The first ever diabetes and eating disorder service in the UK is being launched at King’s College London.
Diabulimia, which is not medically recognised, is the term given to people with type 1 diabetes who lose weight by deliberately not taking enough insulin.
It is very dangerous and can lead to blindness, hair loss, kidney problems and even death.
Professor Khalida Ismail, who leads the largest diabetes and mental health clinic in the UK at King’s College London, is looking to unite psychiatrists and diabetes experts to give people with diabulimia the support they need.
Speaking to BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, she said: “They never meet patients together and it’s an inefficient use of current resources. I would argue we’d actually be saving money by joining up services.”
It is estimated that one in three young women with type 1 diabetes worry about their weight or have concerns about their eating.
Professor Ismail added: “There is an awareness that this is probably bigger than we think, no-one really knows how big it is or how to detect it.”
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is expected to publish a new set of guidelines next year for the treatment of eating disorders, which will include treatment for those who also have diabetes.
The charity, DWED (Diabetics With Eating Disorders) has been campaigning to have the omission of insulin for weight loss officially recognised as a mental illness.
The organisatio, founded in 2009, has also launched an online recovery programme in collaboration with – which runs a specific forum for people with diabulimia – to provide a peer-to-peer support forum and to encourage healthcare professionals to work with them.

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