Benadryl linked to Dementia
A recent study published by Jama concluded that the use of anti-cholinergics such as Benadryl and Tricyclic antidepressants increased the risk for developing Dementia (including Alzheimers) by 54% if taken for 3 years or more. Anticholinergics block the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, in the brain. Acetylcholine helps with memory and mood in the central nervous system and declines with age.
Many take benadryl for sleep and not just for allergies. There are many alternatives that do not carry the unwanted risks to the brain that should be offered to the patient. Herbs such as stingy nettles and acupuncture is great for chronic sinus congestion. Insomnia responds to lifestyle changes such as meditation, yoga and behavioral modification. Insomnia also responds well to acupuncture and correcting the circadian rhythm in cases of cortisol imbalance.
In short, it is wise to first explore a natural treatments before resorting to more invasive ones. Naturopathic physicians have a large tool box from which to select the most appropriate modality for the patient. This is especially important when treating a chronic disease over a long period of time. Putting the patient on long term medications can increase the risk for more serious diseases that come with age such as Dementia and Alzheimers.