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Our new position statement on diabulimia

18 April 2017

Diabulimia describes the situation where somebody deliberately and regularly reduces the amount of insulin they take due to concerns over their body weight and/or shape. While not formally recognised as a mental health condition in its own right, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) considers that insulin omission in order to lose weight is a clinical feature of anorexia and bulimia. Similarly, Diabulimia has also been recognised in the most recent NICE guidance for eating disorders.

Diabulimia is associated with an increase in retinopathy, nephropathy and foot problems, and the duration of severe insulin omission is the factor most closely associated with the development of retinopathy and nephropathy.

Diabetes UK calls for the following action across the UK to improve recognition and management of diabulimia, and so improve patient outcomes.

  • Psychological factors should always be considered, assessed and excluded in all episodes of DKA.
  • Sufficient time, resources and training must be in place to enable diabetes healthcare professionals to identify and support people with diabulimia effectively.

Read the fullposition statement (Word 110 Kb).

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