What Is Clonidine Used for in Mental Health? Crucial Facts To Know

Physicians and psychiatrists prescribe different types of medicines for different kinds of mental health conditions. Clonidine is one of them.

So, what is clonidine used for in mental health? Clonidine is an a2-adrenergic agonist medication. It is mainly used for ADHD, PTSD, drug withdrawal, Opiate Detoxification, anxiety, hypertension, and so on.

However, Clonidine has side effects too. You have to know when to use it, the use of clonidine for different mental health issues, and what to do if you miss any of its prescribed doses. So, keep reading for overall information about Clonidine.

What Is Clonidine Used for in Mental Health And How to Take It?

The medication clonidine belongs to the central alpha-agonist class, which is an alpha-2 adrenergic receptor. It is a medication that is used to treat a variety of psychological health conditions. That includes ADHD, hypertension, anxiety, drug and alcohol withdrawal, and others.

Clonidine's effects on the brain are mostly felt in the norepinephrine system. It has an effect on norepinephrine that inhibits the action of that neurotransmitter. As a result, it improves-

  • Anxiety
  • Impulsive activities
  • Blood pressure
  • PTSD
  • ADHD
  • Nervousness
  • Sleep disorder
  • Autism,
  • Hyper activities
  •  And other mental disorders

Clonidine is applied through oral application, transdermal administration (skin patch), or Epidural Administration (injection). The dose of application of clonidine is as follows.

StateVersion NameDose
Oral administration/mouth applicationClonidine hydrochloride (Tablet- quick release)  0.1 - 0.8 mg based on the situation
Transdermal administrationClonidine hydrochloride (skin patch)0.1 - 0.3 mg.= All are for every 24 hours
Epidural AdministrationClonidine hydrochloride (injection)0.5 mcg of per kg human body weight

Note: It must be prescribed by a registered and respective doctor

Besides, you have to be patient when you take clonidine for treatment because it starts to impact within 1-2 weeks. On the other hand, the full potential needs several weeks to get the impact.

So, you have to keep taking medicine if you notice your health improvement. Don’t stop taking this as it’s not addictive. But, if you don’t feel good, talk to your doctor.

Use Of Clonidine For Different Mental Health Issues

Some of the most used clonidine in mental health conditions are as follows.

●    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a common mental disorder that mainly affects school-aged children. Aside from this, it could also affect adults too. By the way,  clonidine is used to treat ADHD, which gives a modest effect.

Clonidine is also effective for ADHD insomnia, night awakening, etc.

●    Clonidine For Hypertension

Clonidine is prescribed to lower blood pressure. With this medication, those with resistant hypertension may experience improvement. Essentially, it lowers your heart rate.

Likewise, it lowers the levels of renin, catecholamines, and aldosterone in the serum. Clonidine stimulates the brain cells that aid in blood vessel relaxation. The blood consequently flows smoothly because of it.

●    Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The use and positive effect of clonidine for improving post-traumatic stress disorder are proven. Clonidine reduces PTSD by reducing CNS noradrenergic activity.

A study shows that clonidine significantly improved the PTSD of some Cambodian refugees, including nightmares, and enhanced sleep ability. Basically, it blocks traumatic memories and helps to regain normality.

●    Drug Withdrawal

Drug addiction is such a worst state for people who go through such situations. On the other hand, getting rid of drugs is very difficult. There are many side effects of quitting a drug instantly.

Several symptoms appear when someone quits drugs. Clonidine is used to ease the drug withdrawal impact who just want to entirely get rid of the addiction.

It usually reduces the sympathetic nervous system response to reduce prolonged opioid and other drug withdrawal.

●    Psychogenic Polydipsia (PPD)

The term PPD/water intoxication/self-induced water intoxication is used to indicate compulsive water drinking. It's a phenomenon of drinking excessive water a day which  is more than 3 liters.

This syndrome is seen in health issues like schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, disability of development, etc. So, Clonidine is effective in reducing PPD.

Is There Any Side Effect Using Clonidine?

While using clonidine, some side effects may arise. Among them, some are not that noticeable, and some can be severe that need medical attention. The following table is divided into two parts showing negligible and severe side effects of using clonidine.

Mild Side EffectsSevere Side Effects
DiarrheaSwelling in tongue, eyes, lips, throat, ankles, and other body parts
VomitingBreathing difficulties
Dry mouthHoarseness
ConstipationOminously low heart rate and BP
Pain in abdominal 
Sexual inactivity 
More sleepiness, less hunger 

Note: if you notice severe side effects mentioned above, you should call your doctor as soon as possible. On the other hand, mild side effects may not always stay as mild. They also may get severe for reasons. In this case, don’t ignore it. Go for medical help.

Can You Stop Taking Clonidine Yourself?

This fact is very crucial. You can’t suddenly stop taking clonidine yourself. Taking clonidine regularly creates a system in your body that becomes extremely necessary for your body in the long run.

When you stop taking it, it is almost certain that it will cause severe issues to your body system. You may instantly experience some issues like headaches, depression, vomiting, insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety, etc.

So, it's a must to consult with your physician if you need to stop taking clonidine.

What Is The Side Effect Of Missing A Dose Of Clonidine?

If you miss one of the regular clonidine doses, take it when you remember. By the way, if the time exceeds four hours of the scheduled time, skip it, and go for the next regular dose.

However, the situation might be critical if you miss your dose multiple times consecutively. In this case, you must consult with your physician.


Here are some relevant questions and answers that may help you to get more insight into clonidine.

Q: What To Remember During Taking Clonidine?

Take medicine as per doctor’s prescription. Make sure you take the doses regularly. Also, don’t allow anyone to take your medicine for themselves. Regular checkup is required, both before and after the course starts.

Q: What Is The Risk Of Taking Clonidine?

Primarily, there is no risk reported if you follow the rules of taking the doses properly, even in the long run. Nevertheless, irregular or misuse of clonidine can cause severe health issues, both physical and mental.

Q: What Is The Risk Of overdose Of Clonidine?

Overdosing with clonidine is very risky. If you take more than you are prescribed by mistake, call for an emergency or your doctor. Put yourself in the nearest hospital as soon as possible.

Final Note

So you may now know what is clonidine used for in mental health. By the way, clonidine is a prescription medicine to treat your mental health by improving several mental conditions.

Therefore, you are not permitted to self-medicate with this substance under any circumstances. Besides, when you begin taking it, you are not permitted to quit taking it under any circumstances as well.

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