Episode 78: Occupational Therapy and Eating Disorders with Maddie Duzyk

Maddie Duzyk

Episode description:

We begin this episode of Peace Meal with guest Maddie Duzyk describing her lived experience with anorexia as it compares to her life in recovery. Reflecting on the everyday impact of her eating disorder, she explains how the illness made it difficult to distinguish between her own values and those of her disorder. Fortunately, treatment and recovery have allowed her to find herself again and reconnect with her interests and roles separate from the illness she once mistook for herself. 

As an occupational therapist, Maddie now helps clients on their own recovery journey, including during the often difficult transition from higher levels of care to outpatient life. She shares with us her recent doctoral capstone, which explored the perceptions of social eating behaviors among adolescents with eating disorders, and provides suggestions for those supporting a person with an eating disorder during mealtimes. She ends the podcast by expressing her hope that one day clients and providers alike will recognize and employ occupational therapy as an additional resource in eating disorder recovery. 

Maddie is a pediatric occupational therapist who received her master’s degree in occupational therapy from Spalding University in August 2018. In May 2022, she completed her post-professional doctorate at Eastern Kentucky University, with a capstone on social eating perspectives of adolescents with anorexia nervosa. In the eating disorder community, Maddie is an active member of Kentucky’s Eating Disorder Council and was a member of the NEDA Walk Committee in Louisville, KY for two years. She has given several guest lectures on adolescent mental health, spoken at state-level occupational therapy conferences, and taught nationwide continuing education courses for medical professionals. 

We cover:

  • The impact of an eating disorder on daily activities and occupations
  • How recovery can reconnect you to personal values, goals, and roles
  • How people with eating disorders experience social pressure while eating, including from those around them and from social media
  • How to support people with eating disorders during shared meals and snacks
  • The important role occupational therapists can play in eating disorder treatment and recovery

In Maddie’s words:

  • On life in recovery: “Life is so much more than just those numbers on a scale or those miles ran in a day. There’s just so much more beauty to be discovered outside of the eating disorder.”
  • On her doctoral capstone on adolescent perceptions of social eating: “Common patterns… were the negative effect of social peer pressures and a lot of those pressures came from social media aspects.”
  • On her vision for the future of occupational therapists (OT): “I would love for more of a concrete definition of OT’s role in treating eating disorders… and for providers and patients alike just to be familiar with occupational therapy as a resource––an additional resource, not something to take away from the great care that’s already available.”

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About the podcast:

Peace Meal is a podcast hosted by The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative that covers topics related to eating disorders, body image, and how society may influence our thinking.

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Are you interested in being a guest on Peace Meal? Email podcast@emilyprogram.com for more information.

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