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Comorbid Eating Disorder and Diabetes Raises Serious Concerns

Comorbid Eating Disorder and Diabetes Raises Serious Concerns

“ED-DMT1,” also known as “diabulimia” is a combination of an eating disorder and type 1 diabetes, a very dangerous disorder that is increasingly becoming a concern for clinicians. 


Diabulimia usually refers to diabetics who stop taking, or deliberately manipulate, their recommended insulin dose in order to lose weight. However, the term can also apply to diabetics who suffer from anorexia, bulimia or binge eating (Lindell, 2014). 


While diabulimia is not yet officially recognized as a medical or psychiatric diagnosis, a recent study published in BJM reported that “adolescent females with type 1 diabetes are 2.4 times more likely to develop eating disorders than peers of the same age without diabetes” (Lindell, 2014). Additionally, other studies have shown that approximately 30 percent of females with type 1 diabetes intentionally omit insulin. 


The effects of insulin limitation include eye problems, nerve damage, amputated limbs, vascular disease, kidney failure, and even death. Patients with diabulimia often require hospitalization or in-patient treatment as well as care by a team of doctors including an endocrinologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, registered dietitian, and diabetes educator (Lindell, 2014). 


Lindell, K. (2014). The eating disorder you’ve never heard of. Retrieved from http://www.thefix.com/content/what-diabulimia