Eating disorders and intentional insulin undertreatment in adolescent females with diabetes

Psychosomatics. Spring 1991;32(2):171-6. doi: 10.1016/S0033-3182(91)72088-4.


Intentional undertreatment with insulin was found to be a common method of inducing weight loss or preventing weight gain in female adolescents with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and eating disorders. More than half of those with eating disorders intentionally omitted insulin to produce hyperglycemia and weight loss. Individuals with eating disorders were also less compliant with other aspects of IDDM management and had poorer metabolic control than the rest of the sample. It is suggested here that intentional undertreatment with insulin in some individuals with IDDM may be regarded as an equivalent to purging, with similar purpose and consequences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / complications*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / chemically induced
  • Hyperglycemia / psychology
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / deficiency
  • Personality Inventory
  • Treatment Refusal*
  • Weight Loss


  • Insulin