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Behavioral Addictions: Don’t Worry, It’s Not a Problem for Me – Dawn Farm Education Series

March 17, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Location: St. Joseph Mercy Michigan Heart and Vascular Institute auditorium, 5325 Elliott Drive, Ypsilanti Michigan 48197. Park in parking area “M”.

Please click here to access the main Education Series information page.


When people think about “addiction” they usually think of substances such as alcohol, nicotine and other drugs. Rewarding behaviors such as gambling, Internet use, gaming, eating, sex, exercise, shopping and other activities also have the potential in susceptible people to become a “process addiction” when the behavior is compulsively continued despite negative consequences.  Research shows there are similarities between substance addiction and process addiction, including how the disorder develops, symptoms, genetic and environmental influences, neurobiology and reward effects, and methods of effective treatment. It’s also not unusual for substance use disorders and process addictions to co-occur, and complicate the recovery from each disorder. This program will review the underlying mechanisms of process addictions and their similarities to substance use disorders, and discuss effective treatment methods for people with process addictions.

Handouts will be posted around the presentation date.


About the presenter:

Carl Christensen, MD, PhD, D-FASAM


Dr. Christensen obtained his MD and a PhD in Biochemistry at Wayne State University School of Medicine and completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hutzel Hospital. He then completed a Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at Duke University Medical Center in 1988.  He returned to Wayne State, practicing both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology, and was Associate Residency Director of the OB Gyn Residency until 2012. He retired from WSU in 2012 and continues as a Clinical Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and OB Gyn.

 While working with the late Dr. James Wardell, one of the first obstetricians to treat pregnant addicted women, he became certified in Addiction Medicine in 2004 and later Board Certified in Addiction Medicine in 2009. He served as the Medical Director of the Eleonore Hutzel Women’s Recovery Center, founded by Dr. Wardell in 1969, an outpatient program dedicated to caring for pregnant, chemically dependent women from 2004 to 2018, as well as the Medical Director at the Tolan Medical Research Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry at WSU from 2009 to 2018.  He continues his work with pregnant chemically dependent women at SJMH in Ann Arbor.

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 was elected as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society Addiction Medicine in 2013. He is also the Medical Director for Dawn Farm Treatment Center in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, returning to that job when Dr. Pat Gibbons passed in 2014. 

Dr. Christensen also specializes in the treatment of chronic pain patients who are trying to detox or taper off opioids and works at SJMH at Recovery Specialists. He has received numerous teaching awards. He has been named one of the “Top Docs” in Addiction Medicine in Hour Magazine for 2006 through 2018. Dr. Christensen currently works with the US Attorney’s office, the DEA, and local law enforcement as an expert witness for opioid prescribing cases. He lives in Canton with his wife Cathy, a Nurse Practitioner also specializing in chronic pain and addiction, their therapy dog Olive, and 3 rescue cats.


March 17, 2020
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Dawn Farm


St. Joseph Mercy Michigan Heart and Vascular Institute Auditorium
5325 Elliot Drive
Ypsilanti, MI 48197 United States
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