Health body sees rise in numbers being treated for alcohol dependency

File photo.

The number of people treated for alcohol dependency in Ireland in 2017, decreased slightly with a total of 7,653 cases.

Latest treatment figures from the Health Research Board show that alcohol remains ''the main problem drug'' in Ireland.

Senior Researcher with the HRB, Dr Suzi Lyons, said there is a worrying trend of people seeking help when their drink-related issues are already severe.

Dr Lyons said: "We've seen continued increases in the percentage of new cases who are already alcohol-dependent when they present for treatment for the very first time.

"This has increased from 50% in 2011 to 68% in 2017.

"This means that people are presenting when the problem is already really very severe which makes treatment more difficult and recovery more complex."

Dr Lyons went on to say the age at which people start to drink is one statistic that has not changed.

She said: "The average age when people start to first drink is age 16, that hasn't changed over our reporting period.

"Alcohol is a chronic relapsing condition where people have to return time and time again."

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