Eating Disorders and Substance Use
Eating disorder behaviors and substance use frequently occur together. This is because both types of behaviors serve the same function of managing distress by numbing, avoiding or changing difficult emotions. The effects of mind/mood altering substances make the recovery process from an eating disorder even more difficult—but not impossible. It is important to address both issues simultaneously.
What Does the Substance Use Track Include?
Renfrew’s Substance Use Track is a specialized program designed to treat both the substance use and the eating disorder simultaneously. Using an evidence-based, transdiagnostic approach, our Unified Treatment Model addresses the core underlying issues that perpetuate both disorders.
Group therapy in the Substance Use Track is designed to increase motivation for change, educate patients about the complex connection between eating disorders and substance use, and develop skills necessary for a comprehensive recovery.
Renfrew employs a staged treatment approach, designed to meet each patient at their specific level of readiness to change. This prepares individuals to take the necessary steps toward recovery.
Our goal is to provide a safe place for honest self-exploration about the impact of substance use on one’s life through educational, experiential and skill development groups. While the Substance Use Treatment Track is not centered around the 12-Step Model, we recognize that working the steps can be very beneficial for some individuals. Therefore, we support participation in AA based on the individual’s preference.
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