Vistaril Medication Abuse And Addiction Dangers

Last Updated: March 11, 2020

Atarax medicine is a powerful drug that can be used as an antihistamine, antidepressant, sedative, and opioid potentiator. The use of Atarax as a prescription drug has become a subject of endless debate in recent years. Researchers have been asking questions about Vistaril medication, especially its addictive potential and general safety. Despite the fact of low addiction potential, it’s still possible to abuse the Vistaril drug.
There are also no conclusive studies on the use of Hydroxyzine and pregnancy issues related to it. At the same time, it is a fact that breast milk excretes Hydroxyzine, there is a general agreement that taking this drug negatively affects fetal development.

Atarax Medicine

The National Center for Biotechnology Information defines Atarax medication as a derivative of Piperazine with antiemetic, anxiolytic, and antihistamine properties. The main components of Atarax are calcium, phosphate, lactose, magnesium, phosphate and an active ingredient known as Hydroxyzine hydrochloride

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Abuse and Dependency

So, is Vistaril a narcotic and can it be abused? It is not a narcotic, but it’s possible to become psychologically addicted to Atarax. Prolonged and extensive abuse of a drug creates an abuse loop. A person may fear to witness the reality without the Hydroxyzine or develop a fear before the withdrawal symptoms. Physically addiction is, however, is not strong and this is one of the benefits of the drug that users outline in Atarax vs. Xanax comparison. Abuse of Hydroxyzine is fueled by its hyper sedation properties, especially when taken in large quantities. One of the Vistaril side effects that comes with hyper sedation is hallucinations.

It is, however, noteworthy that addiction is also possible with small doses, especially among users who use Vistaril regularly. It has also been established that Vistaril high occurs when mixed with an opioid drug such as heroin and morphine. It heightens the effects of these drugs, something that further explains why people use Vistaril or Atarax generic to feel euphoric.

Signs Of Hydroxyzine Addiction

While abuse of non-habit forming drugs (in the physical sense) like Atarax may not be very hazardous, once patients become tolerant to it, addiction sets in. Signs of Vistaril abuse and addiction include:

  • Intentional abuse to cultivate ‘good feeling’.
  • Antihistamine tolerance
  • Intense drowsiness
  • Restlessness
  • Rashes
  • Impatience
  • Coordination problems

Depressed Man Near Wall

Risk factors

Factors that may influence the Hydroxyzine abuse potential:

  • Presence of psychological disorders (bipolar disorder, depression, general anxiety disorder)
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • High impulsivity
  • Constant aggressive behavior
  • Extensive recreational abuse of different drug classes
  • Concomitant use of Vistaril and alcohol alongside the drug abuse

Atarax Abuse Statistics

The statistical data on Vistaril abuse is quite scarce. In 2015, at least 166 000 people (aged 12 and older) misused the Vistaril. At the same time, the number of written prescriptions for the drug is steadily growing each year. This, however, doesn’t mean that there is a mass dependence on the drug. It is also noteworthy that a higher prescription rate running into millions of individuals every year means Hydroxyzine is a drug in high demand. It is a usual practice to prescribe Atarax for anxiety and associated tension.

Hydroxyzine Withdrawal

The withdrawal is also a case with Vistaril. Though Vistaril 50 mg is used to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms, patients who stop taking Atarax often experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. It is especially the case for patients who have used the drug for more than 4 months. The catch is that Atarax medication, like with most drugs used in psychiatric treatment, should be short-term because long-term use often triggers an addiction tendency. It is also important to remember that sudden cessation of use will only worsen the symptoms of Vistaril withdrawal.

In cases of long-term use, doctors recommend detox and close monitoring of patients as a precautionary measure of mitigating the drug’s side effects. In the end, addiction to the drug often makes it even more challenging to cope with withdrawal symptoms.

Man With Insomnia And Clock

Mitigating The Vistaril Withdrawal

The most common Atarax withdrawal symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • extreme fatigue
  • vomiting
  • panic attacks
  • anxiety
  • cravings for the drug
  • stomach pains/cramps
  • constipation
  • poor concentration
  • brain fog
  • insomnia

With the use of proven and efficient methods, it is easy to overcome these symptoms. A detox process may feel uncomfortable at the onset, but with tapering, patients undergoing withdrawal are slowly eased into the process.

Evading The Hydroxyzine Abuse

Physical addiction is possible in patients using Hydroxyzine, a sudden urge/need to take the drug-which then becomes frequent- is tantamount to psychological addiction. Such a behavioral pattern increases the risk of Vistaril overdose as abusers tend to increase the dosage to achieve high. Dealing with drug overdose is tough in this case since Vistaril half-life is about 29 hours and its action can’t be reversed by Naloxone.

Abuse of antihistamine drugs can slowly develop into drug addiction. It then becomes a case of drug dependence one cannot overcome without professional treatment and counseling. It could get worse coping with Vistaril withdrawal symptoms if no consultant is involved in monitoring one’s treatment progress. At a rehab facility, patients go through wide-ranging drug therapies and counseling processes modeled to help individuals recover faster and to overcome drug abuse. All of the recovery programs are based around the patient’s needs; thus, it allows to customize an individual treatment plan.

Page Sources

  1. Hughes, A., Williams, M. R., Lipari, R. N., Bose, J., Copello, E. A. P., & Kroutil, L. A. (2016, September). Prescription drug use and misuse in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. NSDUH Data Review.
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Hydroxyzine, CID=3658,

Published on: March 11th, 2020

Updated on: March 11th, 2020


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