Facebook Pixel

11 Facts About Diabulimia You Should Know

By HERWriter
Rate This
11 Facts About Diabulimia You May Not Have Known Kyrylo Ryzhov/PhotoSpin

Chances are you know someone with diabetes type 1 or the eating disorder bulimia nervosa. However, what’s more uncommon is having both conditions at once, which has been coined “diabulimia.”

Dr. Ovidio Bermudez, the chief medical officer and medical director of Child and Adolescent Services at the Eating Recovery Center explained in an email that diabulimia is a word used more among the general public. It’s not a true diagnosis.

“The dual diagnosis of an eating disorder and type 1 diabetes is often referred to as ‘diabulimia,’ although this is not a medically recognized term and it is not an accurate description,” Bermudez said.

The term used among health care professionals for diabulimia is ED-DMT1. Diabulimia or ED-DMT1 is diagnosed when a person intentionally misuses insulin to control weight.

This includes decreasing insulin intake, avoiding any insulin intake, waiting longer to take the right amount of insulin, or tampering with the insulin so it doesn’t work properly.

When anyone with type 1 diabetes uses one of the above techniques to control weight, it can lead to high blood glucose levels, or hyperglycemia, as well as excretion of glucose in urine, which leads to weight loss.

This is considered to be a purging of calories.

However, the condition is complicated because a person diagnosed with ED-DMT1 may not even be diagnosed with bulimia or have typical symptoms, like self-induced vomiting or binge-eating.

A person suffering from diabulimia may only refrain from using insulin after an actual binge, or just after eating more than usual, as a way to purge the calories.

The symptoms of diabulimia can be pretty broad and include typical eating disorder behaviors, but some people have normal eating patterns and only manipulate the insulin.

Bermudez said that there are four major factors that can contribute to the development of an eating disorder in a person with type 1 diabetes:

1) Emphasis on food and diet restraint

Carbohydrate counting and meal planning are important parts of diabetes management, and this can create an unhealthy focus on food, numbers and control.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

It's important to know that Type 2 diabetics can eventually have to use insulin to control blood sugar as the disease progresses, and so may also be subject to diabulimia.

January 7, 2015 - 6:49pm
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Eating Disorders

Get Email Updates

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!