Medication

Help with prescription drug addiction

Medication initially has a beneficial effect.

Prescription drugs can be prescribed to relieve pain or to help someone relax during a stressful period. A single pill or short term use will not do any harm. However, some prescription medicines contain addictive substances. Then there is a risk that you could become dependent on the medicine and can no longer stop taking it. A distinction is often made between addiction to inhalers, opioids (strong painkillers), hypnotic or soporific drugs (sleeping pills) or anxiolytics (sedatives or benzodiazepines).

Prescription drugs can be prescribed to relieve pain or to help someone relax during a stressful period. A single pill or short term use will not do any harm. However, some prescription medicines contain addictive substances. Then there is a risk that you could become dependent on the medicine and can no longer stop taking it. A distinction is often made between addiction to inhalers, opioids (strong painkillers), hypnotic or soporific drugs (sleeping pills) or anxiolytics (sedatives or benzodiazepines).

How can you recognize an addiction to prescription drugs?

An addiction to prescription drugs expresses itself differently in different people

It is estimated that a drug addiction occurs in some 750,000 Dutch people.

Symptoms

The most common addictions are to painkillers, tranquilizers or sedatives, and sleeping pills. How do you know if you are addicted? When you keep needing to take more in order to experience the same effect, or when you stop you experience withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes just the thought of stopping can be unbearable. But medicines do not solve the cause behind the problem.

What are the main prescription drug addiction symptoms?

People with an addiction to prescription drugs often appear drowsy or dazed. If you are abusing prescription medication, you might have trouble concentrating. Life seems to pass you by and you give an impression of being absent. If you try to stop taking the medication, you could experience acute withdrawal symptoms. These include:

  • Depression
  • Nervousness
  • Heightened irritability
  • Anxiousness
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia

What are the effects of prescription medication addiction?

Long-term use of prescription medication can have far-reaching consequences. You could experience mood swings, problems with memory or poor coordination, and you may become increasingly tired and hungry. Abusing prescription medication can also have a negative impact on your social life. It can reduce your sexual appetite, and put increasing pressure on relationships at home and at work. Some people even become aggressive or develop suicidal tendencies.

How does U-center treat an addiction to prescription medication?

At U-center you receive completely personalized treatment. We start by reducing the medication and go on to look into the factors leading to the addiction. Together, we work towards changing the patterns of behaviour that are maintaining the problem. Any underlying issues, your physical condition and your social life all play an important role in the treatment. We will strengthen your mental resistance and help you to stop taking the medication.

Read more about our treatments

Different types of addictive medication

Addicted to painkillers

What are painkillers and how do they work?

Painkillers (analgesics and opioids) are medicines that reduce or take away pain. They do this by blocking the electrical circuits in the nervous system (the pain) and stimulate parts of the brain that produce a feeling of well-being (or “high”). The most effective painkillers are opioids like morphine, codeine, pethidine and methadone.

What are the effects of taking painkillers long term?

But painkillers can be dangerous because they give an initial feeling of euphoria. Taking painkillers over the long term leads to physical dependence. Not only that, but you need an increasing amount to have the same pain relief. If you try to stop you will experience withdrawal symptoms.


What are the symptoms of an addiction to painkillers?

  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Indifference
  • Nausea / vomiting

Addicted to benzodiazepines

What are benzodiazepines?

Sleeping pills and tranquilizers belong to a group of medicines called benzodiazepines, like diazepam, temazepam and oxazepam. Common brand names include Valium and Xanax. These are real tranquilizers, or prescription drugs that have a calming or numbing effect.

What are the effects of benzodiazepines?

They have a soothing effect, relax your muscles and help you to sleep. The accompanying reduction in tension can be really helpful if you have a stressful job, trouble sleeping, or there are tensions at home. What is problematic with this sort of medication is that they suppress underlying emotions, which do not go away. The causes of the problems remain unaddressed.


Who are benzodiazepines prescribed for?

Benzodiazepines, are regularly prescribed to people with anxiety or insomnia, as well as people with depression or burnout. They can help treat certain types of epilepsy and counteract alcohol withdrawal symptoms.


What are the withdrawal symptoms for benzodiazepines?

If you are addicted to a benzodiazepine, you are dependent on it and you can no longer stop taking it. If you try, you may experience the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Sleeping problems
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Acute depression
  • Seizure

Integrated personalized approach

An addiction to prescription medication is often the result of other problems such as anxiety or a traumatic experience. There could be many reasons leading to your addiction. Continuing to take the medicine sustains your complaints. Getting out of this vicious circle requires tailor-made treatment. That is why at U-center we take an integrated, individualised approach. Together, we look at everything that has had an influence on your life, from your personality, relationships, family and work, to your physical health. Together with our treatment team, we research the underlying issues behind the addiction. We help you to change by gaining new insights into the behavioural patterns that are maintaining your addiction.

Intensive treatment programme

U-center offers a seven-week intensive and integrated inpatient treatment programme. Inpatient treatment at our treatment centre near Maastricht gives you the opportunity to work on yourself and your problems with our help and support. Together with your mentor, you will draw up a personal treatment plan which provides you with the necessary guidelines and sets out the goals you wish to achieve. Our professional staff will provide you with all the tools and support. However, your commitment is also of the essence in order to make progress. Our healing environment, consisting of warm and welcoming surroundings and various facilities, ensures that you have every opportunity to work on yourself and provide the space you need. 

Our approach

A new perspective in 7 weeks

Admission procedure

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