Dr. Robert L. Mick is a psychiatrist and Clinical Director of Park Ridge Chemical Dependency, a service of Unity Health System, in Rochester, N.Y.
Dr. Mick has disclosed that he has no significant relationships with or financial interests in any commercial companies pertaining to this educational activity.
"In practicing addiction medicine and psychiatry, I have found that the judicious use of Ambien or Sonata has a place in the management of early abstinence, especially since insomnia is an oft-cited cause of relapse. However, the use of Benadryl and Vistaril are problematic in the treatment of insomnia and anxiety in the substance dependent population. Patients prescribed these meds are often too somnolent to participate meaningfully in the group process, the foundation of addiction treatment. They often forget didactic material presented to them just hours before. Also, certain patients who receive prn doses for anxiety never miss a dose and often appear giddy. I've surmised that this was a subjective "high" and this has been confirmed on direct questioning of several patients. Indeed, the abuse of antihistamines is not uncommon--I believe these agents should be reserved for poison ivy!"