Diabulimia: The Dangerous Way Diabetics Drop Pounds


As Williams recovered, she was featured in a Self magazine article about diabulimia. After it was published, she started to hear from women across the country suffering from the same symptoms -- including many who thought they were the only one restricting their insulin.

One reader was 22-year-old Asha Brown. The college student had been diabetic since age 5 and had struggled with diabulimia since she was 14.

"This article was talking about me," said Brown, now 27. "I thought I was the only one."

Brown kept the article in the back of her mind for years before finally seeking treatment for diabulimia at the Melrose Institute in 2009. When she told a nurse about the article, the nurse happened to know Williams' contact information and gave it to Brown.

The pair quickly bonded over their experiences with the disorder and decided they wanted to help other type 1 diabetics find support.

Last year, they launched We Are Diabetes, an organization that works to publicize diabulimia and support those with the disorder.

Williams, now 29, has been out of treatment for five years and is working to get her registered nurses license and studying to be a diabetes educator.

But her past with diabulimia still affects her. She has had bleeding behind her eyes, holes in her kidneys and severe nerve damage. By talking to others about her experiences, she's hoping to encourage people suffering from diabulimia to get help before they suffer lasting damage.

"For me, it's a chance to help myself not feel so much regret," said Williams. "By helping other people, I feel what I went through at least has a purpose."

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