New research conducted by Abertay University has shone light on a little known mental health condition experienced by some people living with type one diabetes.
Diabulimia is an eating disorder relating to type one sufferers who choose to undertake vital insulin injections in an effort to lose weight.
Work led by staff within Abertay’s mental health nursing and counselling division suggests the condition may be more common than first thought.
The findings also suggest there is a lack of emotional support for those living with diabulimia.
Dr Kate Smith, academic curriculum manager for Abertay’s School of Social and Health Sciences, conducted the research, which was carried out at the Tayside Centre for Counselling and funded by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
She said: “It is well established that there is a gap between the psychological and emotional needs of people with diabetes and the care and support that is offered.
“The project involved speaking to young people with the condition, talking to practitioners who work daily with young people within the NHS, and also offering counselling to young people.
“The research showed that limiting insulin as a way of controlling weight in the short and longer term was common, particularly in young women.
“It is well established that there is a gap between the psychological and emotional needs of people with diabetes and the care and support that is offered.”
The researchers conducted interviews, focus groups, and counselling sessions with young diabetics aged 18-25 as well as with a range of service providers.