Eating Disorders and Chemical Dependency

Eating Disorders and Chemical Dependency

(Presentation date June 26, 2012)

Eating disorders are common among people with alcohol/other drug addictions, and it is helpful for clinicians working with people who have alcohol/other drug problems to be able to recognize the signs of a possible eating disorder and be aware of resources that can help. This CE program will examine the evidence that eating disorders are true biopsychosocial diseases, similar to chemical dependency. The program will explore neurobiological theories of addiction, define various eating disorders and their consequences, describe physiological consequences of eating disorders, discuss screening tools, and provide information on treatment options and resources for people with eating disorders.


The goal of this program is to provide an overview of the definitions, physiological consequences, neurobiological factors, and treatment options for eating disorders and the relationship between alcohol/other drug addiction and eating disorders.


After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  1. State one or more ways in which the neurobiological theories of addiction apply to certain eating disorders.
  2. State a simple definition for Anorexia, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorders.
  3. List three or more medical complications of eating disorders.
  4. List three or more treatment options for people with eating disorders.

About the presenters:

This course was developed and is presented by Dr. Carl Christensen, MD, PhD, FACOG, CRMO, ABAM; and Lori Perpich, LLP, MS Clinical Behavioral Psychology; Cognitive Behavior Therapist and EDEN Program Facilitator.

CarlDr. Carl Christensen is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He obtained his MD and PhD in Biochemistry at Wayne State University School of Medicine and did his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hutzel Hospital. He then completed a Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at Duke University Medical Center. He was Associate Residency Director of the OB Gyn Residency until 2012. He later became certified in Addiction Medicine and is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is the past president of the Michigan Society of Addiction Medicine and the current Medical Director of the Michigan Health Professional Recovery Program, which monitors impaired nurses, pharmacists and doctors. He is the current Medical Director of the James Wardell Women’s Recovery Center, an outpatient program dedicated to caring for pregnant, chemically dependent women, as well as the Medical Director at the Tolan Medical Research Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry at WSU. He is also the Medical Director for Dawn Farm. Dr Christensen also specializes in the treatment of chronic pain, especially pelvic pain. He has received numerous teaching awards and has been named one of the “Top Docs” in Addiction Medicine in Hour Magazine for 2006 through 2013.


perpichLori Perpich began working directly with women recovering from eating disorders in 2000 through EDEN (The Eating Disorders and Education Network). She became an EDEN facilitator in both Washtenaw and Livingston County (Michigan) and led groups through the EDEN process for eight years. The EDEN Process is a 17- week course of one hour meetings. Each meeting covers a specific topic related to recovery and or the acquisition of behavioral skills to break disordered eating habits. Lori facilitated 2 groups per year for recovering women (ages 18-55), and a separate group in each county for families and supporters. In 2004 she began working on her Masters in Clinical Behavioral Psychology at Eastern Michigan University with a clinical interest in behavioral approaches to eating disorders. Lori became involved with Dawn Farm through EDEN, and later conducted her Psychology internship at Dawn Farm. This opened a door for Lori to work with clients experiencing co-addiction of eating disorders and chemicals. Since graduation in 2008 she has been working individually with eating disorder clients in Ann Arbor many of whom are dually diagnosed with chemical addiction. Lori continues to lead an ongoing EDEN group in Ann Arbor. Lori’s personal approach to eating disorder treatment is both holistic and behavioral. She approaches eating disorders as an addiction with physiological and classically conditioned or escape maintained behaviors. She examines with her clients both their skills for intervening in habit breaking and their overall balance in emotional, social, physical, and spiritual health. She works with her clients to find their most powerful self- worth, accountability and motivations which will give them the strength to intervene in their disorder.

Number of CE hours offered:

1.5 CEH, approved by MCBAP and NAADAC. A passing grade of 80% on the final exam is required for CE hours to be awarded.

Course Content