As rates of substance abuse and dependence continuously increase throughout the United States, more medications are being introduced and marketed to the addiction treatment industry – medications that help with withdrawal symptoms, symptoms associated with post-acute withdrawal, and psychological cravings that all too often lead to relapse. Many of these new medications have not yet been studied effectively, and while they do help to alleviate the more serious symptoms associated with withdrawal, their long-term effects are not yet thoroughly understood. Clonidine is a relatively new medication, but it has been on the market long enough for medical professionals, prescribing physicians, and addiction specialists to understand its functionality as well as its effectiveness and potential long-term effects. This specific prescription medication is entirely safe to use and is utilized as a primary part of many opiate and alcohol detox programs.
How Does Clonidine Assist With Opioid Detox?
Clonidine is part of a class of medicine known as antihypertensives. While it can be used to help alleviate symptoms associated with alcohol detox, it is more frequently prescribed to help with opioid withdrawal. This medication works by blocking certain chemicals within the brain that typically work to trigger the sympathetic nervous system period when these chemicals are blocked, the more physically uncomfortable symptoms of opioid withdrawal are reduced and psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression are also alleviated. There have been several studies conducted that even show clonidine reduces the overall time of detox, sometimes reducing the process from two weeks to just several days.
Clonidine and How it Minimizes Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
It is important to note that prescription medications like clonidine are never standalone solutions – meaning that they proved to be the most effective when used in combination with professional counseling, 12-step meetings, and support groups, and inpatient or outpatient treatment. In most cases, medications like clonidine will be used during the medical detox phase of clinical care, and sometimes into the inpatient treatment phase of care. Medications like this are never used long-term, seeing as some recovering addicts and alcoholics can become reliant on these medications – which generally does not result in long-term sobriety, and ultimately leads to relapse. However, there are many reasons why Clonidine is an important part of the comprehensive medical detox process whenever opiate narcotics like heroin or prescription painkillers are involved. Some of the more prominent reasons include:
- When it comes to Clonidine, you can stop using opioid narcotics immediately – you do not need to taper off of the chemical substance, slowly reducing your dose over time.
- Clonidine effectively eliminates the more severe symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal without producing any euphoric effects, making its potential for abuse extremely low.
- Clonidine can also be used to help treat alcohol dependence and the more severe and potentially life-threatening symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal, by being combined with certain benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium, or Librium.
- Once an individual undergoes opioid withdrawal, he or she is ready to move on to the next stage of the addiction recovery process (which is often impatient treatment). The sooner withdrawal symptoms resolve, the sooner the individual can move on to the next appropriate level of clinical care.
- Administering the drug is simple and uncomplicated. Clonidine comes in an oral tablet and in a patch form – the medical detox team will determine which solution is best for each unique recovery program.
Evoke Wellness – Medically Monitored Detox
At Evoke Wellness, we constantly stay up to date on the newest and most effective methods of opiate detoxification. Upon admission to our detox program, we conduct in-depth evaluations that help us determine whether or not medication-assisted treatment is an ideal option for each unique case. If it is determined that the length of your detoxification period or the symptoms associated with opiate or alcohol withdrawal can be drastically reduced with the use of clonidine, we will start you out on a relatively low dose and see how you react to the medication. for more information on our comprehensive and integrated detox program, please feel free to reach out to us at any point in time.