This eating disorder subtype is characterized by individuals with Type 1 diabetes whose main eating disorder behavior involves purposely giving themselves less than their required medical dosage of insulin in order to control their weight gain.  This is very dangerous, and it is important that individuals suffering from diabulimia seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent permanent health problems from arising.

Diabulimia’s Dangerous Effects

Lack of insulin creates a starvation state in the body, excreting sugars in urine instead of being stored as fat in the body or being used for energy. Often, people with diabulimia had been diagnosed with another eating disorder prior to their diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes. There are severe health risks associated with diabulimia, including diabetic neuropathy, renal failure, blindness, and death if it is not treated. 

Individualized Treatment for Diabulimia

At Marin Vista in the San Francisco Bay Area and Aspire Wellness Center in the Sacramento Area, our clinical teams have experience helping diabetics work through the underlying issues that may be causing their eating disorder behaviors, such as trauma, low self-esteem, poor body image, depression, and societal pressures to look a certain way.  Our Medical Directors  are an integral part of the multi-disciplinary team, and have extensive experience helping diabetics manage their insulin and related medications. Even though diabulimia may not be as common as anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating, it is a serious eating disorder that requires immediate medical and therapeutic intervention, individualized treatment planning, and close monitoring during the early stages of recovery.