Mental Health Bites

Diabulimia (EDAW 2017)

Eating Disorders come in all different shapes and sizes – so this week, as part of EDAW, I wanted to make sure to talk about some of the less commonly discussed variations.  For this post, I’ve teamed with ‘diabetes.co.uk’ to bring you information on one such condition; diabulimia.

Diabulimia is an Eating Disorder in which an insulin-dependent diabetic skips doses of their medication in order to lose weight.  Although not currently a formally-diagnosable condition, research has indicated that as many as 1 in 3 young diabetics might have engaged in such a behaviour.

This is a very dangerous condition – as the person’s body is completely reliant on the injection of insulin to regulate their blood sugar.  Without this, long-term complications for the individual may include retinopathy, neuropathy and kidney disease. Ultimately very high blood sugar levels can be life threatening.

diabetes

Charlotte Summers, COO of Diabetes.co.uk outlines that:

“Diabulimia is a serious condition that often gets overlooked.  Being diagnosed with diabetes can have a serious impact on self-image.  For people with type 1 diabetes, the stress of injecting can have a detrimental effect; whilst in people with type 2 diabetes, the negative portrayal of diabetes in the media causes anxiety and a lack of self-esteem.  It is something that affects both men and women and requires more awareness and research in order to determine the best way to address the emotional impact of diabetes.”

That’s why ‘Diabetes.co.uk’ is working closely with a great charity, ‘Diabetics with Eating Disorders’, also known as DWEB.

If you, or someone you know, is affected by this condition, then I would really encourage you to seek support by contacting your GP – and also a therapist.  You can also access support from both of the above-mentioned charities, as well as from leading UK Eating Disorder Charity b-eat.

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