According to the literature, eating disorders are an increasing problem for more than a quarter of people with Type 1 diabetes and they are associated with accentuated diabetic complications. The clinical outcomes in this group when given standard eating disorder treatments are disappointing. The Medical Research Council guidelines for developing complex interventions suggest that the first step is to develop a theoretical model.Aim
To review existing literature to build a theoretical maintenance model for disordered eating in people with Type 1 diabetes.Method
The literature in diabetes relating to models of eating disorder (Fairburn's transdiagnostic model and the dual pathway model) and food addiction was examined and assimilated.Results
The elements common to all eating disorder models include weight/shape concern and problems with mood regulation. The predisposing traits of perfectionism, low self-esteem and low body esteem and the interpersonal difficulties from the transdiagnostic model are also relevant to diabetes. The differences include the use of insulin mismanagement to compensate for breaking eating rules and the consequential wide variations in plasma glucose that may predispose to ‘food addiction’. Eating disorder symptoms elicit emotionally driven reactions and behaviours from others close to the individual affected and these are accentuated in the context of diabetes.Conclusion
The next stage is to test the assumptions within the maintenance model with experimental medicine studies to facilitate the development of new technologies aimed at increasing inhibitory processes and moderating environmental triggers.