The lived experience of Diabulimia. Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes using insulin for weight control

Morris, Sian Louise (2021) The lived experience of Diabulimia. Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes using insulin for weight control. DCPsych thesis, Middlesex University / Metanoia Institute. [Thesis]

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Diabulimia is the term given to the intentional restriction of insulin for the purposes of weight loss in individuals with Type 1 Diabetes Mellites (T1DM). Diabulimia can be life-threatening, and prevalence rates in T1DM are high, yet there is a lack of research exploring how best to support individuals with this difficulty. Currently, individuals restricting their insulin appear in care and support pathways which do not always attend to specific psychological factors associated with T1DM. Recent literature has named the importance of understanding the physical and psychological issues related to insulin restriction to provide effective care.

Exploring the lived experience of diabulimia stands to provide much needed information to healthcare professionals working alongside this population. Which in turn, may inform psychological support, future research, and support pathways. Subsequently, this research aims to explore the lived experience of diabulimia.

Through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), five females and one male shared their subjective lived experience of using insulin for weight control through semi-structured interviews, which led to the identification of four superordinate themes: (1) Go count your carbs and take your jabs; (2) A deadly love; (3) It is so much deeper than just insulin, and (4) There is recovery. The analysis revealed the relational nature of diabulimia which encapsulated the participants longing for relational depth with healthcare professionals and peers.

Recommendations based on the research findings include incorporating an existential-phenomenological and relational psychoanalytic approach to therapeutic work, as well as utilising the participant’s motivation to pursue recovery for the other. Future research would benefit from exploring the male experience of diabulimia, as well as enquiring into the construction of self-identity when using insulin for weight control.

Item Type: Thesis (DCPsych)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > Metanoia Institute
Item ID: 33772
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2021 11:41
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2021 18:51

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