Diabulimia Facts & Statistics

What Are the Facts About Diabulimia?

Diabulimia is a term that describes the manipulation of insulin to control weight by individuals with type 1 diabetes.

The term "diabulimia" is not a medical term but it is a term used by the general population. A more accurate and appropriate term may be Dual Diagnosis of Eating Disorder and Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 (ED-DMT1).

Here are some facts and statistics about diabulimia:

  • Having type 1 diabetes puts an individual at increased risk for developing an eating disorder or disordered eating. 1

  • As many as 35 percent of young adult women with type 1 diabetes met the criteria for a “sub-threshold” eating disorder (display symptoms of an eating disorder but do not meet the full diagnostic criteria). 2

  • As many as 11 percent of young adult women with type 1 diabetes met the criteria for a full-syndrome eating disorder. 2

    • These are troubling figures when compared to the incidence of eating disorders among women in general, in which an estimated 0.5 to 3.7 percent of women suffer from anorexia nervosa and an estimated 1.1 to 4.2 percent of women have bulimia nervosa in their lifetime. 3

  • 16 percent of males with type 1 diabetes have disordered eating behaviors.4

  • The risk of death for ED-DMT1 was 17-fold compared to type 1 diabetes alone and seven-fold compared to anorexia nervosa 5

It’s important to note that people with diabulimia may exhibit any number of eating disorder behaviors — or they may only manipulate their insulin and otherwise have normal eating patterns.

Learn more about treatment for diabulimia

The facts and statistics about diabulimia are clear: misuse of insulin to manage weight is serious and life-threatening. There are serious complications associated with diabulimia.


If you need help for an eating disorder, or if you are concerned about someone you love, please call us today to speak confidentially with one of our Master's-level counselors at 877-825-8584. The call is free and we would be happy to help you learn more about diabulimia treatment options.

References:

  1. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/38/7/1212

  2. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/15/10/1356.abstract?ijkey=cfb729fa64726a3f59924bd2e7351ae98184dc4b&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

  3. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/15/10/1356.abstract?ijkey=cfb729fa64726a3f59924bd2e7351ae98184dc4b&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

  4. Hanlan, M. E., Griffith, J., Patel, N., & Jaser, S. S. (2013). Eating disorders and disordered eating in Type 1 diabetes: prevalence, screening, and treatment options. Current Diabetes Reports, 13(6), 909-916.

  5. Mortality in concurrent type 1 diabetes and anorexia nervosa. Nielsen S, Emborg C, Mølbak AG. Diabetes Care. 2002 Feb; 25(2):309-12.

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