Drug Addiction Treatment Centre

Expert Drug Addiction Treatment

Smarmore Offers Unrivalled Facilities and Medically Managed Detox From Drugs.

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Drug addiction stems from a dependence on legal or illegal drugs which often starts with experimental substance use in social settings. While almost any drug can be abused, some carry a higher risk of dependency and addiction. Drug addiction can have severe physical consequences and a debilitating effect on mental health. Drug addiction can even be life-threatening.

Recovery from a substance use disorder is possible, and like any other addiction, seeking support from a professional treatment provider is usually required.

What is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterised by three phenomena:

  • Craving and compulsively seeking drugs
  • Binging and intoxication
  • Withdrawal symptoms.

Drug addiction is considered to be a brain disorder because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control.

Generally, people start taking drugs voluntarily to experience their pleasurable effects, elevated mood, and enhanced performance. This can be due to social pressure or mere curiosity. Continued drug use may turn into an addiction when someone’s ability to exert self-control over how much drug to use and how often is impaired.

The likelihood of developing an addiction differs from person to person. There isn’t one reason that determines whether a person will become addicted to a drug but there are common biological, environmental, and social risk factors. The greater the number of these factors, the greater the chance that someone taking drugs will develop a drug addiction. 

Biological Factors

Includes genetics, age or developmental stage, gender, and even ethnicity. Research has shown that someone’s genes contribute to the use of addictive substances and the transition to addiction. Family, adoption and twin studies reveal that an individual’s risk tends to be proportional to the degree of genetic relationship to an addicted relative. 

Environment Factors

Those related to someone’s family, education or where they grew up or live. If the home environment, especially during childhood, was where parents, older family members or other caregivers were using drugs or engaging in unlawful activity, this can increase the risk of future drug problems. The same can be said for peer pressure which contributes to increased risk for substance abuse.

Although using drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier someone begins to use drugs, the more likely they are to develop a drug addiction. This may be due to the harmful effect that drugs can have on the developing brain.

If you suspect you are struggling with drug abuse, it is advisable to seek drug addiction treatment from a specialised provider such as Smarmore Castle so you can get the support you need with your mental health.

drug addiction

How is Drug Addiction Diagnosed?

The first step in being diagnosed with drug addiction is the person struggling with drug use or a loved one looking into drug addiction treatment options. This is a difficult step and may require a formal intervention if someone with a substance use disorder is experiencing denial or unaware of the effect the addiction is having on their lives.

At Smarmore Castle, before drug addiction treatment commences, the team will conduct a thorough clinical assessment to understand what you might be struggling with and if any co-occurring disorders may be present.

Drug addictions are classified as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how many of the diagnostic criteria you meet. The main diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder are as follows:

  1. Hazardous use of drugs
  2. Social or interpersonal problems related to the use of drugs
  3. Neglected responsibility roles in to use of drugs
  4. Withdrawal
  5. Tolerance
  6. Amounts used for drugs
  7. Repeated attempts to control the use or quit drugs
  8. Time spent using drugs
  9. Physical or psychological problems related to the use of drugs
  10. Activities are given up to the use of drugs
  11. Craving drugs

It is essential to treat the problem as soon as possible for the best chances of making a complete recovery. Attempting to detox on your own can be dangerous and should not be undertaken without first consulting a doctor.

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How Drug Addiction is Treated at Smarmore Castle

If you are struggling with a drug addiction you may be feeling despondent and living with the impact that addiction can have on personal lives, careers, and relationships. However, any substance use disorder can be overcome with the correct treatment.

At Smarmore Castle, our treatment model is founded on more than 30 years of experience in the field of addiction, and our high success rates reflect this.

We are a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, we help patients achieve abstinence through a therapeutic programme which involves a combination of medical detoxpsychotherapies and complementary therapies. Inpatient treatment means you can stay in a safe and caring environment away from the triggers and stressors of everyday life.

Throughout our residential programme, patients are supported by a specialist network of therapists, consultant psychiatrists, nurses, and doctors.

Studies of patient outcomes show that our approach effectively helps people achieve life-long abstinence from drugs.

Addiction can also be treated on an outpatient basis at our sister treatment centre CATCH Recovery. Outpatient drug treatment will make use of similar therapies and groups without you needing to stay away from home. Therapeutic hours will, however, be spread over a longer period so treatment takes longer.

Benefits of Residential Rehab for Drug Addiction

Inpatient treatment provides a safe place away from temptations and stresses. In an atmosphere of support and healing, people can focus on self-discovery and personal growth through change. They also benefit from a structured programme and round-the-clock professional help. Therefore, it is not surprising that treatment outcomes are consistently better than for daycare programmes.

Drugs Detox Treatment

At Smarmore Castle, most patients begin their stay by completing our drug detoxification programme to remove all traces of drugs from their bodies. During/ this stage, an experienced team of doctors and nurses support the patient at all times to ensure their utmost safety and comfort. In addition, our residential, on-site treatment means that patients can join the daily programme of therapy and counselling as soon as they are physically able.

Personalised Treatment

We thoroughly assess each patient in order to build a comprehensive, personalised treatment plan.

Addiction Therapy at Smarmore Castle

At Smarmore Castle, the team will provide you with a thorough clinical assessment. One of our consultant psychiatrists will create a personalised treatment plan for you which will include different forms of therapy including one-to-one therapy, group therapy, and perhaps family therapy.

One-to-one Therapy

Individually delivered psychotherapy is an important part of recovery from addiction. Therapy allows you and a therapist to investigate the factors behind your addiction, leading to effective and sustained recovery. Individual therapy gives you the chance to speak in privacy with a therapist, ensuring confidentiality.

Group Therapy

Group sessions are led by a therapist twice a day. During these session, you will work with your group to empathise, offer feedback, give support and, over time, witness positive changes in each other. Group therapy enhances self-awareness, self-expression and insight through the shared experiences and openness of other group members.

Family Therapy

The involvement of family members, friends and colleagues in drug addiction treatment helps to create strong support networks which are vital to recovery. A family therapy programme helps patients and families to speak honestly with each other, rebuild damaged relationships and learn to communicate effectively.

Depending on your personal needs, you may also engage in other therapies for eating disorders, PTSD, gambling, bereavement, and smoking.


We recognise that addiction is an incurable disease that can be managed and held in regression, enabling people to live happy, normal lives, but their recovery requires constant attention.  We, therefore, provide regular aftercare meetings for those who have recently completed treatment.

These can be in person or via Zoom and are arranged according to each person’s needs. We also encourage all our patients to participate in 12 Step Fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous. Family Therapy can also be arranged.

Irish Treatment Options for Drug Addiction

Treatment in the Republic of Ireland is offered on either inpatient or outpatient basis. Inpatient treatment tends to be provided by charitable organisations and the private sector. Daycare is usually arranged via a person’s Doctor or Social Worker.

Most Commonly Abused Drugs

When classified by effect, the most abused drugs are stimulants, sedatives and hallucinogens. Here we look at each drug classification, what they are used for, how they are used and their effects.

Addiction to Stimulant Drugs

Stimulants are a type of drug that alters activity within the central and peripheral nervous systems to increase brain activity. Most stimulants also influence blood pressure, heart rate, and alertness. Whether an illegal or prescribed drug, stimulants can be habit-forming with casual use developing into drug addiction.

When you think of addiction to stimulant drugs, cocaine and methamphetamine come to mind, but caffeine, prescription medications for ADHA, and even bath salts are also considered stimulants and can be equally problematic.

Stimulants, sometimes known as amphetamines were first produced in 1887 but weren’t used until the 1930s when they were clinically prescribed to treat nasal congestion, soon followed by other conditions including asthma and other respiratory concerns, obesity, depression, and hyperactivity.

It wasn’t long before people discovered the performance-enhancing and euphoric effects of stimulants. As the potential for abuse of and addiction to stimulant drugs became apparent, authorities began to control stimulants and medical use was restricted. Doctors may prescribe stimulant drugs such as Adderall, Dexedrine and Ritalin to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, depression and impulse control disorders. They can be used short-term as part of treatment for obesity and asthma. Prescription stimulants generally carry drug warnings as they can be habit-forming and potentially addictive, just as illicit stimulants are.

Both prescription and illicit stimulant drugs are used recreationally for their pleasurable effects, as “study drugs” and a method of doping in sport due to their performance-enhancing effects. As such, you might use stimulants to help you concentrate, enhance sociability, or increase endurance.

Stimulants are a type of drug that alters activity within the central and peripheral nervous systems to increase brain activity. Most stimulants also influence blood pressure, heart rate, and alertness. Whether an illegal or prescribed drug, stimulants can be habit-forming with casual use developing into drug addiction.

drug addiction treatment

Types of Stimulant Drugs

Stimulants fall into two categories – prescription drugs and illegal drugs. Despite some stimulants being available on prescription, both categories of drugs can be habit-forming. Methamphetamine, cocaine and prescription stimulant medications are the most common stimulants that are abused and lead to drug addiction.


Cocaine is an illegal drug that is a short-acting central nervous system stimulant, extracted as a white crystalline powder. The illegal drug is a mixture of the pure crystalline powder substance and other ingredients such as talcum powder, flour, laxatives, sugar and anaesthetics.

Powdered cocaine is purchased in grams and snorted through the nose although some may convert cocaine for injection or into a smokable form of the drug called freebase. Freebase is the result of a chemical process that converts cocaine hydrochloride to its base form by removing hydrochloride salt and other agents the drug has been cut with.

“Crack” cocaine is a pellet of freebase cocaine formed by melting powered cocaine in a glass tube with water. The liquid is mixed with baking soda and cold water, then cut into small pieces which harden. The name crack was inspired by the crackling sound that comes from the drug being heated and then smoked.


Methamphetamine is a stimulant that comes as a pill or in powder form and in some countries is available on prescription to treat obesity and ADHD. Crystal meth is an illegal drug, and an altered version of the prescription drug that is processed with over-the-counter drugs. Methamphetamine is smoked, snorted or injected.


Adderall, a brand name for the combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine, is a prescription medication that alters chemicals in the brain by enhancing the effects of dopamine and norepinephrine. This improves alertness, focus and productivity and is often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy.


Ritalin is a generic name for methylphenidate, a prescription central nervous system stimulant, prescribed primarily for those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy. The substance affects the brain’s levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. Ritalin is most effective when used as part of a comprehensive treatment program that involves monitoring and therapy.

Addiction to Sedatives

Sedatives cover a variety of drugs with different mechanisms of action that depress the central nervous system, slowing brain activity. Doctors prescribe sedatives to treat anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, panic disorders, withdrawal syndromes and seizures. Sedatives are relatively safe when used short-term but ­­are generally controlled substances with abuse potential. As such, if used long-term or in large doses, sedatives can be habit-forming, causing individuals to become dependent on them beyond their control.

Types of Sedatives

The main types of sedatives are benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and Z-drugs. You may know the latter by their brand names zopiclone, zaleplon and zolpidem.


Benzodiazepines are psychoactive and prescription sedative-hypnotic medications that have been used since the mid-1950s, commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, epilepsy, sleep problems, agitation, and withdrawal syndromes to name just a few.

Generally viewed as safe for short-term use, when used long-term benzodiazepines can produce negative side effects such as an increased risk of suicidality. When used long-term the effectiveness of benzodiazepines can decrease which, in turn, may increase the risk of physical dependence and benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.


Barbiturates have been used as a treatment option for anxiety and insomnia but have now largely been replaced by benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines (Z-drugs). This is due to barbiturates having a significantly higher risk of addiction and overdose than benzodiazepines and nonbenzodiazepines. Barbiturates are sometimes used for capital punishment and assisted suicide, in addition to the treatment of epilepsy and migraines.

Misuse of barbiturates can lead to physical and mental dependence and are associated with morbidity. If not handled medically, barbiturate withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.


Zaleplon, zolpidem and zopiclone, commonly known as Z drugs, are medicines referred to as nonbenzodiazepines that act on the brain in a similar way to benzodiazepines. Z-drugs are used to treat insomnia as they are quick-acting, but the effects are experienced for a short duration.

The disadvantages of Z-drugs are that they impair cognition, behaviour, psychomotor performance, and driving ability, and can trigger a dissociative fugue also known as psychogenic fugue or fugue state. Dissociative fugue sees individuals performing unexpected and relatively complex actions without recollection of said actions. Long-term use of Z-drugs can lead to suicidality and increase the risk of physical injury

  • How to Access Rehab With Health Insurance

    For those experiencing existing mental health conditions in Ireland, there are private medical insurers who can help you cover treatment. As addiction experts, we know that receiving the appropriate care and support when you have a mental health disorder is pivotal to attaining long-lasting recovery. Below, we will go through the various health insurance options to help you understand your options when it comes to seeking private residential care for substance abuse. Please note that there is no guarantee that you can be covered for all addiction problems as policies are always assessed on a case-by-case basis. Find Out More

  • My Loved One Doesn’t Want Help, What Do I Do?

    You can’t force someone to go to rehab. At the end of the day, it needs to be their decision because they are the ones that need to be open to turning their lives around. There are ways in which you can encourage someone to enter treatment, one of these ways is via an intervention with a trained interventionist, who facilitates an honest discussion between family members and the addict. This is something Smarmore Castle can arrange – contact us today.

  • Which Drugs Does Smarmore Castle Detox From?

    We can detox people from any drugs whether they are illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, ketamine; or prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines or zopiclone, oxycodone, zolpidem, klonopin, methadone, cannabis; and legal drugs such as alcohol.

  • How Long Is the Treatment Programme?

    Our treatment programme starts at 4 weeks and is flexible in length, giving you the opportunity to extend for a longer period if you need it.

  • Do You Treat Dual Diagnosis?

    All patients are reviewed by a consultant psychiatrist in the first week and we can diagnose and provide treatment for a number of co-occurring mental health conditions.

  • Do I Need to Be Abstinent Before Admission?

    Our medically managed detoxification with 24/7 medical cover means that we can perform complete and complex detoxes at Smarmore Castle. You don’t need to be abstinent before arrival.

  • How Do I Get To Rehab Safely?

    Smarmore Castle is one hour north of Dublin international airport and we can arrange a driver to collect you and bring you straight to us for free.

    We can also arrange a ‘sober transport’ service with a trusted driver, from anywhere in Ireland or Northern Ireland, at an additional cost.

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