Diabulimia (ED-DMT1): signs, symptoms, and recovery

ED-DMT1, also known colloquially as "Diabulimia," is one of the most dangerous and least understood eating disorders. Our Diabulimia Treatment Program provides life-saving care for people who have diabetes and who are also struggling with an eating disorder.


ED-DMT1 recovery is possible.

If you or loved one is struggling, reach out to us today.
We are here for you 24/7
(855) 915-0213

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We would like to be your eating recovery community.

Our industry-leading experts, compassionate eating disorder professionals, and Adaptive Care Model® make Alsana, an eating recovery community, the best place for individuals with diabetes to recover from an eating disorder....

“Diabulimia” is the colloquial name for the dual diagnosis of a person with type 1 diabetes and an eating disorder who manipulates their insulin doses in an effort to control their weight. More formally, these behaviors are referred to as the dual diagnosis of “eating disorder-diabetes mellitus type 1,” or “ED-DMT1.”

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Healing from Diabulimia can seem like a daunting task. At Alsana, we will be with you every step of the way. In addition to a full recovery from your eating disorder, we will also guide you toward a rediscovery of the person you truly are.

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Take our free, confidential eating disorder assessment survey today.

With all the misinformation and Diet Culture influence out there, it’s easy to understand why many individuals and their loved ones dismiss, ignore, or misinterpret eating disorder signs and symptoms-often for so long that they actually seem healthy or “normal.”...

Even habits that may have started as part of an honest attempt to achieve a sense of wellness can spiral out of control for years before someone realizes they need help.

This confusion poses a huge barrier to receiving life-saving care. That’s why we’re happy to offer this free resource. Complete your assessment today and find out if eating disorder care is right for you.

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Begin your journey of hope and healing today.

A multidisciplinary approach is required in order for Diabulimia Treatment to be successful. The essential team members are: an endocrinologist or diabetologist who is sensitive to the psychological components of the eating disorder; a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator (CDE) with experience with eating disorders; and a psychotherapist with experience with eating disorders.

We offer comprehensive, holistic, evidence-based care for ED-DMT1 clients at these locations:

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Signs and Symptoms of ED-DMT1

Alsana is here to lead you towards a healthier and happier lifestyle no matter what you’re going through.

ED-DMT1 Warning Signs

  • Fear of taking insulin and insulin restriction
  • Irregular eating patterns
  • Avoidant of sweets and fats
  • Gravitate towards “safe foods”
  • Avoidant of meals
  • Binges + feelings of guilt and fear of weight gain
  • Limiting or omitting insulin
  • Avoidant of doctor’s appointments
  • Untruthful to doctors and family about blood glucose values
  • Frequent visits to the emergency room for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
  • May voice body image concerns or body dissatisfaction
  • May display intense obsession about weight
  • Secrecy and/or non-truths about diabetic management
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ED-DMT1 Symptoms

  • Early-onset of diabetic medical complications: frequent infections (UTI, yeast, skin, Staph, etc.), deteriorating vision, gastroparesis, neuropathy, renal disease, and cardiovascular complications
  • Consistently high hemoglobin A1c levels (range of blood sugars over a 3-month period)
  • Frequently omit insulin at mealtimes despite multiple episodes of DKA
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive hunger
  • Overlapping symptoms of eating disordered behaviors beyond insulin omission: restriction, binging, purging, use of laxatives, and over-exercising
  • Extreme lethargy
  • May be in a normal body weight, larger body, or underweight (although prior to diagnosis of DMT1, it is common to lose weight)
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