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Can Food Be Addictive? Relevance and Risks in Eating Disorder Treatment

A Part of SunCloud's Continuing Education Series of Events

Can Food Be Addictive? Relevance and Risks in Eating Disorder Treatment
Presented by: Dr. Ashley Gearhardt, PhD
November 17, 2023

This illuminating webinar delved deep into the intriguing questions underpinning food addiction, with an emphasis on its connection to eating disorders and its implications in treatment. Building on an extensive foundation of empirical literature, both from the presenter and other esteemed scholars, the session promises an engaging discussion that touches upon controversial standpoints, presenting a balanced view of the topic.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understanding Food Addiction through Empirical Evidence: Dive into the robust empirical data on assessing food addiction, with a spotlight on the renowned Yale Food Addiction Scale.
  2. Validity & Research Gaps: Unravel the efficacy of the Yale Food Addiction Scale and explore the existing gaps in the research that necessitate further investigation.
  3. Evidence-based Addiction Treatment Approaches: Grasp the nuances of applying proven addiction treatment methodologies within the realm of disordered eating.
  4. Clinical Implications: Discuss the broader clinical implications of viewing certain eating disorders through the lens of addiction.
  5. Assessment Tools for Health Care Integration: Receive insights into specific tools to evaluate highly processed food addiction, its clinical counterparts, and the ramifications of an addiction perspective in treatment.

Watch the Presentation and Receive 1 CME/CE Credit

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About the Speaker

Ashley Gearhardt, PhD

Ashley Gearhardt, PhD

Ashley Gearhardt, PhD
Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan 

I actually started during my first year of my doctoral training at Yale University. I initially started doing work on alcohol addiction with Dr. William Corbin (who is now at Arizona State University), but quickly saw the parallels with substance addiction and the research that was coming out in the obesity and eating disorder world. I was fortunate that Dr. Kelly Brownell (who is now at Duke) was also there doing research into how the changing food environment was contributing to obesity. Will and Kelly were so very supportive of me pursuing the area of food addiction, which bridged across their labs. Part of what inspired me to do this work was animal model research by Drs. Nicole Avena and Bart Hoebel exhibiting how sugar altered the brains of rodents in an addictive manner, research by Drs. Gene-Jack Wang and Nora Volkow on how neural circuitry implicated in addiction was also associated with obesity, and work by Dr. Mark Gold exhibiting cross-addiction behavior between substance use disorders and eating behavior. These really set the stage to further research the parallels between excessive food intake and addictive disorders. Read More on Ask the Expert with Dr. Kim


Joint Accreditation Statement

Joint Accreditation Statement: In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by Amedco LLC and Galen Mental Health.  Amedco LLC is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. Amedco Joint Accreditation #4008163.


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