Treating Alcohol Withdrawal With Hydroxyzine

Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine sometimes used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Treatment for alcohol addiction may include inpatient or outpatient programs.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Alcohol addiction is a serious medical condition that often leads to alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

When it comes to treatment for alcohol abuse, medication is sometimes used to help ease withdrawal symptoms and help wean you off alcohol use.

One kind of medication used for alcohol addiction treatment is hydroxyzine, an antihistamine also known by its brand name as Vistaril.

Though hydroxyzine can be useful in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal, it is no longer the recommended drug for this condition.

As of now, the recommended medications for alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) are benzodiazepines.

That being said, hydroxyzine can still help reduce some of the symptoms associated with withdrawal from alcohol.

Effects Of Hydroxyzine On The Body

Since hydroxyzine is an antihistamine, it may be surprising that this drug is used for alcohol withdrawal.

Hydroxyzine actually has many uses including treating allergy symptoms, sedation, and reducing anxiety.

However, there are certain effects it has on the body that allows it to be effective in alcohol addiction treatment.

Antihistamine Properties

Hydroxyzine has antihistamine properties, which means it blocks histamines.

Histamines are naturally occurring substances that your body makes during allergic reactions.

This effect doesn’t necessarily help in regards to alcohol withdrawal, but does make hydroxyzine effective in other situations, such as treating reactions like hives.

Neurotransmitter Balance

Another effect hydroxyzine has on the body is balancing neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters are molecules your nervous system uses to send messages to other parts of your body.

It has been found that hydroxyzine can affect the levels of serotonin and acetylcholine in your brain.

This may explain why hydroxyzine can help reduce the effects of alcohol withdrawal such as anxiety, agitation, nausea, and vomiting.

How Hydroxyzine Is Taken For Alcohol Withdrawal

Hydroxyzine can be taken in a variety of ways for alcohol withdrawal.

Specifically, the drug comes in a syrup, suspension, tablets, and capsules which are all taken orally.

Hydroxyzine is usually taken three to four times a day, and the dosage varies based on the needs of each person.

Side Effects Of Hydroxyzine Use

Much like any other drug, using hydroxyzine is associated with several side effects.

It’s also important to note that using this medication while drinking alcohol can be incredibly dangerous.

Dry Mouth

One side effect of hydroxyzine is dry mouth. As the name may suggest, this side effect causes an unusually dry mouth.

Abdominal Pain

Hydroxyzine is also associated with abdominal pain and gastrointestinal issues.

This may be due to the fact that hydroxyzine slows down the movement of food through your intestines and stomach.


As mentioned above, hydroxyzine is also likely to cause gastrointestinal issues, one of which is diarrhea.

If you experience diarrhea with the use of this drug, be sure to talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional.


Lastly, hydroxyzine can cause unusual muscle weakness or drowsiness.

It has been found that hydroxyzine may reduce your blood pressure, which could explain these side effects.

These side effects can make it difficult to perform certain tasks or operate machinery, so be sure to take caution.

Treatment Programs For Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol use disorder is a serious matter and can affect anyone. Finding the right alcohol addiction treatment for you is of the utmost importance.

Located in Canton, MA, Bedrock Recovery Center is an established, highly rated facility equipped to help you recover from all kinds of substance abuse.

Treatment at Bedrock varies between individuals but may include alcohol detox, medication-assisted treatment, or inpatient programs.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or your loved one are struggling with substance use, don’t hesitate to call our helpline at Bedrock Recovery Center today and find out about our effective treatment plans.

  1. Mayo Clinic
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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