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Medication Abuse Hurts More Than Your Body

Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in our society, typically in the form of patients using more painkiller medication than needed and eventually becoming dependent. We all know, far too well, the devastating effects that a prescription painkiller dependency can have on a person’s life; careers, relationships, and financial stability can all be thrown away to feed an addiction. Not to mention the person’s own health and wellness.

T-prescriptionAbuse-enHD-AR1But there is another type of medication abuse that involves skipping prescriptions instead of overusing them, and it occurs without much media attention. It is called diabulimia, a condition in which diabetics avoid insulin in order to lose weight. Though diabulimia may not interfere with jobs, families, and financial security nearly as much as a painkiller addiction, it does cause terrible health impacts, including in the form of tooth decay.

Skye Simpson is the model example of a person who falls into the trap of diabulimia. At 30 years old, Skye wanted to lose weight but had no desire to eat healthier or exercise. Instead, she decided to drop 60 pounds by skipping the insulin she was prescribed for her Type 1 diabetes. The process of skipping insulin helps diabetics lose weight because it forces the body to burn fat stores for energy in the absence of the insulin that would allow food intake to be harnessed as fuel.

Skye began by only skipping one insulin shot per day, but the results were too tempting for her, and she quickly eliminated insulin altogether. She dropped from a size 10 to a size 2 in no time, but the weight loss didn’t remain a positive change for long. At 5’7”, Skye needed to weigh more than her new 100 pounds in order to remain healthy.

It started with her hair falling out in clumps, her vision becoming blurry, and her gums becoming severely infected. At first Skye ignored the problems because she wanted to stay thin, but she was eventually hospitalized and diagnosed with diabulimia. While she was able to recover and gain back 40 healthy pounds, her mouth will never be the same. Her teeth crumbled and had to be extracted, so she will require dentures for the rest of her life. Only recently have the profound impacts of diabetes on dental health become more widely understood, so now it is time for a more prevalent understanding of diabulimia to follow.