Recovering from an eating disorder is always challenging, but for patients with a dual diagnosis of type 1 diabetes and an eating disorder (ED-DMT1) finding a treatment center that understands their unique needs can be that much harder. Patients must be treated with both traditional eating disorder techniques, such as therapy and self-acceptance, and with adaptations to address their specific diabetes-related needs. For example, a person living with type 1 diabetes requires access to their food’s nutritional content – something which is not part of standard eating disorder treatments – and needs constant blood sugar monitoring.
In order for someone living with type 1 diabetes to accept the help that a treatment center offers there must be a well trained and educated staff that not only have an understanding of someone suffering from an eating disorder, but have an understanding of the complex of factors that a person with type 1 diabetes must consider when eating a meal or taking an insulin injection. Not every treatment facility has the ability to treat someone with type 1 diabetes and an eating disorder. Some centers may claim that they have had experience with diabetes but may not actually provide all of the integral components needed for a successful recovery.
The treatment process for co-occurring diabetes and an eating disorder requires a multidisciplinary approach, with highly trained staff who are capable of managing the physical and emotional complexities that arise during the recovery process.
Our Treatment Affiliates are among the top rated treatment facilities in the country, and are all fully capable of supporting a Type 1 diabetic who is struggling with an eating disorder. If you or a loved one is considering seeking treatment, we highly recommend that you start your search with the programs listed here.
Choosing Your Care Team
It’s not always easy to find health care providers who have experience with the T1D population, and even though it’s nice to work with a provider that “gets it,” it’s ok if a provider doesn’t have a
a lot of previous experience. The most important thing is that the providers you choose to work with are WILLING to learn about the complexity of T1D and how it plays a role in your eating disorder.
It’s important to find providers who can work with you in a collaborative and nonjudgmental way, who can follow your pace, and who don’t push you to make changes too quickly. For example, if your current endocrinologist is not aware that diabetes complications can be related to a rapid drop in A1C, then it might be time to “endo shop” to find one who understands that you need to move at a more gradual pace, both for your physical and emotional health.
Another example is if you find a therapist in your area with a lot of experience in eating disorders but doesn’t have direct experience with T1D. Don’t despair! If this therapist is open to doing a little extra “homework” and learning more about the complicated relationship that T1Ds have with food, numbers and control, you’ve found yourself a great addition to your Recovery Care Team. The best-case scenario is to find providers willing to COMMUNICATE with the other members of your Recovery Care Team, even if it means they have to reach outside of their clinic system to do so.
Many individuals we’ve worked with have mixed feelings about the idea of seeking inpatient treatment. They may believe that they’re not “sick enough”or they worry that they will feel out of place. Please contact us for support and empathy on these concerns.