Treating people with type 1 diabetes and eating disorders - the need for a multidisciplinary approach

Since early case reports in the 1980’s, there has been considerable interest in examining the connection between type 1 diabetes and eating disorders. Some researchers argue that the attention to food portions (especially carbohydrates), blood glucose, body weight, and exercise that are characteristic of standard medical treatment for type 1 diabetes resembles the rigid thinking about food and body image that is characteristic of people with eating disorders without diabetes. The Diabetes Complications and Control Trial demonstrated that intensive insulin management of diabetes, besides having positive effects on the prevention or delay of diabetes complications, is associated with weight gain. It may be that the current goals of diabetes care increase the risk for developing an eating disorder. Some recent controlled studies suggest an increased risk of secondary eating disorders among people with type 1 diabetes – reporting that young women with diabetes have nearly two and a half times the risk of developing an eating disorder than women of a similar age without diabetes.
eating disorders, diabulimia, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, intermittent insulin restriction, weight control