New research reveals that 80% of doctors cannot access out-patient detox services for alcoholics.
The study from the Liver Centre at the Mater Hospital also found that only 5% of medics are able to refer patients directly to psychological services.
A seperate study carried out by St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin shows that 14,000 people were admitted for the treatment of alcohol dependence in 2011.
Professor in St Vincent's, Aidan McCormack, said there is a gap between hospitals and alcohol treatment services.
The data showed an over-reliance on voluntary organisations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, in order to provide some form of support to patients.
Dr Audrey Dillon, Research Registrar at the Mater Hospital’s Liver Unit and one of the authors of the study, said the difficulty in accessing psychological support in particular contravenes recommendations from the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland and other international groups.
“These services are necessary and would be considered the gold standard approach to the management of alcohol dependence,” said Dr Dillon.
“The overall cost implications of providing early access to the psychological therapy needed to modify behaviour would be outweighed by lower rates of alcohol-related harm, psychiatric problems, alcohol-related cancers and liver disease, and would ultimately lead to reduced alcohol-related health service costs.”