Need diabulemia info

I have a cousin who is maintaining high sugars to lose weight. Her parents would like to have an intervention for her (she’s over 18), but are looking for some information first. Can someone who has beaten diabulemia give me an idea of what worked for them?

Hi Liz,

We had a discussion about this here recently. You might try reading through it and looking at some of the links.

Thanks Dave & Brett. I’ve done both. Her parents are ridiculously well-educated people - I swear they know more about T1 than I do! - so they are knowledgeable about this condition. Since my cousin is 23 & unwilling to change her ways on her own, they’re looking for some idea of how to get her to snap out of it & get help. I need to know what worked for others who were dragged kicking & screaming to get help?

I don’t know if this is helpful, but I read about this sort of thing in the “Encyclopedia of Diabetes”, it discussed insulin manipulation and studies that had been done on the subject. I borrowed it from the library. It might be a good start.

I am happy to hear that your cousin’s parents are actively working to help her–many families find it easier to ignore the problem. i don’t have too much advice, but can say that her parents perhaps shouldn’t be expecting her to “snap out of it,” particularly if she’s been doing this for awhile. The longer it goes on, the more ingrained the behaviors are, and the harder they are for the person to stop. for most people with eating disorders, unless they are under 18, being dragged kicking and screaming into some sort of treatment probably won’t work. for most of the people i know, that kind of intervention (despite only being in the absolute best intentions) really freaked them out, and if anything made them run in the opposite direction. like i said, eating disorders, for a lot of people, aren’t something that the person is always willing to stop, or to receive help in stopping it.
if she is willing to get help, i would definitely recommend her finding a good therapist to see–and this might be something that her parents could really help with–taking the first steps to find people to help can be very scary, especially if the person is feeling like she is unsure of whether or not she wants to give up that part of her life, so sometimes small things like having other people make the first phone calls can be a huge help.

please let us know how she’s doing!

Geese that makes my stomach upset just thinking about it.

rick phillips

I quit when I got put in the hosp for dka plus shortly after I found out I had several complications even though I was still quite young my doctor told me that was why. The only way they can get her to quit is to let her decide for herself she needs to. she wont do it and stay quit just because her family wants her to. They may consider getting her to see a psychiatrist. As with all eating disorders and addictions there is probably an underlying cause.

When I was doing it, it was because I wanted to have the feeling of control over my body. I felt like I was invaded by T1D, being diagnosed at 14 years old. Suddenly everything I needed to live was surrounded by my T1D.

I woke up, tested my blood, injected. Went to school, took break to eat a snack that I didn’t want, tested my blood, injected. had lunch that I was hungry for, tested my blood, injected. Had an afternoon snack that i definitely didnt want, tested my blood, injected. etc etc etc

So, I started to rebel. I knew that I had to eat because my family was watching me. So, I would eat, then I would sneak into the bathroom (always within 30 mins after finishing because that’s when the fat cells are created from the food) and jab the back of my throat with a spoon handle. The first time I did it, it was scary but really liberating at the same time.

Every single time I did it, I told myself it was the last.

But, it got to the point where I didn’t even need an object to get the food out. Just the idea of getting it out and it would come.

I knew it wasn’t good for me. I did it for only one year.
Then, afterwards, I went to anorexia for another year. I would eat once every three days. Sometimes I would hold out as long as I could, just to prove to myself that I could go longer and longer without food each time.

I withheld insulin from myself and didn’t check my BG. I played with my medications and blind injected for two months. I can’t believe I survived it.

This all happened between 15 and 18 years of age.

Thankfully, I never went over 9.5 A1c. The damage wasn’t too bad. Even in my disarray, I was still pretty stable.

I did it for control. I did it to “get back at” my body. I was punishing my body because it was punishing me.

I snapped out of it on my own. No one even noticed that I was hurting myself. I was very good at covering it up and I’m very good at putting on a happy face even when it feels like I’m dying inside.

If your cousin’s signs of diabulemia are visible to even her parents, then it’s a cry for help. She wants to know that she is being understood and wants her pain on the inside to be visible on the outside- to those people who are supposed to be there for her.

If it were me, I would sit down and talk with her. A family intervention. Tell her that you love her, that you understand that her T1D is really hard. Most diabulemics don’t do it to “lose weight”. They do it for the sense of control over their bodies. Same thing with regular bulemics. The idea that “I will give you what you need to live, but I’m going to take it away when I want to” A give and take relationship.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

TuDiabetes member Lee Ann Thill overcame this. Here is a link to her blog

Thank you to everyone that replied. Her parents are going to talk with her next week, so please keep your fingers crossed. I can’t imagine how horrible she must feel going through this…