Eating Disorder Therapy Approaches at The Highlands

Struggling with Both Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

Research shows that around 50% of individuals with an eating disorder also have substance abuse issues. Depending on the type and nature of the substance abuse, The Highland’s Treatment Center will work either independently or concurrently with a substance abuse treatment center to provide clients with the dual treatment that they need. If the substance being abused is drugs or alcohol, clients with complicated addictions may first need a detoxification process in a detox center prior to treatment at The Highlands. Clients with an eating disorder may also have other types of addictive behavior, including:
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Shopping
  • Gambling
  • Sex
  • Internet addictions
Many clients with substance abuse and eating disorders use drugs, alcohol, or various behaviors in order to feel better emotionally, and relieve psychologically pain, at least temporarily. These are ways to cope. But over time, if the underlying issues are not professionally treated, these associated behaviors also become extremely problematic and difficult to stop.

Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders Care at The Highlands

At The Highlands, one of our many strengths is our flexibility and willingness to provide clients with the customized care that they need, and to take that extra step to make it happen. We will evaluate all prospective clients for both eating disorders and substance abuse issues. From this information, we are able to recommend not only the right initial level of care for the eating disorder, but also whether a client needs:
  • Medical detox prior to beginning eating disorder treatment (inpatient)
  • Outpatient detox at an associated center, while simultaneously beginning eating disorder treatment at The Highlands
  • Substance abuse (and other addictive behaviors) that are manageable completely at The Highland during eating disorder treatment
The Highlands’ professional eating disorder team wants each client to have the most effective treatment approach for their unique history and issues. Clients and their families can rely on the soundness of all treatment recommendations. A healthy recovery for co-occurring substance abuse and eating disorders is possible, with comprehensive and empathic care.

Treatment for Co-occurring Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

Eating disorders and substance abuse are often so interwoven that it can be difficult to understand which appeared first. The underlying reasons behind the destructive eating behaviors, misuse of drugs or alcohol, and any associated addictive behaviors, are the most important issues to identify. At the same time, a state of physical health must also be slowly regained. Clients who feel well physically have an increased readiness to make positive changes in their lives. During treatment for substance abuse and eating disorders, clients receive a continuum of care that addresses these major areas:
  • Medical stabilization
  • Nutritional rehabilitation
  • Psychosocial treatment (individual, group, and family therapy)
  • Pharmacotherapy (many clients with eating disorders  and/or substance abuse problems have significant issues with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that require some initial medication
  • Real-life skill development for relapse prevention
At The Highlands Treatment Center, our skilled clinicians use a medical/therapy/nutrition management philosophy, combined with evidence-based treatment approaches, in order to provide a high standard of individualized care.