Diabulimia Symptoms & Warning Signs

What Are the Symptoms & Signs of Diabulimia?

Diabulimia is not an official eating disorder diagnosis or a medically recognized term. It is a non-clinical term that used to describe an eating disorder affecting some people with type 1 diabetes. It is sometimes referred to as the Dual Diagnosis of Eating Disorder and Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 (ED-DMT1).

There are a number of clinical signs and symptoms of diabulimia seen in people with type 1 diabetes, including:

  • Weight loss

  • Growth failure in adolescents

  • Poor blood-glucose control (especially if the individual had good control previously)

  • Hyperglycemia

  • Ketonuria

  • Recurrent episodes of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA); marked by polydipsia (excessive thirst), polyuria (frequent urination) and/or polyphagia (increased hunger)

  • Severe recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia

  • Higher than usual hemoglobin A1c levels (despite good blood sugar records, which may be falsified by the individual)

  • Microvascular disease affecting the eyes, kidneys and heart

  • Peripheral neuropathy (weakness, numbness and/or pain in hands and feet)

  • Secrecy, abnormal behaviors or rituals around insulin administration

  • Disordered eating, including restriction, binge eating, refusal to eat in the presence of others, obsession with weight, body image, exercise and/or food

  • Depressed mood, social withdrawal and/or deterioration of school or work performance.

Know the diabulimia warning signs and how to respond

Manipulating insulin can be life-threatening for people with type 1 diabetes. This means that if you or a loved one need treatment for diabulimia, medical stabilization will be a priority. Once this is achieved, professional care with a multidisciplinary team experienced in the medical, nutritional, and psychological treatment of diabulimia may be warranted.

Eating Recovery Centers is the only treatment center in the nation offering diabulimia treatment at all levels of care including inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs.

To learn more about your treatment options for diabulimia or to speak confidentially with a Master's-level clinician, please call us today at 877-825-8584. We can help you move towards a full and lasting recovery from diabulimia.

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