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Over the last two decades prescription medications have been abused at an alarming rate, especially opioid-based medications.  Substance abusers will often try new drugs in order to experiment or get a different high.  That’s why it’s important to know if drugs for ADHD treatment, alcohol use disorder treatment medicines, or any other drug for substance use disorders or mental illness might be abused for recreational purposes.  Someone with a drug craving, for instance a cocaine craving, may try another substance if they cannot acquire cocaine.  Additionally, people with a dual diagnosis, who struggle with addiction and a mental illness, can have very adverse reactions if they begin to experience withdrawal symptoms and perform dangerous and illegal activities in order to get one substance or another that they think will satisfy their needs. 

If you know dependent individuals or you are someone who uses drugs or drinks alcohol as an escape and you would like to know about available programs that can help, call Resurgence Behavioral Health today. 

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What is Guanfacine?

What is Guanfacine?

Your doctor may have you start taking Guanfacine for a few different reasons. Doses of Guanfacine come in regular tablet and extended release tablet forms.  First, doses of Guanfacine are often prescribed in order to treat high blood pressure.  Both low blood pressure and high blood pressure can be health issues that should not be ignored.  The extended release form of the drug is also used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  ADHD in children occurs in approximately 8.4% of the population, according to the American Psychiatric Association.  Additionally, 2.5% of adults exhibit ADHD symptoms. Some brand names Guanfacine is marketed under are Intuniv and Tenex and it is FDA approved.

High blood pressure is a common condition but that doesn’t mean it should go untreated.  Guanfacine treatment has been FDA approved since 1986.  Patients should avoid drinking alcohol or limit their consumption when taking Guanfacine.  High blood pressure can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of the body. Significant increases in blood pressure may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems.  

If untreated, mental health conditions like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can cause issues in many areas of a person’s life.  ADHD symptoms include issues with impulse control and can lead to drug and alcohol abuse. Previous studies have shown a strong connection between ADHD and substance use disorders, including cocaine dependence.  Individuals who develop a cocaine addiction and also are diagnosed with mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may need a specialized treatment plan for dual diagnosis.

Guanfacine Effects

Most medications prescribed for physical ailments like low blood pressure or high blood pressure, or for mental health conditions like ADHD treatment, can come with some side effects. The side effects of Guanfacine can include the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Decreased sexual ability
  • Decreased appetite
  • Stomach pain

Again, as with many medications, drinking alcohol while taking Guanfacine is not advised. 

Signs of Guanfacine Abuse and Addiction

Guanfacine and Adderall are both medications used to treat ADHD.  Adderall is a stimulant medication and Guanfacine is among nonstimulant medications used to treat the disorder. Multiple comparisons have been made as to whether someone should take Guanfacine vs Adderall  and it depends on their exact ADHD symptoms.  Due to the fact that Guanfacine falls into the category of nonstimulant medications, it is not typically abused and is not considered addictive. 

Guanfacine Withdrawal Symptoms

Intuniv, one of the brand names used for Guanfacine, can have withdrawal symptoms when someone stops using the medication. These can include headaches, tremors, agitation, and nervousness. Abrupt discontinuation, even for patients who are not substance abusers or dependent individuals, can also cause a rapid increase in blood pressure, so maintain contact with your doctor and seek medical attention if necessary when discontinuing the drug.

Long-Term Side Effects of Guanfacine Abuse


  • Blurred vision
  • confusion
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness 
  • sweating
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Some Less common Side Effects:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • cough
  • difficulty with breathing
  • fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • increased need to urinate
  • lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • mental depression
  • noisy breathing
  • passing urine more often
  • tightness in the chest

Guanfacine Addiction Treatment

Guanfacine may not be highly addictive as it is not a stimulant medication but if you have been misusing the drug or any other substances, please call us at Resurgence to discuss treatment options today.

Our Guanfacine addiction treatment center provides comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment through a multitude of Guanfacine addiction treatment programs and addiction therapy services. Upon your admission into a Guanfacine addiction treatment center, our addiction treatment professionals will determine the unique underlying mental health conditions that cause your addiction to Guanfacine. Our addiction therapy services and addiction treatment programs in California include:

Does your Insurance Cover Rehab?

At Resurgence, we accept most PPO insurance. Verify your insurance now.