Hello Everyone,
I am writing a research paper on diabulimia and am trying to gauge the diabetic community's response to it. Diabulimia is a disorder in which a diabetic deliberately take less insulin than required for the purpose of losing weight. Even if you've never heard about it until this moment I'd like to hear what you have to say.
Parents, do you ever plan on talking to your T1 about this issue?
I would really appreciate all kinds of responses so please don't be shy!

Tags: T1, controversy, diabulimia, insulin, issues, manipulation, study

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Thanks so much!
Just out of curiosity what kind of charity deals with diabulimia?
Wow I didn't know this had a name. I guess this is what I was going through when I was a teenager. Unfortunately I would be good for a couple weeks before my doctor appointments and even let my sugar get real low to throw off my A1C, then as soon as I got home I would down a regular soda thinking high sugars would start the whole process. Strange thinking back then I guess, but I like to blame it on my age. Anyways, I have been on a pump now and haven't done that in quite awhile. Thanks for the info!
Diabulimia is sad and scary. And not surprising. Like Zoe said, ALL type 1 diabetics have to pay obsessive attention to food -- that's what you have to do to calculate your insulin dose, and stay healthy.
As a parent this subject scares me to no end. My daughter is a T1 and in high school. She's a cheerleader and is already very body conscious. I don't want to be the one to introduce the subject to her because I don't want to give her any ideas. After reading what some of you had to say I may have to give that a second thought...

Watch her A1C like a hawk. That should give you a heads up if she starts running high to lose weight.

Hi Aimee. I can see that you are a very loving mum and want to do the best for your daughter. From my personal perspective I can say I have always been not shown, but "threatened" by doctors and my mum, who always mention complications when my A1c-s are higher and I can say that just hearing about them is terrifying enough. I don't know how I would react if my mum met me with a diabetic with an amputated leg as a child in order to show me what might happen to me if I don't manage my disease. Knowing the consequences is good, being too afraid of the future is not so much. I was a diabulimic for probably around 7 years. My parents, even most of my friends never knew, but my mum always made sure she knows about my blood sugars and told me about the dangers of them being high. This resulted in me being not honest about my real results and feeling unable to share with her how difficult it was for me to keep up with diabetes (because I thought that I would disappoint her and only be told off and told again about the complications). SO I woud say, if you suspect some day that your daughter has diabulimia, be supportive. Make her feel she can tell you anything and you wouldn't blame her, you would try to understand and support her. But after all, with all my heart I wish diabulimia will never happen to her and you.

Thanks, Aimee! it is great you are so careful in your parenting! Keep up and all the best:)

As a teenager I worked as a counselor every summer at a camp for diabetics. I quickly learned about this at camp, but we didn't call it that. Girls usually called it the best and easiest way to lose weight. At camp, we dealt with it a lot, primarily with the girls. Back then (mid 80s to early 90s) it was primarily ages 11+. I stuggled with my weight as a teenager, and one of my diabetic "friends" at camp endoctrinated me into how to lose all the weight I wanted. I cannot say that I did not consider it, because I did. But I truely did no want to end up with complications, so I never used this way to lose weight. Now, 28 years after my diagnosis, I have every complication imaginable.
I only knew of 1 guy who did this, and he admitted doing it. It was the way he "made weight" in high school wrestling.
I don't plan on mentioning this to our teen yet because I don't even want to give her the idea that it is possible to do this. However, I hope she does not pick up this idea from diabetes camp. She has always been thin but she definitely wants to remain on the thinner side of normal. She is very responsible about her health and constantly checks BS when away from home; which is good. Parents should be alerted about the possibility of this but this issue is getting too much press. With the result that teens at risk are more easily able to find out how to do this. Unless, this has been common knowledge.....??
A few years after I'd been diagnosed (at 23) with T1, I met someone who told me of a diabetic friend that would let her blood sugar get high when she wanted to shed a few pounds. My first thought was that this friend was destroying her body, probably constantly exhausted, suffering from insomnia and potentially killing herself; my second thought was "what a great idea".

I'd never been thin (never heavy) until the summer I started magically losing weight (due to as of yet undiagnosed diabetes), but had never had many body issues and accepted my weight and body the way it was. But the attention I got when I was thin, the way clothes felt, and the general the praise that comes along with being thin warped my mind. Along with Zoe, I KNOW that if diabetes had struck me in my teen years, or earlier, I would have definitely become diabulimic. I remember looking in the mirror the night that I was admitted to the hospital, right after they had diagnosed me, brought my blood sugar down for the first time in what was probably 6 months or more, and rehydrated me with saline. I was devastated at what I saw. I was "fat" again. Now, I think to myself, "SERIOUSLY???" What I was seeing was that I wasn't malnourished and dehydrated anymore. It seems such a fine line between being "thin" and being ill. No one that summer (save my family) ever mentioned that I looked like I was knocking at Death's door.

There is a truly complicated and obsessive nature to controlling diabetes. Between managing meals, excercising, checking bg, dosing, correcting high bgs, and keeping A1Cs in line; it's a constant obsession with which foods you're eating and how well you're managing that food in your system. In a lot of ways, it's easier (and the idea alone just made me heave a wistful sigh of relief) to chuck the whole system and enjoy being thin. But that's such a dark and dangerous road to go down. Now, I'm just a little bit overweight -- with a bit of 'betes pudge -- but happy.

Your story is so common -- and so very sad. Too many people will give you lots of compliments for losing weight, without every wondering or seriously inquiring HOW or WHY you're losing weight. There is tremendous pressure to be thin with little thought given in the moment to all the dangerous, unhealthy things that can make people suddenly thin: bulimia, anorexia, cancer, undiagnosed or untreated T1, clinical depression, etc.

I remember the summer (when I turned 14) when I simply...stopped eating.

I got so many compliments, people telling me how great I looked.

No one noticed or inquired into the fact that I was eating maybe 200 calories per day -- literally starving myself to near-death. But I was thin! That was all that mattered. Fortunately for me, after loosing about 40-lbs. (about 20-lbs. underweight for my height) my body rebelled and I couldn't keep it up into full-blown anorexia. Thank goodness for a strong survival instinct.




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