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Learn more about the results we get at Within

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Diabulimia treatment & recovery

Diabulimia is a complex eating disorder that involves the deliberate underuse or restriction of insulin in those with Type I diabetes as an attempt to control or lose weight.1

Diabulimia is a severe and potentially life-threatening mental health condition. Still, many diabulimia treatment options are available to help individuals heal and regain control of both their diabetes and their disordered thoughts and behaviors.

 minutes read
Last updated on 
January 11, 2024
January 11, 2024
Diabulimia treatment
In this article

Levels of care for diabulimia treatment

As with any serious mental health condition, diabulimia may present in a number of different ways, and patients may struggle with various aspects of the condition. Whatever the symptoms, the individual will greatly benefit from a coordinated treatment plan delivered by professionals.

Several levels of care have been developed to help cater to these different expressions of the condition, allowing patients to get the type and amount of diabulimia help that best suits their needs.

Inpatient hospitalization
Residential treatment
Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
Intensive outpatient (IOP)
Standard outpatient


Psychotherapy for diabulimia recovery

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is one of the most frequently recommended treatments for eating disorders of all types. Psychotherapy can be utilized during all phases of eating disorder treatment and recovery, depending on the individual’s needs and abilities.

Within that broad category of care, various types of psychotherapy may be more helpful for different patients, depending on their specific history and needs.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive remediation therapy (CRT)
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
Family-based therapy
Group therapy

Other types of diabulimia help

When someone has Type 1 diabetes, their body produces little or no insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot absorb glucose, and blood sugar levels may rise, resulting in complications such as kidney, heart, and nerve damage.6

Yet, those with diabulimia do not take their insulin as directed to encourage weight loss or otherwise control their weight.1 The threat of these additional complications in the absence of regular insulin use may make other types of counseling or support an important aspect of diabulimia treatment.

Nutrition counseling and meal support

A person with diabetes has specific nutritional needs. The need to frequently focus on or think about dietary requirements is believed to be one of the causes of diabulimia.1

Many with this condition also worry that insulin harms their weight.1 Nutrition counseling can educate those with diabulimia about the true impact of insulin and how it and different foods affect their body.

Reducing high blood sugar and the possibility of diabetic ketoacidosis—two common physical health problems that stem from diabetes and diabulimia—may be of particular focus in these sessions.

Nutrition counseling also considers the psychological struggles someone with diabulimia may go through and provides assistance in overcoming mental and emotional hurdles. On their way to diabulimia recovery, someone may also work with a dietitian for meal support or help to build a meal plan.

Support Groups

Support groups lack the professional facilitation of therapy groups, but the service helps add a sense of community and support to someone in recovery. Support groups for eating disorders tend to be more casual, with a focus on fellowship and connection.

Diabulimia treatment at Within

It takes incredible courage to seek help for an eating disorder. And for someone entering diabulimia treatment, it's equally important to be met with empathy, support, and understanding.

At Within, we strive to provide these qualities and more for those seeking diabulimia recovery or help with other eating disorders. 

Our team of multidisciplinary experts can help patients work on all aspects of their eating disorder, including physical, mental, and emotional concerns. Our unique online program offers PHP, IOP, and outpatient treatment options, which someone can access entirely through our app and website.

Each treatment program is designed to meet the unique needs of each individual. Call our team today to start the journey to recovery.
Get help

Disclaimer about "overeating": Within Health hesitatingly uses the word "overeating" because it is the term currently associated with this condition in society, however, we believe it inherently overlooks the various psychological aspects of this condition which are often interconnected with internalized diet culture, and a restrictive mindset about food. For the remainder of this piece, we will therefore be putting "overeating" in quotations to recognize that the diagnosis itself pathologizes behavior that is potentially hardwired and adaptive to a restrictive mindset.

Disclaimer about weight loss drugs: Within does not endorse the use of any weight loss drug or behavior and seeks to provide education on the insidious nature of diet culture. We understand the complex nature of disordered eating and eating disorders and strongly encourage anyone engaging in these behaviors to reach out for help as soon as possible. No statement should be taken as healthcare advice. All healthcare decisions should be made with your individual healthcare provider.


  1. Diabulimia. (n.d). Cleveland Clinic. Accessed October 2023. 
  2. Brown, L. (2002). The Multidisciplinary Approach in the Treatment of Eating Disorders. Georgia State University. Accessed October 2023. 
  3. Simpson, C. C., Towne, T. L., Karam, A. M., Donahue, J. M., Hadjeasgari, C. F., Rockwell, R., & Kaye, W. H. (2021). Predictors of Stepping Up to Higher Level of Care Among Eating Disorder Patients in a Partial Hospitalization Program. (n.d.). Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 667868.
  4. Tchanturia, K., Lounes, N., & Holttum, S. (2014). Cognitive remediation in anorexia nervosa and related conditions: A systematic review. European Eating Disorders Review, 22(6), 454–462.
  5. Chapman A. L. (2006). Dialectical behavior therapy: current indications and unique elements. Psychiatry, 3(9), 62–68.
  6. Type 1 diabetes. (2021, March 27). Mayo Clinic. Accessed October 2023.
  7. Hayes, S. Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. Accessed October 2023. 
  8. Murphy, R., Straebler, S., Cooper, Z., & Fairburn, C. G. (2010). Cognitive behavioral therapy for eating disorders. The Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 33(3), 611–627.
  9. Dingemans, A., Danner, U., Donker, J., Aardoom, J., et. al. (2013). The Effectiveness of Cognitive Remediation Therapy in Patients with a Severe or Enduring Eating Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychotherapy & Psychosomatics, 83(1), 29-36.
  10. Rienecke, R. D. (2017). Family-based treatment of eating disorders in adolescents: current insights. Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics, 8, 69–79.
  11. Psychotherapy: Understanding group therapy. (2019, October 31). American Psychological Association. Accessed October 2023.


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