About this Webinar:
Abstract: Eating disorders (ED) are chronic and disabling, treatment has been described as a “revolving door”, because most of those who undergo acute treatment will relapse and need to return to a high level of care. There is a high level of comorbidity between eating and anxiety disorders. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) poses a particularly high risk for the development of an ED, with an estimated 41% cooccurrence between the two disorders. Onset most commonly occurs during formative developmental years (ages 14-20), therefore early evidence-based intervention is needed to minimize the negative long term health effects (e.g., gastrointestinal issues, cardiovascular issues, other psychological disorders, etc.) associated with EDs. Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP) is the “gold-standard” treatment for OCD. Current research has shown that exposure therapy is effective in treating EDs as well. Eating, shape, weight, and eating-related interoceptive exposures have been shown to decrease ED symptoms and fears (such as body dissatisfaction, restriction, interoceptive deficits and distress, and negative beliefs about feared outcomes) and increase distress tolerance. Exposure therapy treats EDs through habituation, inhibitory learning, and avoidance extinction. It aims to decrease anxiety regarding food, weight and shape, and decrease negative beliefs about imagined consequences associated with food, weight, and shape. Further, it aims to extinguish avoidance behaviors, a mechanism that has been shown to maintain EDs. While further research is needed to better adapt exposure therapy to more diverse EDs (such as Bulimia Nervosa, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, or Binge Eating Disorder), it has proven to be effective in increasing weight and food intake in Anorexia Nervosa, promoting recovery and decreasing relapse. This webinar will discuss ED and OCD overlap, and how to best treat and support those with comorbid ED/OCD.
Dr. Cheri Levinson, is an associate professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Louisville, and director of the Eating Anxiety Treatment Lab. She is also the founder and clinical director of the Louisville Center for Eating Disorders, which is the only eating disorder specialty clinic in the state of Kentucky, where she treats patients, and supervises and trains other clinicians and students in evidence-based treatments for eating disorders. She is also vice chair of the Kentucky Eating Disorder Council, which is a state-sponsored council charged with improving eating disorder treatment and access to treatment in Kentucky. Levinson’s research focuses on building new treatments for eating disorders, primarily using new technologies. She has published more than 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts and chapters and has been the primary investigator on several national grants and awards, including three active clinical trials testing exposure therapy and personalized treatments for eating disorders. She has received several awards for her work, including the 2021 Association for Psychological Science Rising Star Award, 2020 American Psychological Foundation Theo Blau Award, and the Academy for Eating Disorders 2015 Outstanding Scientific Contribution Award.