Addiction treatment services
In the public health service, non-residential treatment is free of charge. Addiction treatment services are provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE) Drug and Alcohol Services. Some services are provided by community and voluntary projects funded by the local or regional Drug and Alcohol Task Force.
Addiction treatment is also available from private service providers.
Addiction can be treated in a residential or non-residential setting, depending on your assessed needs and following a discussion with you about your own personal requirements. Most people are treated in the community in non-residential settings. Some of the treatment options available include:
- Addiction counselling
- Residential programmes
- Group support
If you have mental health needs you can access your local mental health services for additional support.
Depending on your treatment needs, you may be referred back to your GP for ongoing care.
Addiction counsellors can provide:
- An assessment
- Brief intervention
- Counselling (such as cognitive behavioural therapy)
- Onward referral to treatment services
Counselling can be provided on an individual basis or through group counselling.
As well as addiction counselling, community care services may provide other related courses. The issues that addiction presents in relationships may be addressed in family therapy or couples therapy or in support groups for other people who have been affected.
Detoxification removes the physical craving for alcohol or drugs that is a symptom of addiction. Detoxification can take place on an out-patient basis under the supervision of a GP or on an in-patient basis, depending on your assessed needs. Self-detoxification may carry risks and you should always get advice from a professional.
Detoxification does not deal with the psychological issues related to addiction, so further support is usually provided when detoxification is completed. You can talk to your GP about a suitable detoxification programme and treatment plan.
Residential treatment takes you away from your usual environment and access to alcohol or drugs. Treatment is provided on an in-patient basis in a specialist facility. Programmes will generally have a small number of participants. Talk to your GP or local addiction service about your options and appropriate referral to residential treatment.
There are groups that provide support to people recovering from addiction. Groups are generally free of charge. Examples include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
There are also support groups for family members affected by problem alcohol or drug use.
See ‘Where to apply’ to find support groups in your area.
The treatment for addiction to gambling includes an initial assessment, a comprehensive assessment and individual counselling. Services may provide financial advice and onward referral to other services and supports where appropriate, for example, Gamblers Anonymous.
Addiction services that are provided by the HSE are public services and out-patient services are free of charge.
There may be a charge for residential programmes. However, these charges are often on a sliding scale and your ability to cover the fees should not be a barrier to you accessing the service. A medical card may cover stays in selected drug treatment centres. If you have health insurance, contact your insurer to find out if treatment costs are covered.
Private treatment services
Private treatment programmes are not free of charge and prices vary depending on the programme. These costs may be covered by private health insurance. For more details on access to private treatment services, contact the service provider.
How to apply
Your Local Health Office can help you find addiction services in your area. Your GP can also refer you to your local addiction services where you will be assessed and can discuss your treatment options. Pharmacists can also refer you to appropriate services like addiction treatment and counselling centres.
Private treatment programmes vary in their admission requirements. Contact the service provider directly for more information. If you need advice, your GP can discuss the options with you.
Where to apply
You can contact your Local Health Office for information about HSE addiction services.