Tuesday 20 February 2018

Number of people getting alcoholic care rises

Dr Suzi Lyons
Dr Suzi Lyons

Eilish O'Regan, Health Correspondent

THE number of people being treated for chronic alcoholism is on the increase, a new report has revealed.

The majority of those seeking treatment are men, often middle aged – although they started drinking when they were just teenagers.

And growing numbers who have already been through treatment programmes are returning because of compulsive and addictive drinking.

The worrying trends were revealed in a new report from the Health Research Board which found the number of first-time patients fell in 2012, while returning alcoholics increased.

The report found that 40,000 people were treated for drink problems between 2008 and 2012 , most of whom were men.

There was a rise in new cases between 2008 and 2011 – up from 7,940 to 8,604. However, there was a fall in new patients to 8,336 in 2012.

Nearly one-in-five people treated for alcoholism in the course of a year also reported using at least one other drug, the report showed.

The most common drugs used in combination with the alcohol were cannabis, cocaine, tranquillisers and ecstasy, the Health Research Board (HRB) revealed.

HRB lead researcher Dr Suzi Lyons said: "The main concern with using more than one drug is that it increases complexity of cases and often leads to poorer outcomes for the patient.

"The findings revealed that in 2012 two out of three cases coming for treatment were male and on average were around 40 years old."

The average age they started drinking was 16 years – below the legal limit – and this trend has not changed for five years.

The proportion of all cases who were homeless was highest in 2011 at 5.6pc and fell slightly in 2012 to 4.7pc.

Irish Independent

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