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Clonidine Addiction: Side Effects, Detox, Withdrawal, and Treatment

Clonidine Addiction: Side Effects, Detox, Withdrawal, and Treatment

In This Article

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If you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse and/or treatment, please contact Just Believe Detox Center at (877) 497-6180. Our specialists can assess your individual needs and help you get the treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

Clonidine is a prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure. It’s also been prescribed along with other drugs to fight ADHD, menstrual cramping, anxiety, and Tourette’s syndrome. This medication can also be found under the brand names Catapres, Kapvay, and Nexiclon.

Clonidine is also prescribed to help with withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, nicotine, and opioids. In addition to helping manage withdrawal symptoms, it may even help to shorten the timeline of opioid withdrawal.

Clonidine is usually prescribed as a tablet or skin patch, and is typically taken every few hours for the first day of opioid detox. The patient is monitored, and dosage is adjusted from there based on the severity of withdrawal symptoms. It is often prescribed in an in-patient rehab setting, because it can cause uncomfortable side effects such as constipation and vomiting.

Clonidine Addiction

Abusing or misusing Clonidine isn’t common, but it can be potentially life-threatening. Users will combine Clonidine with their drug of choice (heroin, methadone, etc.) because they work together in their system. Taking the Clonidine along with their chosen drug allows them to take less of their particular drug to get the same “high”.

Clonidine is a popular medication used in a large number of detox facilities. Used under medical supervision, it is perfectly safe. But, when it is misused or abused, it can become very dangerous. Serious dependence issues can develop, and some withdrawal symptoms can become so severe that they may even be fatal.

Clonidine Abuse Side Effects

Just like with any prescription drug, the abuse of Clonidine can be dangerous.

People that misuse the drug can expect to experience the following side effects:

  • depression
  • dry mouth
  • mood swings
  • insomnia
  • nightmares
  • constipation
  • sexual dysfunction
  • cold symptoms
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • headaches
  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • hot flashes

Patients should only take Clonidine as directed by a healthcare professional. Misusing or abusing the drug can develop negative, long-lasting side effects.

Signs of Clonidine Addiction

Signs of Clonidine addiction are similar to those of other drugs. Users may fake symptoms to get more of the drug. They may visit other doctors to get extra prescriptions filled, as well.

Starting to take a larger dose than needed is another sign of potential Clonidine addiction. After a while, users build up a tolerance, and need to take more and more of the medication. They may attempt to stop taking Clonidine, but find themselves unable to.

Trying to quit on their own “cold turkey” may cause very severe withdrawal symptoms. This causes a vicious cycle of continuing to use the drug to avoid symptoms of withdrawal. Eventually, people will begin to struggle at work and at home, and even start to forfeit hobbies they used to love in order to keep using Clonidine. The urges to use the drug become so strong that they will do whatever necessary, and spend as much time as necessary, to figure out how to get their next dose.

Clonidine Withdrawal Symptoms

If the drug is stopped abruptly, Clonidine withdrawal symptoms can become very severe. In fact, the symptoms can even become life-threatening.

Common symptoms of Clonidine withdrawal are:

  • nervousness
  • anxiety
  • high blood pressure
  • nausea or vomiting
  • chronic headaches
  • tremors
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • agitation

Some symptoms can be life-threatening. Other lingering symptoms may possibly be treated with therapy. But, if left untreated, they could grow into much larger issues over time. Also, if Clonidine has been abused along with other substances it can complicate the recovery process. This is known as polysubstance abuse, and it can cause very serious and challenging withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, medical detox is the best option for fighting Clonidine addiction.

At a medical detox facility, patients can receive 24/7 care from medical and clinical staff. This helps to reduce the risk of relapse, and provides a simple solution to dealing with complex withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms begin to appear in patients about 12 hours after their last dose. The symptoms will then intensify over the first week, and may even continue for several weeks after.

Treatment Options

Beating Clonidine addiction will require a combination of multiple treatment methods. These typically include detox and rehab followed by some form of aftercare.

As with most drugs, a longer detox period is preferred. Being in a rehab setting longer will not only help to beat Clonidine addiction, but it may even help patients to discover the root causes of their addiction.

Getting to the bottom of what caused their addictive behaviors in the first place will prevent relapse, and make for a strong, sustainable, sober lifestyle after their recovery journey.

Many patients are nervous, uncomfortable, or unsure about what the rehab process will bring. This is normal. It helps to know a little bit more about what can be expected.

During Clonidine rehab, patients will learn about the recovery process. They will be educated on addiction, which may help them understand why they behaved the way they did in the past. Patients will learn about their triggers and how to cope with them. Staff will also assist patients in coping with cravings.

Clonidine rehab will also offer a variety of therapy options to fit what patients are most comfortable with. Residents can choose from group sessions, individual sessions, and family counseling. Family counseling becomes important throughout the recovery process, because people within a resident’s circle need to understand what they’re going through. In addition, patients will gain life skills to help them cope with addiction after rehab and help them stay sober.


Once rehab is over, a patient may opt to continue with an aftercare program. These programs are similar to 12-step community programs as they provide a peer support group. Patients can meet with their group at regularly scheduled times and locations.

At these meetings, former users can share their life experiences, talk about dealing with Clonidine addiction, and share their success stories. Being able to attend groups like this helps to strengthen a recovering user’s support group to further ensure a long life of sobriety.

Meetings are available for all types. People brand new to sober life, as well as people who have been sober for years, can all benefit from an aftercare meeting or community 12-step program. Transitional times, and struggles, can pop up at any time in life. When that happens it’s nice to have these meetings, and a sobriety community, to fall back on.

Although it may be daunting, Clonidine addiction is beatable. With the right help, and dedication to recovery, patients can be living a normal, happy life in no time.

We Believe Recovery Is Possible For Everyone.
If you or a loved one needs help with Clonidine abuse and/or treatment, please call Just Believe Detox Center at (877) 497-6180. Our recovery specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

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