizing it. Consumption of this medication by such individuals leads to a potentially life-threatening hypersensitivity reaction characterized by swollen lips, face, and airway, difficulty breathing, and skin rash. If medical help is not sought in time, death may occur within minutes of ingestion.

Fetal Abnormalities

One of the most significant side effects of hydroxyzine in women includes its tendency to induce congenital disabilities in developing babies. For this reason, it is highly advised not to use hydroxyzine if you are pregnant or planning to conceive soon. The drug can also enter the breast milk and transfer to the baby’s body during lactation to induce side effects.

Overdose

While most people consider hydroxyzine a reasonably safe drug compared to similar alternatives, there is always a risk of an overdose. This particular side effect occurs when people try to recover on their own and use hydroxyzine without the advice of a medical professional. The symptoms of a hydroxyzine overdose include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Flushing of skin
  • Problems with urination
  • Seizures
  • Problems with coordination
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Blurry vision
  • Low blood pressure
  • Delirium or hallucinations
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Extreme anxiety

If you or someone around you who uses hydroxyzine is exhibiting the symptoms mentioned above, seek medical help immediately before it proves fatal.

Abuse and Addiction

The recent increase in the number of prescriptions for hydroxyzine indicates its increasing demand. Doctors and patients view it as a medication with lower risks compared to other alternatives like benzodiazepines. Moreover, it is also chosen more frequently because it is physically non-habit forming. However, most are unaware of its tendency to trigger psychological addiction. Additionally, many of them tend to linger on to its use even when they no longer require it just to keep enjoying the euphoria it brings.

There are multiple ways in which people using hydroxyzine may consume it to get high. They may:

  • Keep taking hydroxyzine in higher and higher doses
  • Chew the pills instead of swallowing them with water
  • Crush the tablets and snort its powder
  • Combine hydroxyzine with alcohol or other drugs
  • Dissolve the hydroxyzine pills in water or another solution and inject them into their veins

The high associated with hydroxyzine is euphoric and can quickly eradicate anxiety, the reason behind its high popularity. However, these benefits are commonly abused by many people who use them to uplift their mood or sedate the brain to satisfy their addiction. In the long run, such addiction can destroy lives, relationships, and careers and take a toll on physical health.

Hydroxyzine has many contraindications due to its tendency to interact with other drugs. Some of these drugs include the following:

Amphetamines

The effects of this drug are entirely opposite to that of hydroxyzine.

Diphenhydramine

This medication is also an antihistamine; taking them together may enhance the side effects and increase the risk of an overdose.

Gabapentin

Combining hydroxyzine with gabapentin also increases the intensity of the expected side effects. The combination is hazardous for the elderly.

Opiates

Opiate pain relievers must never be combined with hydroxyzine as the combination may depress the central nervous system, leading to depression and other serious outcomes.

Alcohol

Taking hydroxyzine with alcohol is dangerous as it can negatively affect the functioning of the nervous system. The duo can also impair judgment and make the users engage in risky behaviors.

If you are being prescribed hydroxyzine, don’t forget to inform the doctor about any other drug you are already taking. Refrain from using alcohol or any illicit drug while using hydroxyzine to avoid unwanted side effects.

If you or someone you know has been using hydroxyzine for a long time and frequently suffer from side effects, help is available. The fact that someone continues to use it despite its negative consequences on life indicates a possibility of addiction that requires immediate rehabilitation.

Fortunately, many rehab centers and addiction clinics provide help and support to individuals who wish to come off hydroxyzine addiction. These centers have highly-trained medical staff and addiction specialists who help clients undergo medically-supervised detoxification processes in a safe and comfortable environment. This detox process is often followed by comprehensive behavioral treatment with evidence-based therapies like CBT to break the cycle of addiction and practice long-term sobriety. Once the addiction to hydroxyzine is managed, the side effects are likely to subside on their own.

Do not continue to suffer in silence anymore. Get help today.

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