Core Drug and Alcohol Addiction Program


As a nationally recognized leader in addiction medicine, Bellwood’s core Alcohol and Drug Inpatient/Residential Program specializes in the treatment of substance abuse, including the misuse of alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and opioids such as oxycodone. The core Program provides medically supervised treatment, addresses a wide range of concurrent mental health diagnoses, provides individualized care, and provides support and resources for patients and their families. Bellwood’s core program is appropriate for individuals aged 18 and older who are living with addiction. Our 6-week program is ideal for patients whose goals are detoxification (“detox”), stabilization, and recovery.

For over 35 years, Bellwood’s core Alcohol and Drug Inpatient/Residential Program has been providing care for patients with substance use disorders, with and without other concurrent mental health issues. It is a program that Bellwood has continuously refined based on research, experience, and patients’ feedback. Bellwood uses an evidence-based medical model and is accredited by Accreditation Canada with Exemplary Standing. Bellwood has an endowed fellowship in Addiction Medicine through the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and enjoys numerous clinical partnerships across Toronto including with CAMH for the treatment of trauma, and with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for residential obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) treatment services. Located in a 9-acre oasis of green space in Leaside, East York, the program offers a safe and secure environment that is conducive to helping patients focus on addiction treatment and recovery. Our interdisciplinary team of highly trained clinicians and support staff specializes in treating drug and alcohol abuse and related mental health disorders and is devoted to improving the quality of life of patients and their families. Our 24-hour nursing care also includes emergency medical personnel.

Evidence-Based Treatments

The Bellwood core Program uses an evidence-based approach to treating alcohol and drug abuse disorders, as well as for treating the conditions that often accompany addiction such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We use scientifically proven psychological treatments that help individuals build more constructive thoughts and behaviours; these include motivational enhancement therapy (MET), cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Our treatment programs begin with an intensive onsite diagnostic assessment of each patient which includes medication evaluation and management.

Abstinence Based

We are guided by an abstinence-based philosophy. We believe that, for our patients, a life free of addictive substances is the way forward. Patients progress throughout the program with the understanding that abstinence from all addictive substances will be necessary to secure their recovery. This exacting standard requires them to put in place a thorough and rigorous recovery plan.

Biopsychosocial Model and Holistic Approach

Physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and social aspects all play a role in the development of, and recovery from, substance use disorders. Bellwood’s highly qualified and experienced staff of mental health and behavioural specialists assess and treat issues in all these areas as patients enter treatment and progress towards managing and maintaining their recovery. Upon admission to the core Program, an individualized treatment plan for each person is developed. This will incorporate a combination of group, family, and individual therapy targeted at detox, medical stabilization, symptom management, and providing tools, ongoing support, and resources to prevent relapse. As family is crucial to the ongoing progress and recovery maintenance, support and education is offered for family members through our Family Program. The Bellwood core program has the following components.

Medical care

Each patient is assigned a personal physician who is available to them throughout treatment program to meet physical health and medication needs; our nursing staff provide care 24 hours a day. Patients may also access our psychiatrist to address any concurrent mental health issues as needed.


Understanding the addictive process is crucial to understanding and controlling one’s own addictive patterns. Based on current research, our physicians and counsellors provide daily education sessions on the effects of substances on the brain and body, the multiple causes of addiction, trauma and other mental health disorders, risk factors for relapse, and other relevant topics. Patients begin to situate their own experience in a larger context.


Self-understanding is a goal of any form of addiction treatment. Through psychotherapy, patients gain insight into the causes of their addiction, a better awareness of the habits and patterns that sustained it, and begin the more practical process of planning their recovery. This is done through regular meetings with a primary counsellor, as well as in group therapy, which is a place to connect with other patients with similar struggles, stories, goals, and hopes.

Coping Skills

We draw from evidence-based therapies to ensure that patients are taught skills necessary to stay sober. We draw from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Solution Focussed Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based approaches to give patients skills to identify and challenge problematic thinking patterns, change unhealthy behaviours, and manage intense emotions. Patients also take part in a 3-week relapse prevention program devoted to cultivating an awareness of their personal warning signs of relapse, and building a toolkit of mini-interventions for managing these risks.

Exercise and Self Care Practices

Establishing habits of self-care is an essential part of recovery; addiction often seriously disrupts basic hygiene, sleeping patterns, exercise regimes, and healthy eating. Patients work with our team of nutritionists, recreational therapists, occupational therapists, yoga instructors, and acupuncturists to achieve mental and physical balance. Patients also have access to on-site massage therapy and chiropractic care.

Family Program

Patients are encouraged to invite family members to Bellwood’s Family Program. This is a 3.5-day psychoeducational program for patients’ family members centred around education regarding addiction and ways in which families can support their loved ones.

Continuum of Care

While primary treatment is a critical first step to a better life, Bellwood works in close collaboration with referrers and community partners to provide tailored recovery management and aftercare planning to facilitate ongoing success and help prevent relapses. Bellwood also fosters a comprehensive continuum of care, from intensive outpatient services (IOP) to individual and group outpatient therapy offered by our Bellwood Outpatient Services.

For more information about Bellwood’s core Program or to schedule a free assessment, please contact:



OHIP Covered Services