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What is Diabulimia?

People that have Type I Diabetes are unable to produce their own insulin. They are dependent on injecting insulin into their bodies to make up for their pancreas not properly making their natural insulin. Not having insulin in the body affects the glucose levels that the liver needs to function. Hyperglycemia is a dangerous health condition where the body is unable to utilize glucose in its cells.

When the terms “diabetes” and “bulimia” get mixed together, they become known as “diabulimia”. This is a serious situation in which individuals with Type I Diabetes can manipulate their insulin levels for the sole reason of losing weight. This dual-diagnosis status can cause serious medical circumstances or even death.

While the name may be deceiving, persons with diabulimia do not necessarily struggle with bulimia which indicates that a person uses vomiting, laxatives, or exercising to purge their food intake. Rather the name refers to diabetics using the kidneys to purge the excess sugar through their urine. “Diabulimics” will take just enough insulin to be able to function, which leaves them feeling irritable, dehydrated, and fatigued. This unsafe practice can cause devastating health consequences. Diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney failure, nerve disorders, and blindness can be the result of diabulimia.

Research has been found that people who have diabetes will have a higher chance of also developing an eating disorder. 40 percent of all women within the ages of 15-30 with Type 1 Diabetes will contract diabulimia. While there is no percentage of males that are susceptible to diabulimia, research also shows that males are at high risk as well.

Part of the problem that links diabetes with an eating disorder is that having diabetes makes patients manage their condition with what they are consuming in their diet along with getting some physical activity. Developing strict control in these areas can expose someone with diabetes to an eating disorder. The signs of diabulimia can become crystal clear with disordered eating such as rituals around food, binge eating, excess dieting, incessant talking about body image and weight, or refusing to eat around others.

Once someone with diabulimia is willing seek help, they will need the supervision of a health care provider. Treatment will not be limited to complications associated with diabetes, but should also include glucose monitoring and reintroduction to insulin.

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center can help you, or someone you know with drug or alcohol addiction. Our beautiful facility can give a loved one the tools and support they need to embark on their journey of recovery. Our highly-trained doctors, nurses, therapists, and counselors give a high patient-to staff-ratio to accommodate all your needs.

Call us today: 844-720-6847

Serenity Oaks Wellness Center