Diabulimia is an eating disorder wherein people with Type 1 diabetes intentionally restrict their insulin in order to lose weight.
Taking insulin helps people with Type 1 diabetes absorb glucose, so it can be converted into energy or stored as fat. When they stop taking insulin, their bodies eliminate that glucose through pee.
Instead, they get energy by breaking down fat stored in the body.
That leads to weight loss. But it also leads to severe health consequences and can be life threatening.
Without insulin, people with Type 1 diabetes can face anything from exhaustion and nausea to diabetic ketoacidosis, coma and even death.
Though increasingly well-known among diabetes and eating disorder communities, diabulimia still isn’t formally recognized as a medical or psychiatric condition, like anorexia or bulimia.
Doctors tend not to know how to treat it — or even what it is. As a result, diabulimia often goes undiagnosed and untreated, according to We Are Diabetes.
“Because it’s such a small population of a small population,” Erin Akers, CEO of Diabulimia Helpline, told Mic, “no one really cares about it or talks about it.”
A major problem is a lack of awareness, among both patients and medical professionals, about what diabulimia is.
“Diabulimia is not as well known as other eating disorders, because it impacts such a specific, and relatively small, community of people,” Ashley Streeter, a doctoral student in the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, told Mic.
“Medical and mental health professionals are often not exposed to eating disorder issues related to diabetes,” Streeter continued. “If they haven’t had previous exposure to diabulimia, they cannot recognize it when patients or clients experience it.”
Lots of people who discover diabulimia “kind of come upon it on their own,” Akers told Mic. “They hear about it at diabetes camp, or in a chat room.” To read the Yahoo article in full click here.
The 3rd Annual Australian and New Zealand Eating Disorders and Obesity Conference will be held at Mantra on View, Gold Coast from the 16 – 17 May 2016. To register for the conference CLICK HERE.