Money worries blamed for spike in addictions
Treatment centre reports sharp rise in number of women seeking help for drug and drink problems
Published 19/09/2010 | 05:00
FINANCIAL pressures and recessionary worries have triggered an alarming spike in addiction problems in Ireland.
A leading Irish addiction treatment centre has revealed that there has been a marked increase in the number of women now seeking treatment for alcohol and drug-related problems, many of whom are 'home-drinkers'.
Over the past decade, Tabor Lodge in Cork has seen the ratio of women to men seeking treatment for addictions soar from 1:2 to 2:3.
Despite mounting problems with drugs, prescription medications and gambling, alcohol remains the primary cause of problems.
A study of addiction problems has revealed that:
- more than 50pc of people in treatment are in the 18-35 year bracket.
- treatment rates for gambling problems have almost doubled over the past 15 years.
- there has been a marked increase in the number of young women seeking help for eating disorders.
- while virtually unknown in the early Nineties, there has been a sharp increase in the number of people now seeking help for heroin addiction.
Counsellors have expressed concern that the majority (almost 80pc) of people seeking help for addiction are dual-addicted -- ie they have alcohol/gambling or alcohol/drug issues.
Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin has paid glowing tribute to Tabor Lodge and the work achieved at other Irish addiction treatment centres.
Mr Martin said that facilities like Tabor Lodge had literally helped save hundreds of lives.
Tabor Lodge -- which was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1989 -- has had to dramatically expand its facilities over the past two decades to cope with demand.
It now operates as an 18-bed residential unit -- but also has special half-way houses for both men and women.
An average of 200 people are admitted to Tabor Lodge for treatment each year and, most months, there is a waiting list.
In 21 years, Tabor Lodge has catered for more than 5,000 patients.
Tabor stressed that addictions such as alcoholism are family problems and Ireland was now expanding support services for the relatives of addicts.
Tabor Lodge chairman Pat Coughlan said it was vital that treatment support services be properly backed and funded.
"We are totally focused on working with patients and their families during early recovery and further down the line so that they are able to look forward to a future free from the tyranny of alcohol and drugs.
"It is imperative that we don't sell our young people short. People who become addicted to alcohol and drugs can make a full recovery and develop an alcohol- and drug-free lifestyle," Mr Coughlan added.
They operate a special family-services programme, which features a four-week introductory course followed by 64-week support and aftercare programmes. People with addiction are helped via a 28-day residential programme.