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Clonidine Addiction: Symptoms, Timeline, & Treatment

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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

March 22, 2024

Table of Contents

Clonidine is an antihypertensive medication utilized to manage high blood pressure. The extended-release form of clonidine is used alone or in combination with other medications to address various conditions, including ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Additionally, clonidine is used in the treatment of conditions such as Tourette’s syndrome, anxiety disorders, menstrual pain management, and addiction withdrawal.

If you have been prescribed this medication and you are wondering is the drug clonidine addictive, this guide highlights the following key issues:

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  • Is clonidine addicting?
  • Can clonidine be addictive when taken as directed?
  • Is clonidine habit-forming in the short-term?
  • What are the dangers of clonidine abuse?
  • How to stop taking clonidine safely and comfortably.

Is Clonidine Addictive?

Clonidine has the potential for addiction when used over an extended period. Prolonged use of the medication can lead to the development of tolerance and physical dependence. Over time, clonidine drug addiction may develop.

While clonidine is generally considered less addictive than some other substances, it still poses some risks, particularly due to its availability and low cost. Beyond this, some people who misuse clonidine may also abuse other addictive substances like heroin or prescription medications. The abuse of clonidine further increases the potential for dependence and addiction.

If you are prescribed clonidine, follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully and only use it as prescribed to minimize the risk of dependence and addiction. Clonidine street use should always be avoided.

Clonidine Addiction Symptoms

Clonidine addiction can trigger a range of physical and psychological symptoms. Some common symptoms of clonidine addiction include:

  • Uncontrollable use: Individuals addicted to clonidine may find it challenging to control their intake of the substance, often using it compulsively despite adverse outcomes.
  • Decreased accountability: Clonidine addiction can lead to decreased accountability at home or work. Individuals may neglect their responsibilities and obligations.
  • Increased tolerance: Over time, those addicted to clonidine may develop an increased tolerance to the drug, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects.
  • Physical dependence: Prolonged use of clonidine can result in physical dependence, where the body relies on the substance to function normally. Withdrawal symptoms may manifest upon discontinuation.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: When individuals addicted to clonidine try to quit, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include nervousness, agitation, anxiety, depression, tremors, chronic headaches, insomnia, nausea or vomiting, and increased heart rate.

If you suspect that you have a clonidine addiction, seek help from healthcare professionals or addiction treatment centers. Treatment and support are available to help people overcome addiction to this prescription medication and manage withdrawal symptoms.

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Clonidine Withdrawal Timeline

The clonidine withdrawal timeline can vary from person to person, but this is a general framework:

Early withdrawal (first 1 to 2 days)

Early withdrawal symptoms may present several hours after the last dose of clonidine. These symptoms can include restlessness, anxiety, and increased heart rate.

First week

Withdrawal symptoms tend to increase in intensity throughout the first week after discontinuing clonidine. This period can be challenging, with symptoms like tremors, headaches, increased agitation, and nervous behavior.

Subsequent weeks

While the most intense withdrawal symptoms usually occur in the first week, some people may experience lingering symptoms in the following weeks. These can include mood disturbances, difficulty concentrating, and physical discomfort.


In most cases, clonidine withdrawal symptoms gradually subside over time. That said, the duration and presentation of symptoms may vary depending on dosage, duration of use, and overall health.

Seek medical guidance and support when discontinuing clonidine, especially if you have been using the medication long-term or in high doses. Healthcare professionals can provide appropriate treatment and monitoring to help manage withdrawal symptoms effectively.

Clonidine Addiction Treatment

Treatment for clonidine addiction normally involves several key components to help individuals overcome their addiction and achieve recovery. The first vital step involves detoxification. This process helps individuals safely and gradually reduce their clonidine use while managing withdrawal symptoms. Medical supervision during detox will minimize complications and discomfort.

Following detox, individuals may enter a rehabilitation program. Rehab programs can be inpatient (residential) or outpatient and provide comprehensive therapy and counseling. These programs address the psychological aspects of addiction and teach coping skills for a drug-free life.

Behavioral therapy is a core component of clonidine addiction treatment. Therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and CM (contingency management) help people grappling with addictions identify triggers, develop healthier behaviors, and maintain abstinence.

In some cases, MAT may be used to support clonidine addiction treatment. FDA-approved medications like buprenorphine or methadone may help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Support groups like NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or SMART Recovery provide peer support and a sense of community for individuals in recovery.

After completing formal treatment, most people often benefit from ongoing aftercare services. These can include regular therapy sessions, relapse prevention planning, and continued participation in support groups.

Making positive lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and managing stress, can support long-term recovery.

Clonidine addiction treatment should be tailored to individual needs. A personalized treatment plan developed with the guidance of healthcare professionals will streamline recovery.

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Get Treatment for Clonidine at Renaissance Recovery

If you have become dependent on prescription medications, we can help you address this at Renaissance Recovery in Southern California.

Begin your recovery the right way with our supervised prescription drug detox program. Take advantage of a tapered reduction in dosage and access to medications, emotional care, and clinical care at our luxury beachside facility in Huntington Beach, CA.

After a week or so of detox, move directly into one of the following treatment programs:

The unique nature of all addictions means that individualized treatment delivers the most positive outcomes. Access the following interventions at Renaissance:

When you are ready to live unconstrained by prescription drug addiction, call 866.330.9449.



At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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