By the very nature of Type 1 Diabetes, those with Type 1 are taught from the start to analyze food. To count each carb, study how the food on the plate will contribute to fluctuations in blood sugars, and that certain types of foods are best eaten with certain blood sugars. It is also fairly common during all this to get advice from others about the food you are eating and whether or not you should eat it. This can lead to one being even more aware of the food that they are eating. And when this happens with an individual with Type 1 Diabetes, it can result in turning into something bigger - Diabulimia. Diabulimia is an eating disorder that deals specifically with Type 1 Diabetes. In this disorder, those with Type 1 Diabetes will often manipulate their insulin doses as a way to lose weight. Symptoms of Diabulimia may include:

  • Poor metabolic control with hyperglycemia or elevated A1C levels despite reported compliance;

  • Maintaining or losing weight despite eating more food;

  • Recurrent hospitalizations related to diabetic ketoacidosis;

  • Lapses in blood glucose testing, or failure to bring glucose meters or records to appointments;

  • Fear of hypoglycemia and the feeling of low energy or feeling "down";

  • Long stretches between appointments, to avoid being lectured about poor blood glucose control;

  • Scale avoidance;

  • Dry skin and loss of hair;

  • Classic symptoms of diabetes— excessive urination, extreme thirst, constant hunger; and

  • Classic symptoms of eating disorders— excessive exercise, fatigue, weakness, lethargy, being overly critical of appearance, amenorrhea.


Those who have Type 1 Diabetes in addition to an eating disorder may experience many of the same symptoms as a person without diabetes. However, in those with Type 1 Diabetes, there is an additional danger of the symptom of insulin restriction. In Diabulimia, insulin restriction is a form of calorie purging. Insulin restriction, or depriving oneself of insulin, can in and of itself result in weight loss. Insulin restriction may be identifiable through unexplained high A1C tests and repeated cases of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). It is crucial that in the treatment of Diabulimia, you receive joined treatment for diabetes and the eating disorder.

Diabulimia Resources



A hotline dedicated to helping those dealing with Diabulimia. This hotline is open 24 hours. 

Hotline: (425) 985-3635

24 Hour Diabulimia Hotline

Specialized Treatment Centers

There are very few treatment centers in the United States that know how to properly treat and deal with diabulimia.