Substance Use

What Are the Side Effects of Clonidine Abuse?

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Side Effects of Clonidine Abuse

Clonidine is a medication used to treat high blood pressure or, as its known clinically, hypertension. However, it is also approved to treat several other conditions, ranging from ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome to certain pain conditions. It is sold under the brand names Catapres and Kapvay, among others. Clonidine comes as a tablet and an extended-release (long-acting) tablet. However, you should not take these tablets interchangeably without speaking to a physician. 

Although clonidine offers medicinal benefits, it does have abuse potential. Those who abuse clonidine may do so alongside other drugs, including heroin and prescription painkillers. In these cases, users typically require structured support. Treatment programs help these users address their substance use and mental health. The ultimate goal in these cases is long-term sobriety and optimal health. 

Recognizing the dangers of clonidine abuse could save your life or your loved one’s. Zinnia Health offers a range of treatment programs, including medical detox, inpatient, and outpatient programs. Dive deeper into the treatment process to take the next crucial steps on your road to recovery. 

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What Are the Short-Term Side Effects of Clonidine?

When taking clonidine, you can experience a wide range of effects. One of the main effects is a decreased heart rate, which is why it’s so effective in treating high blood pressure. However, the effects can become complicated and dangerous when you take higher doses than prescribed. 

Some of the common short-term effects include:

  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Headache
  • Hypotension 
  • Emotional instability

Since clonidine can have a sedative effect, taking this medication when operating machinery or a motor vehicle can be dangerous. When combined with other substances, such as alcohol, your risk of a fatal accident escalates.

Putting yourself in risky situations while using is one clear sign that you may require assistance. If you recognize an issue but have yet to address it, now is the time to do so. It could save your life. 

What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Clonidine?

Chronic clonidine use can cause depression. Those predisposed to mental health concerns may experience worsening symptoms. Withdrawing from clonidine can also create feelings of anxiety. If you require dual-diagnosis treatment, it’s recommended that you seek a professional detox treatment facility before you begin a comprehensive treatment program. 

However, the greatest concern surrounding the long-term side effects of clonidine is addiction. Often, abusers don’t feel as though they’re abusing the drug because it is a prescription medication.

For this reason, it’s essential to recognize potential warning signs of clonidine addiction, including the following:

  • An intense urge to take clonidine
  • Feeling the need to take clonidine regularly
  • Taking more clonidine to achieve the same effects 
  • Ensuring you always have a backup supply 
  • Not being able to imagine a life that doesn’t include using clonidine
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, such as vomiting, dizziness, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and headaches 

Clonidine abuse can be fatal, so seeking immediate help is crucial. Zinnia Health provides individualized, comprehensive treatment options. Your treatment plan will help you address your struggles with clonidine while providing mental health support. Ready to take the next step on your road to recovery? Please call us at (855) 430-9439 to discuss your options today. 

How Is Clonidine Abused?

Clonidine is most commonly abused by addicts taking other substances, primarily opiates. Research shows these individuals often take clonidine to decrease the heroin needed to achieve the desired effect and prolong that effect. 

One of the most significant concerns surrounding clonidine abuse is the amount a user takes. Clonidine is rapidly absorbed when taken orally, with the peak blood concentration occurring 2-4 hours post-ingestion. Half-life is between 5 and 13 hours, so toxicity is a concern if you take high doses in a short period. 

One review found that clonidine overdoses do occur. The most common symptoms of clonidine toxicity include central nervous system depression and bradycardia — or slow heart rate.

This scenario can be dangerous and potentially fatal for those with pre-existing heart conditions. The most significant risk of complication occurs when clonidine is combined with other substances. 

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact With Clonidine?

Over the past few decades, misuse and accidental clonidine ingestion have increased, resulting in toxicity concerns. Clonidine toxicity can cause severe respiratory depression and, under certain circumstances, be fatal. 

Mixing other substances with clonidine can create a synergistic effect, including extreme drowsiness and detachment from reality. Some of these substances include benzodiazepines, alcohol, and opioids.

Clonidine can potentiate these substances’ central nervous system-depressive effects, increasing your risk of respiratory depression, loss of consciousness, and, in severe cases, death.

You can also experience negative interactions when taking other medications, including the following:

  • Sleeping pills
  • Anxiety medications
  • Antidepressants 
  • Heart medications
  • Other blood pressure medications

It is recommended that when taking clonidine, you discuss all underlying conditions with your doctor, particularly mental health disorders. Caution is necessary when taking clonidine if you have a history of depression.

Symptoms of depression can worsen alongside chronic use of clonidine. If you are not yet receiving mental health support, speak with a professional to help you address any ongoing concerns. 

Getting the Help You Need

Whether you’re struggling with clonidine abuse or combining this medication with other substances of abuse, you must seek help from medical professionals. If you require clonidine for an underlying health condition and are no longer taking it as prescribed, your initial symptoms could worsen. Adverse effects may be enhanced, including symptoms of clonidine withdrawal. 

If you’re taking higher doses of clonidine than prescribed or are dangerously combining this medication with other prescription drugs, you will benefit from the offerings of a professional treatment center. Zinnia Health has facilities nationwide, providing individuals with the treatment options needed to ensure healthy, drug-free futures. 

You don’t need to live in the shadows of your drug addiction. Help is available, regardless of what substances you’re taking or your current mental health status. Zinnia Health is a leader in health and healing, paving the way for those who require professional, evidence-based support. Learn more about our approach to substance use and our focus on holistic treatment. 

Have questions about the next steps? Wondering if treatment is right for you? Please contact Zinnia Health to discuss your unique needs and goals to help you address your clonidine addiction today. 

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