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What is diabulimia, and how is it treated?

 In Addiction

Diabulimia is a disorder that only affects people who take insulin for type 1 diabetes. Diabulimia lowers the user’s life expectancy, and symptoms can include irregular heartbeat and bladder infections. 

According to web MD, Diabulimia happens when you skip the insulin you need to treat your type 1 diabetes on purpose to lose weight. When you have type 1 diabetes, your body can’t make insulin, which means you can’t use sugar for energy, causing blood sugars to rise. Excess blood sugars are released in excess in your urine.

Without enough insulin, you also create ketones as an energy source, leading to anorexia and weight loss. This can bring on diabetic ketoacidosis, which can lead to coma or death.

Causes of diabulimia: 

  • Having a family history of eating disorders
  • Perfectionism tendency 
  • Childhood trauma
  • Neuroticism 

Signs and symptoms of diabulimia: 

Diabulimia is a more common occurrence than you may think. Around 60 percent of individuals have missed an insulin shot. And for some, this turns into a more severe disorder. It is essential to try and manage stress and anxiety due to these things possibly becoming a factor with someone with diabulimia. 

Diabulimia treatment:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT for short, can help re-regulate negative thought patterns and turn those into positive ones. 
  • Group therapy is when a group of people struggling with similar things comes together to discuss their illness, usually with a medical professional, to discuss their illness. 
  • Family therapy is when a member’s family gets counseled on how to help the patient better.

If you or a loved one is struggling with diabulimia, please contact a mental healthcare professional for help. This unofficial disorder can lead to death, so individuals should reach out to a medical professional as they may want the individual to go into intensive outpatient or inpatient therapy. 

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