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October 10, 2000


Question from Maryland, USA:

My 16 year old daughter was suspected of being hypoglycemic most of her early childhood (fainting spells, hostile behavior, and refusal to eat after a certain time), but experiences a miraculous mood change immediately after eating. She was not tested, although we did ask and were told it would make no difference to know. My question is about the possibility of a connection between hypoglycemia and eating disorders. She is suffering from anorexia and exhibits many of the same behaviors with respect to eating as she did long before developing food issues (to our knowledge). Is there a way to pull a hypoglycemic patient who won't or can't eat out of that trap without using food?


Food is the only treatment (as far as I know) for both hypoglycemia and for anorexia. Your daughter is very sick, and she needs immediate psychiatric treatment. Please contact your pediatrician, your diabetes team, and/or your local ADA to get referrals to mental health professionals with expertise in eating disorders immediately. Most people with eating disorders require intensive therapy that includes a strong family therapy component. Please don’t waste a moment in getting her the help she needs!

Additional comments from Dr. Matthew Brown:

This question may best be addressed by a psychiatrist who deals with eating disorders. I’m unaware of a link between hypoglycemia and eating disorders.