Doctors Warn of Rise in Substance Abuse

Up to 40 per cent of those presenting with psychiatric disorders are also abusing substances, and that figure rises to 60 per cent in the case of those who have committed suicide.

And doctors treating substance abuse addicts at Dublin’s Rutland centre have discovered that those presenting for treatment for addiction are also experiencing depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges.

This, according to the Rutland’s Centre’s newly appointed clinical director, Dr Fiona Weldon, is “a reflection of the changing landscape in the use of mood-altering substances that have an impact on mental health, such as cocaine, hash and head-shop substances”.

The Rutland Centre has also seen an increase in those presenting with co-existing mental health issues and eating disorders. As a result, Dr Weldon has launched two new programmes to meet the growing demand for services to deal with issues in the area of addiction and eating disorders.

The first of these, which starts this month, is the Dual Diagnosis Outpatient Programme, an evidence-based intervention utilising Dialectical Behaviour Therapy responding to those experiencing difficulties with mental health and addiction. It aims to break the cycle of addiction and respond to other co-existing issues.

An Eating Disorder Programme will deal with compulsive overeating and an obsessional relationship with food leading to many other health-threatening issues.

Other eating disorders, also on the increase, particularly bulimia and anorexia, are also dealt with in a highly specialised group therapy and psycho-educational programme on a residential basis as well as in a new outpatient group targeting stabilisation of eating and increasing skills to manage psychological distress. Visit for more information.

Source: Sunday July 11 2010

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