Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2021, February 1-7

 

Over 1 million Canadians struggle with eating disorders. Eating disorders affect individuals of all genders, ages, races, ethnic identities, sexual orientations and socio-economic backgrounds. These disorders are serious, biologically influenced illnesses, and not personal choices. Recovery is possible.  Every year, the first week of February is dedicated to Eating Disorder Awareness Week, as a time to educate the public on the impact that eating disorders have on people and the supports available to them.  This year’s theme builds on last year’s theme of “Eating disorders can’t afford to wait” to “What happened while we were waiting” . This is to bring attention to the implications that a year of living in a pandemic may have had on people's suffering and journey to recovery during this time.


According to Canadian statistics, women with Type 1 diabetes have twice the risk of being affected by an eating disorder than women without diabetes. Both male and female adolescents with Type 1 diabetes have a higher incidence of eating disorders than their peers without diabetes.


There is a huge spectrum of disordered eating but the term ‘Eating Disorder’ refers to a number of specific diagnosed illnesses:

  • Anorexia (AN)
  • Bulimia (BN)
  • Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
  • Eating Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (ED-NOS)
  • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)


Specific to Type 1 Diabetes, there are a couple terms:

  • Diabulimia
  • Eating Disorder & T1 Diabetes (ED-DMT 1)
     

Diabulimia refers to people skipping or altering their insulin doses in order to control their weight. By not taking insulin, their bodies cannot use the fuel in the food they have eaten, putting them into ‘starvation’ mode. This results in high blood sugars, weight loss and potentially serious consequences of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and death.

 

ED-DMT 1 is a more inclusive term for any eating disorder in a person with type 1 diabetes, including diabulimia.

 


Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder and Type 1 Diabetes can include:

 

  • Changes in eating behaviours
  • Eating in secret and/or secrecy around diabetes management
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained high blood sugars
  • Strict calorie counting
  • Discarding food
  • Lack of blood glucose testing
  • Frequent weighing
  • Recurrent DKA
  • Excessive/compulsive exercise 
     

 

Type 2 Diabetes 

 

There is an elevated prevalence of eating disorders, especially binge eating disorder (BED), in people with Type 2 diabetes. Research suggest up to 25% of people with T2 DM struggle with some form of binge eating behaviours and that 1 in 3 people who struggle with BED will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. If you feel like you, or someone you care about exhibits any of the following symptoms on a frequent basis, please bring them to light and ask your health care team for support:

  • Eating more rapidly than normal, or eating with a lack of control
  • Eating until you feel uncomfortably full
  • Eating large amounts of food when you don’t feel hungry
  • Eating alone because you are embarrassed about how much you eat
  • Feeling distressed/disgusted/depressed/guilty after over-eating

 

Having an eating disorder is not your fault - they are complex and driven by many factors. Treatment requires the expertise of both the diabetes team and additional team members skilled in managing eating disorders. Early diagnosis and treatment has been shown to be beneficial. If you have concerns, please discuss them with a member of your health care team.
 

 

Services Available in Waterloo Wellington

 

Canadian Mental Health Association, Waterloo-Wellington-Dufferin Regional Eating Disorders Service (CMHA-WWD)

 

CMHA-WWD is a community-based team that includes social workers, dietitians,  nurse practitioners,  therapists and a consulting psychiatrist.  They help individuals and families dealing with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. They provide treatment for children, youth and adults in Waterloo Region and Wellington County.

   

To contact them or to make a referral:

 

Call HERE24SEVEN at 1-844-437-3247

 

Service Locations:

  • Kitchener:  130 Weber Street W., Suite 202, Kitchener, ON, N2H 4A2
  • Guelph: 147 Delhi Street, Guelph, Ontario, N1E 4J3
  • Cambridge: (at Langs) 1145 Concession Road Cambridge, ON N3H 4L5

If you have other questions, the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) Helpline may be able to provide you with answers or direct you appropriately. They can be reached at 1-866-633-4220.

 

Diabulimia helpline:  www.diabulimiahelpline.org

 

Check out these other links you might find helpful and informative: