Signs of an Eating Disorder (Continued)

What are the signs of an Eating Disorder, clinically known as Disordered Eating?

Diabulimia is characterized by a person with diabetes intentionally skipping insulin therapy to keep blood glucose levels elevated, which in turn causes dangerous weight loss.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Excessive exercise
  • Intentionally skipped or drastically lowered insulin doses
  • Decreased blood glucose monitoring
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Excessive urination
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape

Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for height, body type, age, and activity level
  • Intense fear of weight gain or being "fat"
  • Feeling "fat" or overweight despite dramatic weight loss
  • Loss of menstrual periods
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape


Bulimia is characterized by a secretive cycle of binge eating followed by purging. Bulimia includes eating large amounts of food – more than most people would eat in one meal – in short periods of time, then getting rid of the food and calories through vomiting, laxative abuse, or over-exercising.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Repeated episodes of binging and purging
  • Feeling out of control during a binge and eating beyond the point of comfortable fullness
  • Purging after a binge (typically by self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives, diet pills and/or diuretics, excessive exercise, or fasting)
  • Frequent dieting
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape

Eating disorders are serious medical conditions. Combined with diabetes, they can cause illness, long-term complications, and even death. If you suspect that you or your loved one may have an eating disorder, talk to your doctor today about treatment options.

Parts excerpted and adapted from Eating Disorders and Diabetes, State of Misssouri Department of Health and Senior Services

For more information, visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.

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READ MORE: Why Do We Struggle in Our Relationship with Food?

READ MORE: What Do Your Thoughts Have to Do with Eating and Weight Loss?

READ MORE: Diabetes and Eating Disorders

TEST YOURSELF: Could You Have An Eating Disorder?

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Last Modified Date: January 08, 2016

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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