The Health Risks of Manipulating Insulin

Misusing insulin as a way of "purging" calories is a serious eating disorder commonly known as "diabulimia." The official term is dual diagnosis of an eating disorder and type 1 diabetes (ED-DMT1). Manipulating insulin may start out as a weight loss tool, but this serious eating disorder can cause long-lasting health complications.

Serious Health Complications Due to ED-DMT1

There are a number of risks associated with diabulimia. At its most extreme, diabulimia can increase the risk of premature death. People with type 1 diabetes, that are also prone to eating disorder behaviors, may partake in this harmful method regularly, leading to severe consequences:

  • Diabetes complications (including onset and severity of microvascular disease and peripheral nerve damage)
  • Hyperglycemia (elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream) resulting from insulin deficiency and leads to damage of small vessels (microvascular damage) and nerve cells, specifically peripheral nerves
  • Damage to the retina of the eye, kidneys and heart (related to microvascular disease)
  • Small nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy, pain, tingling, and even numbness of hands and feet
  • Ketonuria
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis

​At the extreme, additional complications can include:

  • Damage to the heart
  • Damage to the kidney
  • Damage to the retina of the eye
  • Damage to peripheral nerves
  • ​​Increased mortality risk

​These serious health risks underscore the necessity to seek specialized treatment for this condition.

Treatment Can Save Lives

If you are concerned that you, or someone you love, is having complications associated with diabulimia symptoms, please call us at 877-825-8584 to speak confidentially with one of our Masters-level clinicians.

At our eating disorder treatment center, we can help you take immediate steps towards a full and lasting recovery from diabulimia (ED-DMT1).

Eating Recovery Center is accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval™ have met or exceeded The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

Joint Commission Seal