Mixing any medication with alcohol can be a dangerous combination. Many individuals will mistakenly mix a substance with alcohol thinking that it is safe. Some drugs have more severe reactions than others. So, what happens when you mix Clonidine and Alcohol?
What Is Clonidine?
Clonidine is a centrally acting alpha-agonist hypotensive agent and is commonly prescribed to individuals who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD causes its patients to struggle with basic tasks such as paying attention or retaining focus on one topic for an extended period of time. It is also commonly prescribed for individuals who suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure. Other uses include treatment for anxiety, sleep problems and even opioid withdrawal management.
Clonidine usually comes in an extended release (ER) capsule form. The ER format allows for a steady supply of the drug to be released and activated into the bloodstream over a few hours as a means of providing longer lasting relief.
Clonidine can have a variety of negative side effects such as:
- Body pain
Clonidine for Opioid Withdrawal
Clonidine has been proven to be effective in managing opioid withdrawals. The nature of the chemicals in the drug block signals to the brain which trigger sympathetic nervous system activity. Common withdrawal symptoms for opioids include sweating, watery eyes and restlessness which are all sympathetic reactions. It does not cure the addiction itself, rather it helps make the journey to sobriety easier.
What is Alcohol?
Understanding the dangers of mixing clonidine and alcohol requires understanding on how alcohol affects the body and brain. Ethyl alcohol is not to be mistaken with isopropyl alcohol, the common base ingredient for most alcoholic beverages. It is a central nervous system depressant which means that its primary function on the body is to slow nerve and brain activity. This is why people lose coordination and motor skills when under the influence.
Mixing Clonidine and Alcohol
Intentionally abusing clonidine and alcohol can produce a euphoric high that some individuals chase. Generally, mixing any two drugs will cause the negative effects of each drug to become amplified. Some people also mix the two drugs in order to help them fall asleep easier. Clonidine has sedative effects which, when combined with alcohol’s depressive effects, can make users very drowsy.
However, the downsides greatly outweigh any benefits. Mixing clonidine and alcohol can create intense changes in blood pressure and can cause individuals to lose consciousness. Given the effect clonidine has on the circulatory system, mixing it with alcohol can also increase the potential for a stroke, heart attack, or coma.
Sometimes, individuals will forget that they have taken medication for their hypertension and begin to drink. Accidental mixtures can be even more harmful than intentional ones.
Is Clonidine Addictive?
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), clonidine has a low enough risk for abuse and dependence that it does not rate on their drug scheduling scale. However, clonidine is easy enough to obtain, given that it is not a controlled substance, that it can slowly become an easy choice for individuals. Additionally, alcohol is legal above the age of 21, so the barriers for obtaining the mixture are low.
Over time and with enough use, individuals can become dependent on the mixture and it can develop into a full blown addictive cycle.
Can You Overdose on Clonidine?
Fatal clonidine overdoses are very rare and unlikely to occur. It is a relatively safe drug when taken on its own and even toxic doses have a low mortality rate. However, even though it may not be fatal, an overdose can still cause damage to many critical organs such as the heart and brain. Therefore, clonidine use should be supervised when possible to avoid any chance of experiencing a toxic overdose.
If you or a loved one become addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs, treatment is possible. One of the most effective methods to help treat addiction is to look for the presence of underlying mental health conditions. Co-occurring disorders are very common amongst addiction patients. The mental health condition will feed the addiction and vice versa, which creates an infinite feedback loop. Therefore, simply eliminating one of the factors can not guarantee life-time sobriety. Contact us today so that we can begin to develop the best treatment plan to fit your needs.
About Mountain View
We are a Colorado state licensed extended care treatment program (PHP, IOP, OP) specializing in treating chemical dependency (substance abuse disorder) and its underlying mental health disorders. Not only do we treat “short-term” addiction problems, we also address the underlying causes which lead to substance abuse and relapse.