It is eating disorders awareness week and the topic for this week is Diabulimia. This is an eating disorder that can only affect those with Type 1 diabetes.
Although not an officially recognised mental illness Diabulimia involves not giving insulin to cause weight loss. This can have life threatening consequences.
Signs and symptoms are not limited to but may include:
- Recurrent episodes of Hyperglycaemia/DKA
- Recurrent episodes of hypoglycaemia
- Frequent hospitalisations due to poor blood sugar control
- Loss of appetite/Eating more and losing weight
- Frequent episodes of thrush/urine infections
- Severe fluctuations in weight
- Fear of injecting/extreme distress at injecting
- A fundamental belief that insulin makes you fat
- Anxiety/distress over being weighed at appointments
It is estimated that 4 in every 10 women and 1 in 10 men aged 15-30 take less insulin to lose weight. If you think this is something that may be affecting you it could be helpful to tell someone. This may be someone you know or someone you don’t. This might be a friend, a family member, your GP. Others with the condition have said that telling someone can help feel as though a weight has been lifted. There are some links below where support can be found.
http://dwed.org.uk/online-support Facebook groups, one for individuals who need support and another for their friends and family members.
https://www.diabetes.org.uk/how_we_help/helpline Speak with trained counsellors that can provide support to those with diabetes, friends or family.