She was only 17 years old but started at eight in learning how to control her weight. With huge issues at home that were beyond her ability to fix, she focused on one thing that she could control – chew and spit.
It only took one comment to set her off and she then became a part of the statistics in eating disorders. Weighing at 105 pounds, that was not enough. Her ideal weight was 70-75 pounds.
Most parents are aware of anorexia and bulimia. But many do not know about CHSP (Chewing and Spitting). The main purpose of CHSP is to eat all you want but never to swallow. It gratifies that taste that a teenager has in wanting those foods, however, they do not want the weight that goes with it. So they secretly do this behavior in their room, a car, or another private area. Simply put, they chew their meal and spit the food particles in a zip-locked bag to be thrown away or hidden for further usage.
Some who engage in CHSP have very much the same psychological issues in weight control as someone who struggles with anorexia and bulimia. The difference is that this behavior was considered intermittent purging used in place of vomiting and using laxatives to get the end results.
As with patients who deal with anorexia and bulimia, they have shame and embarrassment as they view their bodies in a mirror. They deal with anxiety and stress most times, mostly because they are not satisfied with their weight and must lose more. However, for some, CHSP can give a calming sense to their emotional state.
For CHSP patients, they either choose or are addicted to this behavior to help in their coping of body issues. Only trained doctors in this field can determine where they are emotionally and to offer the right kind of therapy that would best fit the needs of that patient.
Intellectually, patients may feel that it is wrong, but emotionally they cannot think about stopping it because that would give them the feeling of losing control. Therapy is most important to help the patient learn new coping skills when under great stress and anxiety.
Some of the dangers of CHSP are similar to those who have anorexia and bulimia.
SOME DANGERS OF CHSP:
- Loss of hair
- Decay of teeth
- Extreme loss of dehydration
- Cardiac Arrhythmia which can lead to severe heart attacks
- Immune system affected due to lack of vitamins and nutrients to help protect the body
- Can lead to purging
- Ulcers and jaw pain
- Weight gain – If a person chews and spits long enough, they are prone for hyper-insulinemia, (producing too much insulin), which sets him or her up for insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and eventually diabetes.
As for parents who find out (since this disorder can be hidden very well for a period of time), they feel like a failure and carry a lot of guilt. It is not always a person to blame but can be an issue involving many dynamics that only a counselor can intervene and provide help for.
The first plan of action as a parent is to seek help immediately. Teens will use many excuses and will know how to manipulate you so that you will give them time to get themselves emotionally together. But this is a disorder that one person cannot heal. It takes time and a support team to make the difference.
Be very careful that your teen doesn’t go to sites that offer support by saying that they have others that they can talk to. They don’t encourage them to get better but to stay sick. These sites are Pro-Anorexia and Pro Bulimia. Below is a link to help you understand this very issue.
The internet has become a very dangerous world for those suffering from eating disorders and unfortunately, there are way too many sites that are clearly very misleading and endangering the welfare of a teenager to an even deeper level.
Don’t waste time. Educate yourself and learn how to help your teenager along with professionals who deal with this disorder. By attacking this issue now, you not only will be rescuing them from a lifetime of heartache with this disorder but also saving their life from death.
TREATMENT SITES AND CENTERS