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P45. Exploring the inclusion of the eating disorder population with substance abuse and the ethical challanges unique to this population.

About The Event

  • Cost: Free
  • Total Slot: 0
  • Booked Slot: 0

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Learner category:

  • Intermediate Level
  • Expert Level

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will be able to explain why applying a broadened definition of ‘substance abuse’ to include the eating disorder population would increase awareness of the devastation caused by an eating disorder diagnosis on a patient’s physical and
    mental health.
  • Participants will choose two similarities between substance abuse and eating disorder behaviors and explain how both populations would benefit from similar treatment.
  • Participants will create a list of 3 ethical principles unique to the eating disorder population.


This is a presentation with a twofold purpose. The first purpose is to bring visibility regarding the need for eating disorders to be included in the field of substance abuse. Eating disorders and substance abuse are behavioral in nature, and involve compulsive actions which are self-perpetuated by the patient. By broadening the definition of addiction to include patients with eating disorders, training, education
and strategic initiatives could be developed to specifically address the needs of the eating disorder population. This process of including the eating disorder population
with substance abuse would provide additional training, education, tools and resources necessary to address the challenges and innovative approaches to treat patients with an eating disorder. The second purpose of this presentation is to address the ethical issues that are unique to the care and treatment of an eating disorder patient. Using standard
ethical principles as a guideline, the duty to protect a patient from imminent harm outweighs the duty to override patient
autonomy. Because eating disorder patients often suffer from nutritional deficiencies at critical levels, the patient suffers with impaired cognitive functioning and decision making ability to choose what is in their best interest. Due to this extreme malnourishment, eating disorder patients often maintain distorted views of themselves preventing an appropriate decision making process and outcome to occur. The eating disorder patient remains in imminent harm due to lack of nourishment, continuous starvation and may not choose treatment that is designed to keep them from harm.


Marisa Beffel, BA – Spanish, BSN, C-BM, MA, PhD
Rogers Behaviora Health, Wisconsin, USA

While Marisa was in Nursing School, she graduated from Marquette University with a degree in Spanish and worked as a medical interpreter at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. After obtaining her BSN, Marisa became a nurse on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital, She earned her certificate in Business Management from Marquette University, graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin
with her Master’s in Medical Bioethics and completed her doctorate in Health Care Administration with an emphasis on Medical Bioethics in Healthcare. Marisa has worked as a charge nurse on the Child Adolescent eating Disorder Unit at Rogers Behavioral Health in Oconomowoc and is currently a Clinical Nurse Educator for Rogers Behavioral Health. Marisa lives with her husband Dr. John Beffel and their nine children.

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Marisa Beffel
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