Hydroxyzine, or Atarax, is one of the oldest antihistamine drugs created and is capable of creating euphoric sensations or a ‘hydroxyzine high’ without becoming addictive. This medication was first synthesized in 1956, but it is still widely used today. In fact, it’s one of the most popular antihistamines available due to its effectiveness and versatility.
As an antihistamine, this medication is primarily used to treat allergies. It can provide relief for itching, motion sickness and hyperalgesia. It’s also used to treat anxiety, mood disorders and even opioid or opiate withdrawals. The effectiveness of the drug will depend on one’s biological makeup and condition.
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Hydroxyzine Abuse, Dependence and Addiction
Hydroxyzine has effective anxiolytic, hypnotic and sedative properties. It can induce feelings of relaxation and euphoria. On top of being versatile, this medication does not share any of the abuse, addiction or dependence potentials that come with other similar drugs. This is one of the primary reasons why this medication is extremely appealing to patients since a hydroxyzine high is not going to be too addictive.
Many patients whether hydroxyzine high will lead to abuse and dependence. It is possible, although the demographics that tend to fall victim to hydroxyzine abuse are teenagers.
To get a better idea of how others have reacted to hydroxyzine, check out Erowid for hydroxyzine, Atarax, hydroxyzine pam and Vistaril. This website provides a collection of reports on various experiences others have had with hydroxyzine. It tells you whether they’ve gotten an Atarax high, or whether they felt nothing at all. Check out the hydroxyzine erowid experiences to find out more about the drug.
Common Brand Names of Hydroxyzine
Hydroxyzine is the generic version of the medication. You can find the medication in its generic form easily at pharmacies. The generic forms usually tend to be cheaper. Still, some patients may prefer certain brands instead. The active ingredients and formula can be packaged and sold under the following brands:
Out of all the brands available, Atarax and Vistaril are the most popular. Hydroxyzine can also be found in other medications that contain other chemical compounds as well. This medication is a chemical component of drugs like Marax and Hydrophed. Both treat asthma, and the hydroxyzine within it is enough to cause a hydroxyzine high.
Mechanism of Action for Hydroxyzine
Hydroxyzine often comes in a tablet form, and in strengths starting from 10mg all the way up to 50mg. It can also be administered via an intramuscular injection. The pills are round and either yellow or white in color.
If Atarax or Vistaril is taken orally, it will be rapidly absorbed by the gastrointestinal system. There, it will enter the bloodstream and travel through the body until it reaches cells with histamine receptors.
The chemical structure of hydroxyzine competes with histamines. It will bind to the same receptor sites on cell surfaces. As a result, this medication is a histamine antagonist and prevents it from acting on the body. It suppresses histaminic edema, flares, and pruritus. This drug has quite a high affinity for the receptors, so it will win when competing with histamine. This is one of the reasons why this medication is so effective and popular.
At the subcortical level, binding to the histamine receptor sites yields sedative properties. This is also why the drug can be used as an antiemetic to prevent nausea and vomiting. It is great for treating motion sickness or opioid withdrawal symptoms.
Hydroxyzine has a half-life of approximately 20 to 25 hours. Once it degrades, it is metabolized by the liver and cleared from the body. When broken down, one of the major metabolites of hydroxyzine is cetirizine. Unlike many other medications, metabolizing this drug will not affect the liver at all. This drug has no toxicity.
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Why Atarax Is So Appealing
There’s a huge demand for hydroxyzine, especially for treating anxiety. Unlike benzodiazepines, Atarax is non-habit forming. This means that hydroxyzine does not cause tolerance or dependence even if you achieve a high from hydroxyzine. Since the body does not develop dependence, there are no hydroxyzine withdrawal symptoms. Without any Atarax withdrawal symptoms, it’s easy to quit using the drug. Users can quit cold turkey without having to gradually taper off of the medication.
The only significant side effect of Vistaril is sedation, but this effect tends to subside with time. Some patients also report experiencing mild euphoria or high from taking this medication. This is from interactions at the subcortical level.
Since the addictive potential for this drug is almost non-existent, it is not one of the most abused over-the-counter drugs. Patients can feel safe when taking this medication for anxiety or allergies. They are not going to become dependent on it, like with prescription opioids. Patients also won’t have to take larger doses to get the same effects.
Atarax can be used for long-term treatment of anxiety. While some conditions only require a prescription length of several weeks, some patients have taken this medication for several years without experiencing any negative side effects.
Still, most doctors would recommend following up with patients who are taking Vistaril long-term. This is to ensure that the medication is still doing its job and that patients are not developing any negative effects from the drug. This is true when comparing hydroxyzine vs Xanax.
How Quickly Will You Feel the Effects of Hydroxyzine?
Another benefit of Vistaril is that it is fast-acting. You can feel its effects once the compounds are absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract. If taken orally, the effects are usually felt within 15 to 30 minutes. That’s quite quick in comparison to many other similar drugs.
You can determine when you should take the medication based on when the effects will kick in. For example, if you are taking the medication for motion sickness, take it 30 minutes before you get on the car, plane or train. This way, you’ll already feel the effects of the drug before the condition even has a chance of kicking in.
Dosage Information of Vistaril
The prescribed dosage for hydroxyzine is determined by factors, like your age, medication condition, and weight. Make sure that you take the hydroxyzine dosage as prescribed. Misuse can lead to overdose or unwanted side effects. Take the medication at the prescribed times as well for the best results possible.
With that said, if you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is near the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose, and just take the dose that is next up on the schedule. Do not double your dose. Doubling your dose can be dangerous, and may cause an overdose.
When used to treat anxiety, 50mg of hydroxyzine pam is prescribed to patients for around 12 weeks. The treatment is divided into three daily doses. In comparison to other alternatives like bromazepam, Atarax had the highest efficiency rating. Your doctor may want to adjust your dose depending on how you’re reacting to the drug.
Hydroxyzine Side Effects
Much like many other medications, hydroxyzine can cause some unwanted hydroxyzine side effects. Most of these Atarax side effects are rather mild and will subside with time. If they don’t subside, they can usually be managed. This way, the symptoms will have a less intense effect on your wellbeing.
Understanding what hydroxyzine side effects are normal will help you determine when to seek medical help. Approximately 1% of patients who have taken Atarax, Vistaril or some form of hydroxyzine pamoate have reported the following Vistaril side effects:
- Dry mouth, nose or throat
- Loss of or decreased appetite
- Stomach pains
If you are concerned about Vistaril side effects, speak with your doctor immediately. You should seek medical attention if these Atarax side effects worsen or persist for an extended period of time. In most cases, you will find that the hydroxyzine side effects will slowly disappear with time. After several doses, you shouldn’t experience any hydroxyzine side effects at all.
If you experience hydroxyzine high, the intensity of the high may also disappear with time.
It’s not uncommon for many patients to never experience any Atarax side effects. This is one of the many benefits offered by this medication.
Serious and Severe Atarax Side Effects
In most cases, Vistaril use should not result in any side effects at all; however, everyone’s body is different. Some people may respond negatively to this medication. It may be due to their environment or their genetics that they get a hydroxyzine high.
If you experience any of the more serious Vistaril side effects, there’s a good chance that Vistaril is simply not the medication for you. You should highly consider switching to another alternative. Some of the more serious Atarax side effects that have been reported include:
- Blurry vision
- Difficulties urinating
- Fast heartbeat
- Fatigue, exhaustion or weakness
- Sore throat
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
Stop taking the medication and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the more serious hydroxyzine side effects. You should also stop taking the medication if you start showing signs of an allergic reaction. This might include itching or hives. Continuing to take the medication may be dangerous and deadly.
Atarax Overdose Symptoms
Although hydroxyzine is not addictive, some patients have tried larger doses to see if they get a bigger high or if they can enjoy a stronger euphoric sensation. Although Vistaril is relatively safe, too large of a dose can result in an overdose and can be dangerous.
Common symptoms of a hydroxyzine overdose include:
- Blurry vision
- Decreased awareness or responsiveness
- Difficulties urinating
- Flushed skin
- Hallucinations and psychosis
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heartbeat and palpitations
- Severe sleepiness
- Shaky limbs
- Shortness of breath
If you or someone you know is experiencing a Vistaril overdose, call 9-1-1 immediately. Fortunately, recovery is extremely likely if the individual survives the first 24 hours.
Depending on the severity of the overdose, the affected individual may experience permanent or severe damage to the muscles and brain. The damage will be even more pronounced if the overdose results in a cardiac or respiratory arrest or depression.
In general, those who overdose may be ‘addicted’ to the medication. This would be a psychological addiction since it is impossible to develop dependence or tolerance to the drug. If you are unsure of whether you or someone you know is addicted or not, take one of our addiction quizzes to find out.
Information Needed Before Calling 9-1-1
Calling 9-1-1 is the best way to ensure that the affected individual gets immediate help. To get the best response possible, have the following information ready before calling 9-1-1:
- The age of the individual, as well as their weight
- The name of the product, as well as the strength
- The time when the medication was taken, as well as the amount taken
- Whether the medication is prescribed for the individual or not
Don’t leave out any information. Now is not the time to be shy. If the individual was taking Atarax to get hydroxyzine high, let 9-1-1 know. It’s important to equip the first responders with as much information as they need to make an informed decision about which treatment to use.
Possible Treatments for a Vistaril Overdose
Once the affected individual is brought to a hospital, their vital signs will be carefully monitored. This includes their pulse, their blood pressure, their body temperature and their breathing rate.
Atarax overdose symptoms will be treated with:
- Activated charcoal
- Breathing support, like a ventilator
- Gastric lavage
- Intravenous fluids
Blood and urine tests, as well as chest x-rays and EKGs, will be performed. The type of tests recommended would depend on the patient’s condition, as well as the dosage they took. Many factors come into play to ensure that patients are safe and recovering from the incident, especially if the drug was taken to achieve a hydroxyzine high.
Warnings or Precautions Involved with Taking Hydroxyzine
Before taking hydroxyzine, make sure to let your doctor know if you have any medical conditions or allergies. It’s also important to inform your doctor of the other medications you’re taking to ensure that there will be no adverse effects between the two.
Atarax and Vistaril are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. The medication may affect the fetus. Also, it is not known whether the compounds in this medication will diffuse into breastmilk.
Seniors should also use extra caution if they are taking this medication. This is because the sedative effects of this medication tend to be more pronounced as an individual gets older.
Due to the sedative effects of this medication, don’t drive after you’ve taken it.
Interaction with Medications
Hydroxyzine is known to interact with certain medications and substances. In particular, it’s been known to interact with:
- Psychiatric medications
If you are taking any of those medications, make sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Based on your situation and circumstances, the doctor will either stop one of the medications or change you from one medication to another. Another solution is to change the way that you are taking each of the medications.
If the hydroxyzine side effects and interactions are relatively minor, your doctor may leave everything as it is.
It’s also a good idea to let your doctor know if you are taking any over-the-counter medications or herbal medications. You never know what might potentially interact with the hydroxyzine. While this medication is safe on its own, it can be dangerous when combined with other substances. Don’t take any unnecessary risks.
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Dealing with a Psychological Addiction
While it’s not possible to get physically addicted or even dependent on hydroxyzine, some people may feel the need to take larger and larger doses. This is a form of psychological addiction although it has more to do with one’s mental state than with the medication.
In these situations, you can still seek help from a recovery center, like Northpoint Washington. We’ll help you delve further into the underlying causes behind your addiction. Perhaps, you’re using hydroxyzine as an escape for dealing with other situations, like with a hydroxyzine high. Or, perhaps, you simply have a personality that is prone to addiction.
If you believe that you are misusing hydroxyzine, we can help you learn how to identify triggers and build better habits. We offer therapies like mindfulness-based relapse prevention. While you might not be addicted or be susceptible to relapses, you can learn quite a lot from this type of therapy.
Therapies, like mindfulness-based relapse prevention, will teach you how to be more aware of your own mental state. It will also explore your relationship with addiction.
If you’re interested, contact us for more information. We’re happy to help!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Hydroxyzine be Used to Treat Alcohol Withdrawal?
Up until the late 1960s, hydroxyzine was a medication that was often used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. But the main reason it was used was because doctors really did not have any other options at that time. There were no major studies that had been done on other medications to show that they might be effective.
In 1969, a study was done that showed that Librium was a much better option to use for alcohol withdrawal. Librium is a benzodiazepine. Since that time, benzos have been the top drug of choice for people recovering from alcoholism.
In order to understand why hydroxyzine is not the best choice for alcohol withdrawal, it is important to understand why the symptoms occur. It has to do with two important chemicals in the brain – GABA and glutamate. These chemicals have opposite effects in the brain; glutamate is excitable while GABA is calming.
When you drink alcohol, the effects of GABA are enhanced while glutamate is suppressed. This results in the brain becoming quite sensitive to glutamate. When you stop drinking, the brain becomes over excited because it is no longer being suppressed and no GABA is blocking it.
Benzos fit the GABA receptors in the brain, which calms it down. But hydroxyzine does not, and so it cannot counteract the glutamate in your brain. That makes it a poor choice for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Taking Hydroxyzine Long-Term?
There are some doctors who use hydroxyzine as a type of “rescue” medication for patients with periodic anxiety. It generally is not something that people take long-term unless they are taking it as an allergy medication.
Even so, there are no known risks for the long-term use of hydroxyzine. It is not physically addictive at all.
Are There People Who Should Not Take Hydroxyzine?
Hydroxyzine is quite safe for most anyone to use, whether they take it regularly or not. But it may be contraindicated in certain situations. For example, you should not take it if you:
- Have an allergic reaction to it.
- Have been diagnosed with long QT syndrome or have a family history of it.
- Are in your first or second trimester of pregnancy.
- Have or have had a blockage in your stomach or intestines.
- Have urination issues, such as bladder obstruction.
- Have glaucoma.
- Have heart disease or if your heart beats more slowly than normal.
- Have too little or too much potassium in your blood.
- Have recently suffered a heart attack.
- Are breastfeeding.
Is Hydroxyzine the Same as Xanax?
No, these drugs are not the same, but sometimes people confuse them. Both are available by prescription only, but hydroxyzine is an antihistamine medication used to treat allergic reactions and anxiety.
Xanax is also used to treat anxiety, but it is classified as a benzodiazepine drug. It works by enhancing the effects of GABA in the brain.
Can You Get Addicted to Hydroxyzine?
It is not possible to get physically addicted to hydroxyzine. This could be one of the reasons why doctors may be so willing to prescribe it for their patients. It can be quite effective in the treatment of anxiety and panic attacks.
But even though it is not possible to get physically addicted, it is possible to form a psychological addiction to this medication. This happens when a person has been taking it for a long period of time. As time goes on, they begin to feel as though they need it. Without it, they fear that their symptoms will return.
A psychological addiction can be just as troubling as a physical one. If you believe you are addicted to hydroxyzine, it is important to get the help you need.
What is Drug Rehab?
A drug rehab center is a place people can turn to for help once they get addicted to a drug or alcohol. Many substance abuse treatment programs also treat behavioral addictions like gambling and shopping.
There is a lot that happens during drug rehab. If you choose an inpatient program, you should expect to be there for about 28 days. Some types of addictions require the patient to go through detox when they arrive at the treatment center. But hydroxyzine is not one of those drugs. If you choose to go to rehab for hydroxyzine addiction, you will begin therapy right away.
The goal of drug rehab is to understand what lies at the root of the addiction. A lot of people who use hydroxyzine do so because it helps with their anxiety. That means that they have a co-occurring disorder that needs to be treated appropriately in order to get them off this drug.
In this case, a dual diagnosis treatment program is needed in order for the person to stop using successfully. This type of rehab ensures that both conditions are treated at the same time. It can help the patient understand the connections between them and increase their chances of a positive long-term outcome.
What Happens After You go to Rehab?
Once you have completed rehab, your recovery journey has only just begun. It is so important for you to continue to get help and support from both peers and professionals. While that does not mean you need to remain in an inpatient program long-term, it does mean that you need to continue to get some type of treatment.
For many people, their aftercare following an inpatient stay means going to an intensive outpatient program. Others may do quite well by going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and outpatient therapy. The staff can provide recommendations for the type of treatment they feel you will benefit from the most.
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