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We are here to help! Use the search below to find the information you’re looking for or browse through the most commonly asked questions. Your query might have been previously answered. You can also call our help line 1800 459 459

You can try to talk to them about your worries and the effect their drinking is having. If they don’t want to stop, try to minimise the effect their drinking has on you and other family members, especially children. You can get advice and support from your GP or a special service, for example al-anon or the drugs and alcohol helpline. Read our section Worried about someone else for more advice.

If you have any worries, it might be a good time have a think about your drinking. Use our drinking calculator to look at how much you are drinking and get some advice. You may need to change the way you drink to avoid problems in future, or it may help you to get some support from your GP or a specialist alcohol service. Where to get help.

What you will pay depends on the type of service you are using, if you have been referred to the service by a healthcare professional like a GP, and if you have a medical card or private health insurance.

Some are free – support groups and helplines

Some are free with a referral from your GP

Some are free to medical card holders

Some are available at reduced cost – e.g. counselling on a sliding cost scale

Some you have to pay for yourself or your health insurance may cover the costs, for example, private, residential treatment for alcohol problems.

The best service will depend on your particular situation. Some examples of services are:

Counselling. Counselling means chatting to a specially trained person. It can help you to understand drinking behaviour and find ways to manage the behaviour.

Group therapy. Group therapy means working in a group setting with a therapist to try to deal with your problems along with other people facing similar issues.

Detox/treatment programme. This can give you medical support either through your GP por while you withdraw from alcohol. You will also have individual and group therapy as part of your treatment. It may be given in hospital or in a treatment centre.

Contact Alcoholics Anonymous

Call Al-Anon- For friends and relatives & children of a problem drinker


Family Support Network

See service finder @askaboutalcohol

Contact the HSE Drugs and Alcohol Helpline – freephone 1800 459 459 or email

Talk to your GP – He or she can advise you about the best help and where to get it

The best way to give up alcohol will depend on your own drinking pattern, your reasons for drinking and if you have other support. IF you are dependent on alcohol it can be hard to stop altogether without support. For most people who are dependent on alcohol, it’s best to get help from your GP and a specialist alcohol service.

Dependence can happen for different reasons. It can happen quite quickly, but often happens after many years of heavy drinking. Sometimes social drinking gradually becomes more frequent and people start to drink more, until they find they can no longer control their drinking. Another way is when people ‘use’ alcohol to cope with problems or difficult times and then find that they cannot manage without it. Read more about dependence.

Giving up alcohol can cause withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety or jumpiness, depression, shakiness or trembling, irritability, sweating, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches and difficulty sleeping. If a dependent person stops drinking, physical withdrawal symptoms normally last around 5-7 days.

In severe cases, withdrawal from alcohol can also cause hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and agitation. Severe withdrawal symptoms need medical care.

People who are dependent are likely to feel that their drinking is out of control - that they can’t stop even though it is causing problems and they want to stop. They may have physical symptoms like craving alcohol (feeling an intense desire to drink), tolerance (needing to drink a lot more to get the same effects from alcohol) or experience withdrawal symptoms if they don’t drink.

Alcohol dependence means you rely on alcohol and have repeated episodes of loss of control over your drinking. Dependence is another word for addiction.

Some of the signs of problem drinking include:

    • Feeling guilty or ashamed about your drinking.
    • Lying about what you are drinking.
    • Friends or family members commenting on your drinking or saying they are worried about you.
    • Needing a drink in order to relax or feel better.
    • ‘Blacking out’ or forgetting what you did while you were drinking.
    • Regularly drinking more than you intended to

If drinking alcohol is causing any problems in your life, then you could be said to have a drink problem. Problems include:

    • Difficulties in your relationships - for example having frequent arguments about drinking
    • Problems with your work or study, such as not handing in assignments on time
    • Financial issues
    • Difficulties with your health or your mood

You don’t need to be dependent on alcohol for it to cause problems.

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Where to get help

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