Clonidine Addiction and Abuse: Learn About the Risks and Where to Find Treatment

Clonidine abuse and addiction have been serious problems in the United States for many years. Because this is a prescription drug, people often do not think they need to go to rehab to recover. But people get addicted to this medication every day, and treatment is often needed to get off it.

Most people who take Clonidine take it for valid reasons. It is not one of the more popular medications that people abuse recreationally, but that does still occur. But even those who take it with a doctor’s prescription can abuse it without really meaning to. It happens more often than most people think.

Whether a person is a recreational abuser of Clonidine or they inadvertently got addicted to it, help is available. Both detox and rehab are often needed to help people recover. But in order to see the need for treatment, it is important to understand the effects of this drug.

What is Clonidine?

Clonidine is a prescription drug that goes by a number of different names. These include:

  • Catapres
  • Kapvay
  • Nexiclon
  • Clophelin

It is used to treat a number of different conditions. Some of these include hypertension, ADHD, anxiety and migraines.

It is also a drug that is frequently used for those who are in drug or alcohol detox facilities. It's been shown to help with withdrawal from opioids, alcohol and even smoking.

Clonidine is classified as a centrally acting alpha-agonist hypotensive agent.

How is Clonidine Given to Patients?

This is a drug that can be given in many different forms. It can be given as:

  • A Clonidine injection. This may decrease the risk of addiction in some people.
  • The Clonidine patch or transdermal film
  • The Clonidine oral tablet. This is probably the easiest type of the drug to abuse.
  • As an extended release tablet.
  • As a compounding powder.

How Serious is Clonidine Addiction?

Clonidine addiction is very serious. Because this drug is used to control blood pressure, controlled doses are an absolute necessity when taking it. Unfortunately, people tend to increase how much Clonidine they use when they find out what it can do.

For someone who suffers from an opiate addiction, Clonidine offers an alternative to taking more opiates. Instead, they can use Clonidine to increase the intensity of the high they experience with the opiates.

As you can see, this presents a real problem. The potential for Clonidine addiction is made even worse by another fact. It's not a drug that is readily recognized as being addictive. This means that many physicians are prescribing the drug without realizing the damage it can do.

How Does a Person Become Addicted to Clonidine?

There are a few ways that people may become addicted to Clonidine. Of course, this is because there are a few different types of addictions.

There are those who choose to abuse Clonidine. These are individuals who may have sought to recover from addiction at some point. However, they eventually learned that Clonidine could be used to intensify their high.

There are also those who honestly thought they were taking Clonidine to help with their addictions. Or, they may have been taking it to help with other medical issues they had. They may have increased the dosage they were taking on their own to get better results. People will often do this as a way to self-medicate. What they don't realize is that this quite often leads to an addiction.

As far as how Clonidine addiction occurs, it has to do with how the brain responds to this drug. This can happen when it is taken for too long, or when dosages are increased unnecessarily.

Medications like Clonidine can lead to increased dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. These are two chemicals that the brain makes on its own, usually. As time goes on, the brain stops doing this because the drug has taken over the job.

Serotonin and dopamine are responsible for making people feel good. They are sometimes known as the “happiness chemicals” in the body. This is why it's so hard to stop this medicine. Clonidine makes them feel normal, and like they can function regularly.

Clonidine abuse is a term that people will frequently use to mean Clonidine addiction. It's important to understand the difference between these two conditions.

When someone is abusing Clonidine, they have not yet formed an addiction to it. This might refer to increasing their dosage of the drug. Clonidine can also be abused in other ways, such as taking the dosages too close together.

For someone who is a Clonidine abuser, they don't feel an internal need to use the drug. They will be able to stop using it without any serious consequences. They won't go through Clonidine withdrawal. They may never even think about the drug again.

Even so, it's important to remember that all Clonidine addictions begin with abuse. For someone who is abusing Clonidine, an addiction can happen at any moment.

Perhaps you've been abusing Clonidine yourself. You may be very concerned that your abuse of this drug has become an addiction. It's important to know the different signs and symptoms of Clonidine addiction. This will allow you to see your relationship with this drug in a clearer light.

Some signs and symptoms of Clonidine addiction include:

  • Frequently using more Clonidine than you intended to use
  • Not being able to control how much or how often you use Clonidine
  • Spending a lot of time recovering from your latest Clonidine use
  • Focusing entirely too much on getting more Clonidine
  • Being unable to fulfill your responsibilities because of your Clonidine use
  • Feeling a strong urge to use Clonidine regularly
  • Using Clonidine even though you know it's causing you problems
  • Going through Clonidine withdrawal when you stop taking the drug

If you have noticed any of the above symptoms, you may have a Clonidine addiction.

Are You a Clonidine Addict? Take a Quiz to Learn More

Maybe you've gone over the above symptoms and signs of addiction to Clonidine, but you're still not convinced. You're not entire sure that what you have is an actual addiction. You may be surprised, but there are many people who feel the exact same way you do.

This doesn't mean that you don't have an addiction. However, it does mean that you need more information. Sometimes, it can be helpful to answer a few more questions about your Clonidine use.

You can do this by taking an addiction quiz. This will give you even more insight, and you'll have access to your results right away.

Clonodine Addiction Quiz

What is the Clonidine High Like?

The Clonidine high is actually quite dangerous. After all, this is a drug that was meant to lower blood pressure. Because of this, the high produces many of the effects you might expect.

The Clonidine high is characterized by:

  • A strong sense of sedation
  • Bouts of dizziness
  • Problems with concentration
  • Numbness in the limbs
  • A very low blood pressure
  • Hearing and vision difficulties
  • An almost constant dry mouth

When paired with opiates like heroin or Oxycontin, some of these effects can be desirable. However, it's easy to see how they also tread along a very dangerous path. The Clonidine high is not really anything like the high experienced with opiate drugs. It does make that high more intense, while adding in effects of its own.

Common Clonidine Side Effects Explained

People who are over the age of 65 are at a greater risk for Clonidine side effects. The risk of Clonidine side effects also increases for people who mix the drug with other drugs. Clonidine is a drug that should not be taken for a longer period of time.

Its side effects include:

  • Feeling extremely sedated and fatigued
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Losing your appetite
  • Gaining weight
  • Experiencing joint pain
  • Dry eyes and blurry vision
  • Symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itchiness all over the body

Clonidine can lead to some dangerous side effects as well. These include:

  • Getting a rash or developing hives
  • Severe breathing issues
  • Problems with swallowing
  • Swelling in various parts of the body, including the legs, face, tongue and lips
  • Becoming hoarse

Anyone experiencing these side effects is urged to contact their doctor right away.

Clonodine Addiction Information

Stopping Clonidine on Your Own: Is it Possible?

People who become addicted to Clonidine frequently try to stop using it on their own. They don't realize the dangers associated with doing so. If you're contemplating stopping Clonidine by yourself, you need to know what can happen.

For the length of time you've been using this drug, Clonidine has kept your blood pressure low. If the drug is stopped abruptly, it can lead to an extremely high blood pressure. This can be dangerous, and in some, it can even be fatal.

Also, Clonidine addiction can lead to withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped. These withdrawal symptoms are hard to cope with. More often than not, they lead people right back to using again.

In a professional setting, Clonidine withdrawal symptoms can be controlled. Some can even be eliminated. Unlike other drugs, Clonidine withdrawal can be dangerous. Some common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Extremely high blood pressure
  • Sudden onset of hallucinations
  • Excessive anxiety or even panic attacks
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Violent mood swings
  • Tremors in the body
  • Becoming very lightheaded
  • Severe agitation

Clonidine withdrawal can also result in the rupture of blood vessels in the brain. This can lead to a loss of consciousness. In some cases, it's even possible to die from Clonidine withdrawal. These symptoms are excellent examples of why one should never stop using Clonidine without supervision.

How Long Does It Take to Withdraw from Clonidine?

The length of time it takes to withdraw from Clonidine differs from person to person. It depends on how much the person was using and whether they were taking any other addictive drugs.

Clonidine withdrawal usually begins within 12 hours after the last dosage of the drug and can last for a significant amount of time without proper treatment. At first, symptoms will be mild. Of course, not everyone experiences all the symptoms on the above list. The timeline may vary based on what other drugs are in the system and how long the person has been an addict.

As time progresses, new withdrawal symptoms may emerge. They will increase in severity, and some may begin sometime within the first week. After that, they will begin to diminish.

This can take some time, and the person is likely to feel very uncomfortable. The entirety of the withdrawal process can last for a few weeks, or even a month or longer in some people if opiates were involved.

For those who do attempt to stop using Clonidine on their own, relapses are very common. When someone relapses, it's usually because they can't manage their withdrawal symptoms. They don't feel right without the drug. However, relapses are dangerous, and they can lead to an overdose.

Studies also show that people who relapse are less likely to seek treatment again. This happens because they feel like a failure and give up on recovery. They also know what to expect, which makes them less inclined to go through the hard aspects of the process a second time. This reason is why it’s so important to make your first attempt at recovery successful by using all the tools available to you, including detox.

Is it Possible to Overdose on Clonidine?

It is possible to overdose on Clonidine, and it actually happens quite often. In many cases, overdoses are accidental with this medication. Clonidine addicts will frequently go back to using the drug after they've stopped taking it. This is what's known as a relapse. Many of them will relapse thinking that they will just quit again. They may have just reached a point where they needed some relief from withdrawal.

Unfortunately, these relapses are what usually lead to overdoses. People will continue on the same dosage of Clonidine that they've been taking all along. What they don't realize is that their tolerance levels have changed drastically. They no longer need the same amount of Clonidine to get the same high. With too much of the drug in their system, their blood pressure can plummet.

Far too many families lose loved ones to overdoses every single year. This doesn't have to be the case with you. If you have a Clonidine addiction, the best thing you can do is to get professional help to stop.

Mixing Clonidine with Other Drugs

While Clonidine is not as addictive as other medications, it can lead to an addiction. This is especially true when it is mixed with other medications, such as opiate drugs. Many addicts will combine their drug of choice with Clonidine. Some of the most common combinations include heroin, methadone and prescription pain medications.

Another common and dangerous combination is mixing it with alcohol. The medication makes people feel more relaxed and can increase sleepiness. When mixed with alcohol, the effect is even more pronounced. It’s often used as a downer to help people sleep.

Clonidine is often taken with heroin or other opiates because it decreases the amount of the other drug needed to get high. It also makes the high last longer, which is the goal of the user. Furthermore, it isn’t a scheduled drug because the likelihood of addiction is low, but it’s often used with other addictive substances. It also increases the risk of side effects from other substances because a person requires less to achieve the desired euphoric feeling.

The right method for Clonidine detox will be chosen carefully, based on each patient's needs. The medical provider will do a complete assessment of the person’s medical health history and discuss options with them before deciding on a course of treatment.

Clonidine can be a dangerous drug. It's usually not recommended to stop taking it abruptly. Doing so can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms that can be difficult to manage. More often than not, people revert back to using it to relieve their withdrawal symptoms.

Tapering off Clonidine is something that should only be attempted by trained professionals. This is done in a medical setting, preferably on an inpatient basis. Even when given as a prescription, doctors will reduce the dosage gradually rather than stopping it all at once. During this time, they will monitor the patient to make sure there are no adverse effects. This becomes even more important for people with high blood pressure. They may need to begin another medication, but supervision is essential since it can react with other blood pressure medications.

Patients are carefully observed for any issues or problems that may result. Usually, tapering off Clonidine is the best way to begin the detox process. This decreases withdrawal and makes the experience much more comfortable.

Types of Detox

You have two options for detoxing. Your treatment provider will conduct an evaluation and exam to determine the best option. The type of detox chosen will also be based on what substances you’ve been mixing and their withdrawal symptoms.

Medical detox is something that can also be done on an inpatient basis. This involves giving the patient medications to help with withdrawal symptoms. It is most often used when the person is also addicted to substances like heroin or other opiates.

However, this method is problematic. Many times, patients became addicted to Clonidine because they were using it for detox purposes. Giving the patient additional medications only increases the chance of more addictions. As this can complicate their recovery, many providers will try to avoid using medicines for detoxing. Instead, they will opt for another method which may be slower but is more effective in the end.

Most detox programs recommend holistic detox. This is a method that is relatively new but one that shows great promise. It is a more natural approach which is safer and yields better results for the long-term.

During holistic detox, the body is able to remove toxins naturally, on its own. The focus is on improving the patient's overall health through diet and exercise. When the patient's health is improved, the body is better equipped to eliminate toxins. Getting the right nutrition can help the system get back to its normal working order sooner while exercise releases feel-good hormones that counteract the anxiety, depression and other mental withdrawal symptoms.

The holistic method of detox is recognized by many experts as the preferred method. It offers no chance of a secondary addiction. It also has been shown to have better long-term results for continued sobriety. Many people who begin these good habits in treatment will continue them afterwards, which reduces the risk of relapse in the future.

Options for Drug Treatment

You can choose from various types of treatment to deal with your Clonidine addiction. The only requirement is that the centers offer treatment for prescription medications.

You may choose outpatient rehab, which is common for prescription medication addictions. You will attend therapy a few times a week around your other responsibilities. Some programs are offered during the day while others may have sessions in the evenings or on weekends.

Inpatient rehab is another option. You will stay in a facility for up to 30 days while attending therapy. This option is best for those who have a long-term addiction or who have been using Clonidine with other drugs.

You can also go to an intensive outpatient rehab, which is more structured than regular outpatient treatment. With this option, you spend all day in therapy and go home at night. For any kind of outpatient program, it’s important that you have a strong support network to keep you on the path to recovery when you are on your own.

Many people think they don’t need drug addiction treatment for a prescription medication, but this is not always the case. Any addiction should be treated seriously because it can be life-altering or life-threatening. Abusing Clonidine or becoming addicted to it is a serious situation, one that you need to deal with.

Co-Occurring Disorders

It’s not uncommon for addiction to go along with a mental health disorder. In fact, this situation has an official name: co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis. Many times, a person will have a mental condition and they will use a drug to self-medicate. It doesn’t actually cure or even treat the condition; it only masks the symptoms.

For a time, the person may feel better and think the drug is working. What happens is the body becomes accustomed to having the drug in the system, and it requires a larger dose for it to continue working. When it doesn’t get more of the drug or you try to stop taking it, the symptoms can get even worse than they were before.

Drugs like Clonidine are used to treat mental health conditions, but when abused, they can complicate the problem. They can result in a co-occurring disorder as you become addicted to the drug and continue to suffer from the mental health disorder.

Clonidine is used to treat attention deficit disorder and severe anxiety. It has also been used for stress along with sleep disorders. It may be prescribed for post-traumatic stress disorder as well as borderline personality disorders. When used for ADD, it is most often given at night as a sedative. It has a calming effect for those who suffer from anxiety or other mental health conditions.

However, it must be monitored to ensure it continues to work and that it’s not being abused. The problem for many people who are being treated for these conditions is they think they’ve stopped working and make changes on their own without approval from their health care provider.

If you suffer from a co-occurring disorder and are abusing Clonidine, you need to treat both conditions. Simply going to an addiction treatment center won’t work if the mental health condition isn’t addressed. When searching for a drug rehab facility, you should choose one that offers help for a dual diagnosis.

You will need to detox from the drug while still managing your mental health condition. This is one reason why going to a detox facility is essential. Otherwise, your condition may worsen which will make it difficult to complete detoxing.

When Your Family Member is Abusing Clonidine

You may have a spouse, child, parent or sibling who is taking the drug, and you’re worried about addiction. You’ve seen behaviors that concern you, such as erratic or secretive behaviors. Perhaps they used Clonidine to stop using another addictive drug, and now you feel they have transferred that addiction to this drug.

You don’t have to feel helpless because there are several steps you can take. You can begin by talking to your loved one and asking them about their use of Clonidine. Perhaps they don’t realize how dangerous it can be, especially for an addict. As you explain what it does and how it can hurt them, you may be able to convince the person to stop taking it.

Let them know help is available and drug treatment centers will help them with the addiction to Clonidine. You can even offer to help them find the right facility and go with them.

If your loved one ignores your concerns or becomes defensive, you may need to get the help from professional services to organize an intervention. This situation becomes more necessary if the person is taking it with other drugs such as heroin. An intervention is a formal event where family and friends of the person who is addicted confront them about their drug use. It’s done in a positive way to get the person to see their need for help.

Statistics show that interventions are often successful, especially when organized and monitored by a professional. If you are in this situation and worried about your family member, you may want to consider an intervention to help you reach your loved one.

Our Inpatient Drug Treatment Program at Northpoint Washington

At Northpoint Washington, we offer an excellent inpatient drug detox and rehab program. We believe that inpatient care is where the majority of our patients need to begin recovering. They need the structure and quality treatment that comes with this level of care.

We are located in Edmonds, Washington. Our facility is small, and we only have 22 patient beds. Our smaller size allows us to focus on our patients in a more personalized way. We invest a lot of time, energy and resources into our patients because we want them to be successful.

Every patient we work with has their own treatment plan, and it is designed to meet their unique needs. We believe that is why we have such a high success rate.

When patients begin our 28-day program, they typically move through three different phases of treatment. This allows us to address every aspect of their addictions and provide for adequate follow-up after rehab.

The first step for someone who is addicted to Clonidine would be to go through the detoxification process. As we mentioned earlier, this is a way to treat withdrawal and remove toxins from the body. Medical detox is often recommended, and patients who take this medication will most likely taper off slowly. This helps to reduce the severity of their symptoms.

The next step is to go through our rehab program. Therapy is absolutely essential for addiction recovery. Our patients meet with their assigned therapist for individual counseling sessions. But additional therapy is recommended as well, including 12-Step meetings, group therapy and family sessions.

The 28 days of rehab usually go by pretty quickly. Before our patients realize it, they are ready to be discharged. We always send them off with a solid aftercare plan that includes all of their follow-up appointments. It is very important for them to follow their aftercare plan, and we cannot stress this point enough. This is what will help them be successful long-term.

Earlier, we mentioned co-occurring disorders and how important it is to treat them during rehab. Dual diagnosis treatment allows people to get help for both of their conditions at the same time. A person who is addicted to Clonidine could be suffering from:

Our goal is to treat these conditions and help to get them under control. Many people do not even realize they have a co-occurring disorder. We will properly diagnose them and make sure they get the treatment they need. That way, they are much less likely to go back to using as a way to self-medicate their symptoms.

The term cross faded typically refers to when people use alcohol and marijuana at the same time. These individuals are said to have cross addictions, but this is a term that applies to any and all drugs.

Many people who are addicted to Clonidine have other addictions as well. For instance, a person may also be addicted to opioid or alcohol. The key is to address every substance abuse problem and help people experience true recovery.

How Much Does Drug Detox and Rehab Cost?

A lot of people put off going to treatment because they are concerned about the cost. It is not cheap to get the best addiction recovery help. Many of the top drug rehabs in the country cost as much as $10,000 per month. That is a price that most people cannot pay on their own.

But the good news is that they do not have to cover the cost of treatment on their own. There are a lot of ways to get help, including through their own health insurance companies.

Health insurance companies are mandated by the United States government to offer benefits to help pay for rehab. This requirement was put into place when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.

The amount of coverage that people have for rehab will vary based on their insurance policies. Some people have insurance that covers the cost in full, but not everyone does. Those who do not will find that they should only have to pay a small co-pay amount.

At Northpoint Washington, we have made it a priority to work with multiple health insurance companies. We want to be able to help as many people as we can. Because we are in-network with so many insurance providers, we can keep the out of pocket costs as low as possible.

Clonidine Addiction Treatment

Learn More About Clonidine Abuse, Addiction and Rehab for Recovery

If you have become addicted to Clonidine, the best thing you can do is to get professional help. Clonidine rehab is available to assist you in your recovery goals.

This is a highly dangerous drug, and it's just as dangerous to stop taking it abruptly. It's much safer to go through a Clonidine detox program first. This will allow you to get through the withdrawal period, and avoid serious medical complications. Once you have finished Clonidine detox, a Clonidine treatment program is beneficial. It will assist you with overcoming the psychological and emotional side of the addiction.

At Northpoint Washington, we've seen an increase in Clonidine addictions. We understand why these addictions occur. We're also prepared to equip you with everything you need to recover. If you have recently found out that you are a Clonidine addict, please don't panic. The right drug rehab center is available to help you every step of the way. We can provide you with the right tools to break free of your Clonidine addiction safely and successfully.

Do you have a Clonidine addiction? Do you need more information about your options for Clonidine rehab and treatment? Please contact us right away.

Talk to a Rehab Specialist

Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.

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