Clonidine Treatment & Rehab

Clonidine is an antihypertensive drug, meaning it reduces blood pressure. Clonidine is often used during drug and alcohol withdrawal because it treats many common withdrawal symptoms. Clonidine isn’t a controlled substance, but that doesn’t mean abuse and clonidine addiction aren’t possible. There is a growing amount of evidence suggesting clonidine abuse is more common than previously thought.

Clonidine is thought to be a relatively safe medication when used as prescribed and instructed, but there are potential side effects. Some of the most common side effects are constipation, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, depression and changes in mood or behavior.

Understanding Clonidine Abuse

Understanding clonidine abuse first starts with having an understanding of what clonidine is, and how it works.

When someone takes clonidine, it blocks certain chemicals in the brain. The blocked chemicals are ones that trigger the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. When someone takes clonidine, the effects on the central nervous system lead to improved blood flow through blood vessels. This improvement then lowers blood pressure and increases the amount of blood and oxygen able to make it to the heart.

Along with being a blood pressure treatment and medication used in drug and alcohol detox, clonidine is also used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Clonidine may help reduce symptoms of restlessness and increase a person’s ability to focus.

While there are benefits of clonidine for people who need it, what about people who abuse clonidine?

Clonidine abuse occurs in different forms, but primarily this medication is taken with other drugs to increase their effectiveness. For example, one study showed rates of clonidine abuse among people addicted to opioids is higher than originally believed. The reason is that individuals with an opioid addiction may take it is to decrease the amount of heroin required to achieve the desired high. Some people addicted to opioids also used clonidine to increase how long opioids remain effective used.

As a result, doctors are advised to screen for clonidine abuse, particularly among people who have substance use disorders. When administering clonidine during withdrawal treatment, care providers should be especially cautious since there is potential for clonidine abuse.

Some people use clonidine with alcohol or other substances to intensify the effects. Mixing substances can be dangerous and increase the risk of overdosing. Symptoms of a clonidine overdose include:

  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint
  • Feeling cold
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Feeling very tired or extremely weak

Anytime someone uses clonidine without a prescription or outside of how a doctor prescribes it, that is considered drug abuse. This behavior includes taking higher doses than a prescription indicates, using a prescription longer than prescribed or combining it with other substances to increase their effects.

Clonidine Addiction Treatment

For someone struggling with addiction, clonidine addiction treatment is available. A clonidine addiction treatment program might first include a medical detox for a supervised period of withdrawal. When someone completes detox, they may begin an inpatient addiction treatment program or outpatient rehab.

What’s important with clonidine addiction treatment is to find a program for polysubstance abuse in many cases, since this is what occurs most common with clonidine abuse.

Find a Clonidine Rehab Center in Orlando

If you’re struggling with clonidine either on its own or as part of a polysubstance addiction, contact Orlando Recovery Center. A professional representative can help you learn more about clonidine treatment programs and find a match for your needs. Call today, you deserve a healthier future.



Dennison, SJ. “Clonidine Abuse Among Opiate Addicts.” PubMed, 2001. Accessed April 26, 2019.

Agelink, M.W., Dammers, S., Zeit, T. “Clonidine Abuse—Risk in the Psychiatric Population?” European Addiction Research, 1997. Accessed April 26, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer: Orlando Recovery Center aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.