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What Is Diabulimia & Is it an Eating Disorder?

Learn what diabulimia is from Allegra Broft, M.D. in this Howcast video.


Diabulimia is not an official eating disorder diagnostic category. But none the less, it should be recognized because of its potential to be extremely dangerous. Diabulimia is kind of a combination of the word Diabetes and Bulimia. It refers to patients with Type One Diabetes who are supposed to be giving themselves insulin injections in order to manage blood sugar levels where the patient starts omitting some of their insulin injections with the purpose of weight loss.

As you might imagine, somebody with Type One Diabetes is giving themselves insulin for good reason, in order to regulate blood sugar levels over the course of the day. And when blood sugar levels go high because there's not enough insulin on board, there are potentially life threatening risks that can be associated with that. Including, things like diabetic ketoacidosis, where the person can even go into a coma because blood sugar levels get so high.

So, I implore any patient that has been dabbling with that strategy, or thinking about using it, absolutely dangerous, and please don't engage in that behavior. If weight is a struggle, and you have Type One Diabetes, work with a nutritionist or someone that can help you try to manage your eating and weight from a more stable perspective. There are ways to engage in weight management strategies even with a problem coexisting like Type One Diabetes, and the proper professionals can help you find that path.

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