To ensure as close to normal blood glucose levels as possible, people with diabetes are usually highly aware of what they eat, drink, and weigh, and how physically active they are. This continuous focus on diet and the body may partially explain why people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing disorder have eating than people without diabetes.
Disordered eating in people with diabetes can severely affect blood glucose levels which can accelerate the development of complications to diabetes (e.g., nephropathy and neuropathy) and result in early death. Additionally, disordered eating is often accompanied by intense feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and social isolation. Despite the reduction in physical and psychosocial health and quality of life that disordered eating causes, people with diabetes and disordered eating are rarely offered the needed support and treatment as research-based methods to assess and address the problem in a Danish setting are lacking. Furthermore, many diabetes health care professionals are unsure when and how they should address the topic, and what kind of support they can offer. This is what the project aims to change by identifying relevant support and treatment needs in adults with diabetes and disordered eating, and by – in collaboration with these people and diabetes health care professionals – to develop methods to address the identified needs in practice.
The first aim of the project is to assess the specific biopsychosocial support and treatment needs of adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and disordered eating. Based on this knowledge, the second aim is to develop and test research-based methods to be used by diabetes health care professionals in collaboration with people with diabetes to assess disordered eating while ensuring that the identified support and treatment needs are addressed.
The methods are co-created with diabetes health care professionals and people with diabetes and disordered eating through a series of interactive workshops.
Research Unit at the Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Aarhus University Hospital, and the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, UK.