Diabetes and Eating Disorders

Diabetes and eating disorders are serious medical conditions. When combined, these conditions can be dangerous. Some individuals have learned how to take only enough insulin to survive. Without enough insulin, calories consumed are not used by the body, but are carried out in the urine. Consequently, the person maintains a low body weight. Patients with both diabetes and an eating disorder participate in components of our specially designed Diabetes Program, which has been awarded Recognition by the American Diabetes Association in accordance with the National Standards for Diabetes Patient Education.

Adolescents with diabetes learn and practice healthy eating and exercise habits, as well as cooking skills and medication management.

Our Eating Disorders Program addresses issues such as body image, nutrition and positive attitudes and helps adolescents change their distorted thinking patterns. Patients in this program progress through a series of phases, each of which builds on the progress made in the previous phase. Levels-of-care and types of services vary depending on each patient’s need in any particular phase.

The family dynamic is a critical element in both the Diabetes and Eating Disorders Program. During family therapy, families learn healthy ways to help their child and all family members live with the child’s illness. Intensive individual and group psychotherapies address each patient’s unique emotional and behavioral issues.

Positive Behavioral Supports: Cumberland’s team uses an individualized behavior program throughout treatment to encourage acceptable behaviors rather than punishing negative behaviors. Patients earn privileges when exhibiting appropriate behaviors. This system facilitates positive feedback; patients see an immediate reward for appropriate behaviors.