Marie Claire Australia - 01.05.2018

(Ben Green) #1 39


Australia there is very little recognition
and therefore treatment for it. As a
result, there are no specialist units, few
experts and no evidence-based treat-
ment options for suferers. As in the rest
of the world, thousands of women and
girls are falling through the gaps.
Georgie was a typical suferer.
Diagnosed with diabetes at 17, she was
in a high-risk category for diabulimia,
but it was never mentioned to her or her
family. When she began taking her pre-
scribed insulin, she struggled with the
way her body changed. “From the start,
I hated my new body,” she remembers.

“Before being diagnosed with type 1
diabetes, I had lost weight – which is
typical – but then the insulin injections
put it all and more back on. I was bigger
and had bruises all over me as I was
learning to inject and kept hitting blood
vessels. My body had failed me.”
Dr Hart says Georgie’s story is one
she hears regularly, as young diabetic
women struggle with the dual stressors
of disease management and ordinary
teenage pressures. “The nature of dia-
betes diagnosis involves stress and
anxiety,” she explains. “Couple this with
weight gain – which is common at the

start of insulin introduction – [as well
as] an adolescent who’s potentially
already body-conscious and the stars
are aligning to make diabetics at an
increased risk of developing an eating
disorder.” To add to the cocktail of dan-
ger, diabetics are routinely advised to
pay close attention to their diets, which
can include counting carbs and weigh-
ing their food. It’s easy to see how this
monitoring could become an obsession.
Angry and depressed, Georgie fig-
ured out early on that less insulin would
lead to weight loss, but it wasn’t until
she left home, away from her parents’



killing our girls

It’s destroying lives and impacting women all over the globe,

but it’s a condition most of us have never even heard of.

Emma Levett investigates

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