When you think about eating disorders you might think about such diseases as bulimia, anorexia or binge eating. Chances are you probably don’t even know about diabulimia.
Diabulimia is a disorder whereby type 1 diabetics who are supposed to be taking insulin, intentionally skip the medication in order to lose or not gain weight. Needless to say this is extremely dangerous.
The reason it works is because insulin helps your body process glucose. Without insulin the sugar can’t be properly stored, thus inhibiting weight gain. Not taking insulin can’t, however, be extremely dangerous to your health, resulting in Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), a diabetic coma or even death. Learn more about DKA here.
Because many health care professionals aren’t properly trained about this dangerous disorder, it often goes undetected but some research seems to indicate that almost 1 out of 3 type 1 diabetics have, at some time, intentionally refrained from taking their medication in order to not gain weight (after binge eating, a big holiday meal, etc…).
It isn’t enough to chastise the patient about taking the insulin any more than it is to tell an bulimic to eat more; it’s an eating disorder issue. Diabulimians need counseling and behavior modification therapy. Like bulimics, diabulimians would rather die than gain weight; it isn’t enough to just tell them to stop.
If you or someone you know struggles with diabulimia, point them to the diabulimians unite facebook page. The support there might just save your, or their life.