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People with type 1 diabetes can survive, but they have risks. diabulimia is a mental health condition that leads to eating disorders.

Those with T1D are more likely to suffer from diabulimia. It happens when someone reduces or stops taking theirinsulin in order to lose weight

People who use diabetes can be affected by diabulimia. A person with diabulimia who avoids taking the drug and engages in eating disorders to lose weight or avoid gaining it.

The term — which combines the words diabetes and bulimia — came into use around the early to mid-2000s. But the issue itself has been observed by diabetes professionals for decades. In fact, the esteemed diabetes behavioral expert Dr. William Polonsky wrote one of the most pivotal articles on the topic back in 1994.

As recently as 2019, health experts have described it as “the world’s most dangerous eating disorder.”

There are other factors that can drive this behavior.

  • Difficult to cope with diabetes and its demands.
  • Difficult relationships and trauma.
  • Control of the body and how it works is a need to be in.

People are assigned female at birth more often.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has reported extensively on diabulimia and reviewed clinical research from the early 1990s to present. The organization’s findings include the following:

  • Some women with diabetes restrict their blood sugar levels in order to lose weight.
  • 1 in 6 men with diabetes experience diabulimia.
  • T1D is more likely to cause a diagnosable eating disorder than a sub-threshold eating disorder.

Most studies have focused on T1D, but one 2016 case study (plus anecdotal evidence) has suggested that the same prevalence and risk exists in anyone with insulin dependence, including those with type 2 diabetes and LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes of adults).

Someone with diabulimia may view taking insulin negatively, because it is essential to their diabetes.

A common side effect of taking insulin is weight gain. Someone with diabulimia may think that they should avoid taking insulin so as not to become “fat.”

This type of thinking can cause someone to restrict their diet or not take any medication at all. They may try to lower their levels by exercising or by taking medication.

diabulimia presents itself with a range of symptoms, like other eating disorders. Eating disorders may include symptoms.

  • One should pay attention to their appearance, weight, and food in general.
  • Being focused on calories, fat, andCarbohydrates.
  • “Seeking control of one’s body and behavior.”
  • It can be possible to eliminate whole categories of foods that are seen as fat.
  • In order to use up calories, exercising is a must.
  • Past meals may have been forced vomiting or with laxatives.
  • Being socially and physically isolated.

The desire to remain in control and avoid gaining weight is what drives all of these behaviors.

There are symptoms specific to diabulimia.

  • Not managing diabetes in a way that involves regular doctor appointments, skipping scheduled labs, and refilling prescriptions is a problem.
  • Being secretive about diabetes care.
  • It is possible to believe that the idea that you will be fat is true.
  • Reducing the amount ofinsulin taken is the reason for restricting eating.
  • On an ongoing basis, the A1C is at 9.0%.
  • A1C is inconsistent with readings.
  • having repeated episodes of or consistently getting close to diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA)

“Eating disorders can shorten one’s life if left unaddressed. People with diabetes are at increased risk of having their blood sugar levels spiked.”

Most immediately, withholding or limiting insulin puts the person at risk of DKA. This is a potentially life threatening emergency that often requires hospitalization.

The following symptoms may be related to diabulimia.

  • stomach pain and GI pain.
  • Difficult concentrating
  • feeling unwell or faint.
  • The tooth is damaged.
  • Low levels of hormones, or even low levels of potassium.
  • The counts of the white and red blood cells are low.
  • Slow healing of wounds.
  • Periods that are irregular.

These effects can be used in a number of combinations. This is one of the things that makes it hard to diagnose an eating disorder. It may indicate that the person has diabulimia if the symptoms persist.

The lack ofinsulin drives diabetes problems because it keeps the levels high. These can include:

How to find help from a medical professional

There is a serious mental health disorder called diabulimia that requires treatment that integrates services from psychology, nutrition, and endocrinology practices.

In the best-case scenario, each specialist has knowledge of both diabetes and eating disorders so that they can address them.

The earlier treatment for diabulimia is more likely to result in a positive outcome. When symptoms first appear is the best time to seek medical help.

The personal stories of people who have experienced diabulimia show how the condition can affect health and quality of life. These stories show that there is hope for recovery from diabulimia.

There are many themes in diabulimia.

  • People with the condition often feel weird with food.
  • They feel pressured to keep their numbers in range.
  • They feel judged when they miss targets.
  • Even though it is impossible, they feel that they must control their diabetes.

One of these stories comes from Asha Brown, founder of the nonprofit organization We Are Diabetes. Diagnosed with T1D when she was 5 years old, Asha shares that she was in college when she started experiencing diabulimia.

Maintaining a healthy weight and size felt like a full-time job. She needed help for a long time.

Brown admits that entering recovery can be frightening, as you have to give up some control. Most people with an eating disorder want complete control over their food.

It is the hardest step in recovery when you let go. Brown says that it was one of the best decisions she has ever made.

There are some resources that can help someone deal with diabulimia.

The Diabulimia Helpline

This hotline is available 24/7 at (425) 985-3635. They provide referral services to treatment centers, doctors, and therapists who have experience and expertise in both psychology and diabetes.

There are other resources, such as an online support group forum, and personal stories of those who have dealt with diabulimia.

You can post your story online to share your experience with others in the diabetes community.

We Are Diabetes

This organization was founded in 2011 by the above-introduced Asha Brown. The group is a leading source of information and help for those in the diabetes community living with diabulimia.

The group offers a free online recovery toolkit and works with diabulimia-knowledgeable healthcare professionals across the United States. They provide referral and support group services, including a mentorship program and a variety of books and specialized guides on the topic.

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

As the largest national nonprofit organization focused on eating disorders, NEDA has been around since 2001. This group has their own helpline at (800) 931-2237. They also provide online resources and an eating disorder screening tool, among many other tools.

People with diabetes are at risk of having an eating disorder called diabulimia. It causes people to avoid certain foods to avoid weight gain. Recovery is possible, even though it can be life-changing.