One of the country's long-established addiction treatment centres has reported a high demand for support from patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Rutland Centre in Knocklyon in Dublin said that, in many cases, addictive behaviour has become more visible in the home and the pandemic may have highlighted how serious a family member's problem behaviour is.

Clinical Manager Emma Kavanagh said that the period has been a hugely challenging time for families and especially for those in which a family member is in recovery from, or in active addiction.

She said that at the beginning of the lockdown period, the phone lines to the centre became quiet, but have become much busier than what would be expected.

Ms Kavanagh said that some people in recovery have dealt with increased anxiety and feelings of isolation caused by the pandemic.

The centre normally manages around 400 patients a year.

In mid-April, after coronavirus arrived in Ireland, the Rutland Centre suspended residential treatment and group therapy, and aftercare was moved to an online support service.

Around 250 patients had been attending aftercare each week and these were re-organised in online groups during the pandemic.

There are plans to continue some online services during the coming months.

The Rutland Centre is due to reopen next week on 15 June, with the return of full residential treatment, outpatient therapy and aftercare services.

It has been making physical changes to the building to deal with the new safety requirements as a result of Covid-19.

The facility was established in 1978 as an independent addiction treatment service for Ireland.

The World Health Organization has advised countries of the need to prepare for the mental health consequences of the pandemic, which it says are likely to be significant and long term.