Encouragement with Managing Diabulimia During the Holiday Season

Woman with Diabulimia during the holiday

When it comes to eating disorders, we commonly hear about anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. But there are many other forms of eating disorders and disordered eating, such as Diabulimia.  This can be equally as devastating and life-threatening, particularly if not intervened with the help of professional specialists.

Understanding Diabulimia

Diabulimia is one such eating disorder that is not officially recognized with a formal diagnosis by the medical and psychiatric communities. Even with lack of formal diagnostic criteria, there are several known behaviors that are associated with diabulimia, which is so termed for individuals with type 1 diabetes who deliberately manipulate their insulin regime as a way for weight loss.

A person who struggles with behaviors associated with diabulimia will often demonstrate abnormal behaviors with both their food and how they manage their medication. Because individuals with type 1 diabetes cannot effectively produce insulin needed to process glucose, medication is a necessary part of treatment. Medication might be purposefully withheld for the intention of weight loss; however, this behavior is extremely dangerous.

Enjoying the holidayThe holiday season can be triggering for any individual who is struggling with an eating disorder, such as diabulimia. When faced with overwhelming food choices or the potential urge to binge, manipulating medication may seem like a temporary solution.

Some people who are dealing with diabulimia may experience a loss of control when it comes to eating holiday foods and attempt to compensate by changing insulin dosages.

It is especially critical to seek out professional help and support for diabulimia, as the consequences resulting from medication manipulation with insulin can be fatal. If the holidays are difficult for you, reach out for support and guidance from your treatment team.

Work with your dietitian and therapist to discuss potential scenarios involved with holiday meals as well as an effective game plan for navigating through possible triggers. Utilizing effective coping skills can also be helpful in the situation where urges become difficult to bear. Planning ahead as much as possible can help you successfully overcome any challenges you might be facing.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What about the holiday season may be especially triggering for a person recovering from diabulimia?

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 15, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com