Alcohol remains the most common drug requiring addiction treatment in Ireland, according to a report from the Health Research Board (HRB).

The annual report on alcohol treatment also found an increase in the amount of people presenting with the most serious level of abuse.

There were 7,546 treatment cases in 2019, an overall decrease since 2013 when there were 7,819 cases.

However, the proportion of new cases classified as 'alcohol dependent', defined as someone who would show physical withdrawal symptoms if they stopped drinking alcohol, rose from 51% in 2013 to 65% last year.

Dr Suzi Lyons, senior researcher at the HRB, said: "We are seeing men and women presenting for treatment who were drinking more in a typical day than would be recommended by the HSE in an entire week for low risk drinking.

"Women typically drank 15 standard drinks on an average day, while men drank 20 standard drinks on a typical drinking day."

Men were more likely to drink beer, involving 43% of cases, followed by spirits at 37% and wine (9%), while women preferred wine (35% of cases), spirits (37%) and beer (19%).

The average age of people in treatment was 41, with two thirds being male.

Half were unemployed and there was an increase in numbers who were homeless and from the Travelling community.

Among those seeking treatment for alcohol as their main problem drug, 21% also abused additional drugs, with cannabis being the most common choice (56%) followed by cocaine on 54%.