Medicines to relieve pain, helping to sleep or to enhance performance are widely used in Swiss households. Their potential for addiction is often underestimated. Sleeping pills and sedatives are often taken for months or years to help combat insomnia, restlessness, stress or anxieties – and dependence slowly creeps up.
To find a way back into a daily routine that is not dictated by your dependence on medications is a slow process and takes time. In addition to treating the physical dependence, a thorough examination of any mental health or social issues will be necessary. You will be supported respectfully by our knowledgeable therapists and physicians. Treatment will be individually tailored to your needs.
This is how we support you:
- addiction treatment: information, assessment and advice, support controlling or reducing consumption, outpatient detox, aftercare and relapse prevention
- psychiatry and psychotherapy: mental health assessment and psychiatric treatment
- GP services: general internal medicine, infectiology
- social care: support in everyday life, e.g. dealing with problems in the social environment, at work, at school or in an apprenticeship, with finances or with the authorities and landlords
- outpatient/legal measures to reinstate a driving licence or to comply with a court order
Would you like to get in touch or do you have any questions regarding treatment? We are there for you, with straightforward and confidential help.
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Frequently asked questions
Is my use of prescription drugs problematic?
If medicines are taken longer than necessary, in a higher dose than prescribed or in absence of a medical indication, we speak of drug overuse. Such overuse can quickly lead to dependence, which means control over consumption is lost. Withdrawal symptoms can occur and a tolerance may develop. To achieve the same effect, the dose needs to be increased constantly.
What are the long-term effects?
Sleeping pills or sedatives taken over a short period of time and in low doses are unlikely to have any negative consequences. If taken over a longer period, the risk for dependence is significant, regardless of the dose. Dependence creates a feeling of compulsion to take the medicines, it diminishes control over consumption, causes withdrawal symptoms when stopping (anxiety, inner restlessness, sweating, trembling, headaches), pushes other interests into the background and lets consumption continue despite harmful consequences.
In addition to this, long-term use can lead to social and mental health problems such as memory lapses, low moods, irritability, emotional detachment, getting exhausted more easily and changes in personality. On top of the above-mentioned problems, which occur especially when the dosage is high, there are further risks:
- accidents – in traffic, at work or during leisure activities – occur more often and falls happen more frequently, especially among elderly people, because of the sedative and muscle relaxant properties of the medicines.
- Sleeping pills or sedatives taken during pregnancy can pose risks to the unborn baby.
- If, in addition to the prescription drugs, other substances such as alcohol are consumed (called polydrug use), serious behavioural disturbances can be triggered. Life-threatening overdoses are also a danger.