Diabetes and Eating Disorders
An eating disorder and diabetes can be an extremely dangerous and potentially deadly combination. There are many serious medical complications associated with this dual diagnosis, such as diabetic ketoacidosis, which occurs when the blood sugar gets very high, causing ketones to build up in the blood. This condition can lead to a diabetic coma or even death. Further, if insulin is manipulated, the body is at greater risk for developing diabetic retinopathy which is an eye disorder that causes broken blood vessels in the back of the eye and can lead to blindness. Untreated diabetes can lead to heart and kidney failure and because an eating disorder carries these same risks, the combination of the two can be fatal.
Monte Nido Treatment Centers have experienced staff that are very familiar with the management of diabetes while treating an eating disorder, and will offer you the best possible care and support while in treatment. Soon after admission, our staff does a number of thorough and individualized assessments that are specifically designed to meet the needs of a client with diabetes that will guide treatment.
To the Client:
If you are struggling with an eating disorder and have been diagnosed with diabetes, you will need extra care and attention while in treatment. When you arrive, you will meet with our Medical Director who will thoroughly review your history of both the diabetes and the eating disorder, and write orders accordingly. Our Exercise Coordinator will evaluate your desire and need for movement and design a unique activity regimen for you. You will also meet with our Registered Dietitian who will collaborate with you to develop a unique meal plan that will allow you to carefully monitor your carbohydrate intake. Based on all of your initial assessments, our Director of Nursing will meet with you to explain how we will help you to monitor and administer your own glucose while you are in treatment. We will also take care of the storage and disposal of the supplies used to manage the diabetes for you so you will not have that added stress.
Deciding to seek treatment for an eating disorder can be a tough decision and is made even more difficult if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. Monte Nido Treatment Centers have been very successful in helping individuals with an eating disorder recover, while also getting their diabetes under control. We want you to feel safe here so that you can focus on recovering from your eating disorder. Here is what one client had to say about her experience at Monte Nido:
“After having a negative experience at an inpatient eating disorder treatment program, I was extremely hesitant to go to another treatment center. The first program I attended took away all my control over my ability to manage my Type 1 diabetes, which proved to be both scary and also physically dangerous to my health.
Monte Nido was completely different from my previous experience of treatment. From the start, the people at Monte Nido listened to me about what worked for managing my diabetes and allowed me to participate in treatment decisions about my diabetic care. The head nurse even called me before I arrived at Monte Nido to ask me about my diabetic needs and reassured me that they were there to help. The staff used what I knew worked for me as far as insulin doses, types of foods I could eat, counting my carbohydrate intake, and monitoring my blood glucose. They allowed me to feel in control.
All the nurses were extremely caring and trusted me to know what I needed to do in order to manage my diabetes. It was a great comfort to know that I was in such good hands. The dietitian proved to be a valuable resource; she worked with my special dietary needs and, even more than that, she helped me see that diabetes does not have to be a negative condition: I can view it as a blessing in disguise for teaching me how to eat in moderation, to eat a balanced diet, and to seek the help I needed to finally overcome my eating disorder.
A year after leaving Monte Nido, I am doing well and managing my diabetes better than ever. My A1C is the lowest it has been since I became diabetic Type 1 two years ago. I am no longer bulimic and I have the wonderful souls at Monte Nido to thank for it.”
At Monte Nido we know that the process of choosing a treatment can be just as difficult for families of those who are struggling with an eating disorder and are also diagnosed with diabetes. Here is what one father wrote about his daughter’s treatment at Monte Nido:
“My daughter stayed at Monte Nido Vista for 5 ½ weeks from October to December, 2008. She entered treatment because she had developed diabetes Type 1 and it became imperative that she deal with her eating disorder of bingeing and purging. The staff at Vista was very conscientious in dealing with her diabetes while also working with her on her eating disorder. The staff saw to it that she got her insulin as needed. It was my daughter’s responsibility to see that she got it from a staff member if she was going out with the family for the day. This did mean that she sometimes had to see that she got the insulin before the person in control of the dispensary left for the day, especially on Sunday. The staff was always very cooperative about working with her in these situations to see that she had what she needed. My daughter had no problem working with the staff to coordinate her meal plans to suit her dietary needs.
I really appreciated that her therapist was very clear and firm with her – that she must be very serious about her recovery, because a relapse could be more dangerous for her than for someone without diabetes. Bingeing and purging would throw off her insulin calculations, and bingeing without purging would be even more serious and could lead to death. Her therapist made quite sure that she knew what to do if she was stressed, and that she had a list of contacts to call for help, so that she could get through any difficult periods without reverting back to her eating disorder behaviors. The staff worked with her on improving her communication skills so that she could express her feelings and needs, and get them taken care of before they led to a relapse. This included work on improving communication between my daughter, my wife, and myself.
After leaving Vista, she was at the EDCC and then had outpatient therapy. She did have a few relapses after leaving Vista. Each time, when she talked to someone from Vista, they were supportive yet firm about helping her regain control of her life so that these setbacks would no longer occur. She has been without any relapses for 7-8 months now, and has learned how to handle stressful situations that previously would have caused her problems. The staff and program at Vista, and the EDCC, are to thank her for her success.”