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My friend suffers from "chewing and spitting". Need info QUICK.

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last week, my friend admitted to me that she suffers from "chewing and spitting" or "C&S". naturally, i was shocked, but for some reason, i refused to speak to her at all. after a couple of days of not taking her phone calls and voiding her in school, i realised that what i was doing was stupid and extremely dangerous. this would just depress her more and discourage her to talk about this issue with anyone. so i spoek to ehr about the whole deal and she said that she has been doingthis for only about two weeks and she doesn't know how it ahs affected her health.
i wanna know:

  •  if you chew some food and spit it out before swallowing it, do you still gain the calories?
  • how exactly does this harm you?
  • is this an eating disorder by itself or is it the symptoms of the development of an ED?
  • what are some things one can try to cure this?

my friend refuses to see  doctor or a counseller or tell her parents. she threatened to never speak to me again if i told anyone. i assured her that we could handle it ourselves and that if she works on it, she could solve this problem before it develops further. was this a wise thing to do?

i would really like some advice for i have known my friend for 5 years now and i really care a lot about her. i cant find enough material on the net about "C&S", so i thought this was the next best thing. please please help even if you know very little.

Edited Aug 25 2009 11:15 by coach_k
Reason: Zombie thread
32 Replies (last)
First of all, you aren't a bad friend for needing a few days to process the information, but she went to you because she obviously trusts you, so I think you should try to be there for her, as a friend, and not someone who can treat her eating disorder.

When I was anorexic, I would do this sometimes. It harms you the same way anorexia does; your body doesn't get enough calories to thrive and you can become severely underweight and malnourished.

If you are chewing and spitting refined carbs, it is possible you are getting some calories as they break down quickly and may go to your stomach before you can spit them out.

Your friend needs help, especially if she is underweight. It was wrong of her to tell you and then tell you that she won't be your friend if you try to get her help. You can't handle it yourselves... you are not a doctor and she is the one with the problem. Does your friend want to eat normally or does she want to continue what she is doing?

I advise you to tell a trusted adult, your parents, her parents, a school counselor. You shouldn't be taking this responsibility on yourself.
This is a type of bulimia, and she needs medical/professional help immediately!

This can have long term health effects, and this can result in sickness and/or death.

You need to alert a proper authority figure as quickly as possible.
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i myself feel the need to inform her mum, but how can i do that without alienating myself from my friend? i might be beign selfish here and putting my own relations with my friend before her health, but i don't want to betray her trust.
the good thing is that she eats normal, regular food, but she avoids EATING chocolates, cookies, cakes etc. instead, she CHEWS AND SPITS these things. she says this is ok becasue she is getting the required calories only she is not consumming "bad" food.
im just soooo confused and dreadfully worried. i feel like all the responsibility is on me but i cant solve the problem.
This is a vicious downward spiral, nothing good can come from this.  It can and most likely will lead to more serious and dangerous behavior such as purposely inducing vomiting, ipecac abuse, starvation, etc.  As stated, the behavior she is exhibiting is a form of bulimia and she needs treatment immediately.

The sooner she receives professional help, the easier it will be for her to stop this behavior.

Depending on the severity of the disorder, she could have medical problems that aren't readily apparent to her or those around her.

Again, she needs professional treatment.
does she chew and spit EVERYTHING?  I used to buy food just to sniff it LOL! I know I'm strange.  Um if shes chewing and spitting ALL of her food, then we may have an issue.  And what is the reason shes doing this?  Body image?  If she is doing it to lose weight or because she cant fathom swallowing it, I suggest medical counseling.  If shes just doing it when she eats over her daily calories, then I would let it go.
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I very STRONGLY disagree with you x17star17x, although respectfully because you can most definitely have your own opinion.

I don't think it's ok and this isn't something to let go. Unfortunately it may start that she is only doing it after she eats her allotted calories, but there is a high percentage that it will worsen.

Amani, my opinion is to tell someone. As already mentioned, a school counselor, parent, etc. Maybe even talk to your parents and see what steps they would take.
It might be horrible and hard to see, but your friend's health should be your main concern, even if it means your friendship at risk. That really is what being a true friend means. She is not being a good friend to you by putting you in a lose/lose situation.

If you care about her, you should talk to someone about her problem.

It is a mental disease, and it is not OK. It can lead to serious problems in the future.
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but cant we do something to curb this without invovling authorities? i just feel that we can solve it at our level. my friend is very honest with me, so she'll tell me when she does it and how she feels etc etc.
it's not that bad becasue she is doing it only over and above her daily calorie intake. im sure she is doing it to lose weight, because like me she is small and a bit on the fat side (although not overweight as classified by BMR - she told me herself). weight shows clearly on her. as she says herself, she is not starving her body.
she definitely wants to leave this habit of chewing and spitting out. but if you ask me, she lacks self-control.
i think we should try stopping this ourselves for about 4-5 days and if it doesn't work, i'm going to seek professional help whether she wants me to or not.
*shakes head* you've never had a friend with an ED have you jeannablue?  Depending on her clarification, we need to know how sever the problem is.  If her friend LOVES snicker bars and chews and spits 4 of them a night, it's not a big deal.  I mean whats worse, chewing and spitting, or vomiting?  If she is getting all of her caloric and nutritional needs and does this on occasion, no biggy.

We dont know a lot of things about her "friend":
1. How much does her friend weigh? Height?
2. How long has her friend been chewing and spitting?
3. Has her friend had a previous eating disorder?
4. What has lead to this chewing and spitting episode?
5. How often does she chew and spit?

As I said, it is NOT a big deal if she is all mentally there and just likes the spit the occasional snicker.  But you can disagree.  I already know I ruffled a few feathers.  Sorry guys!  I really don't mean to sound so bad.

Let's answer her questions:

  •  if you chew some food and spit it out before swallowing it, do you still gain the calories?  A few of them probably.. but not nearly as much as the food itself.
  • how exactly does this harm you?  It ONLY harms you mentally.
  • is this an eating disorder by itself or is it the symptoms of the development of an ED?  It depends.  It could be an eating disorder as it sits right now depending on the extremity of her chewing and spitting.  If this is new, it could surely manifest into an eating disorder.
  • what are some things one can try to cure this? SWALLOW!  I dont mean to sound bad, but if you are not going to try and get help, I would suggest you talk to your friend about nutrition, set up a plan, and have it to where she swallows her nutrition.  If she cant fathom it, she needs to seek help.
:) Hope I helped somehow.  If not, I'll just shush with this subject.

EDIT:  I just read your above post.  In that case, your friend has a binging disorder, more than anything.  Try to deminish the foods she chews and spits all together, or talk to her about how she can fit them into her calories by portioning out her days meals.  Send her over to CC!
"It ONLY harms you mentally"....

Wow, there is just so much to say about that comment:

1) Undereating does harm you physically.

2) I consider mental harm and mental illness to be very serious.

3) Habits that are eating disorder related or stem from a fear of food or gaining weight are very unhealthy.

x17star17x - You aren't a doctor, I'm guessing, so I'm kinda doubting your knowledge of how this harms you. I highly doubt any health professional would say that eating 4 snickers and spitting them out is healthy or OK. I think your comments are irresponsible. And yes, I not only had 2 friends I did ballet with who had anorexia, I am still in recovery. Recovery is a lifelong battle. If you are doing something, like chewing food and spitting it out, that you would never do in public, you have a problem that needs to be addressed.

You shouldn't have to see how severe something is... in fact, I would go so far as to say that waiting for this to progress and become more severe is a terrible idea.

Amani - Your friend does need help. I would not take the advice to tell her that it is OK to do sometimes. I can tell by your post that you obviously don't think it's OK.
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x17star17x, thanks for that suggestion.
it's an excellent idea. the next best thing to seeing a doctor is to sign up online where she can get help from experienced people without revealing her identity or letting parents/peers know.
i'll make sure she joins. if not CC, than some other equivalent. although, if she does join CC and posts about her disorder, do give her the right directions (if you have any) and don't just lecture her about the negative effects and how bad this is.
thanks again.

knipp100, thanks to you too. my next step will be to get her to join CC. if, after a few days, i see that this doesn't work, i am surely getting help.
"It ONLY harms you mentally"....

Wow, there is just so much to say about that comment:

1) Undereating does harm you physically.


Did you NOT read her reply?  I was going off of her clarifications.  She said that she is not under-eating.  Gee you guys need to lay off.  Of course i'm not a medical doctor, but I know a thing or two about nutrition and dealing with friends with eating disorders.  It is easy for all your folks to just simply say 'oh go get medical attention, let the whole world know your friend spits snickers' because you guys have never been involved.  At least that is me being naive and assuming that.  I on the other had do have a friend with a disorder, and is getting medical attention.  Their solution?  Oh sticking her on drugs.  Not really something I'd like to see people thrown into, especially if this is just something she is beginning to do.  Obviously this girl seems like she has a head on her shoulders and is embarrassed about the spitting.  So she will need to learn a few things about nutrition and how spitting can turn into an eating disorder.  Like I said, if one person says 'go away' I will leave the issue alone.
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You can shake your head 'till it falls off, you aren't right and are obviously having a hard time with that.

You also have to take age into consideration and at 15(which is how old amani and possibly her friend is), this isn't something that amani should have to deal with herself.

I agree completely with what you say knipp. Amani, if telling some type of support just isn't something you will do, I agree that coming here is the next best thing.

btw - telling you to go away is clearly against the rules and policies of cc. Also, it is completely irrelevant whether I have a friend with an ed. The early signs are there - you should be able to see that with the experience you have.
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OK, i just IMed her and after some coaxing, she's agreed to join!!! she'll join later in the day, but it's for certain. keep checking this thread 'cause i'll post her new username. maybe someone would like to send her a message or two to help her out or just to make her feel welcome and at ease?
i can finally go to sleep in peace now. good night, and thanks for your help.
keep checking this thread!

I really think your friend wants help.  If she didn't want help she wouldn't have told you.  She reached out to you even if she is saying differently.  And when a friend reaches out to you, I think it is your duty to help.  I know this sounds crazy, but the mear fact that she told you shows that she is looking for some help and support.  If she wanted to keep this a secret, she would have.  And either way, I have to say this is VERY harmful.  Mentally it is already a problem.  I think you should tell someone before it becomes a physical problem.  I have heard of this before and it always seems to be a gateway into bigger problems.  I am not trying to say that your friend has a "serious" problem yet, but I think you need to realize that she already has a problem.  This is not normal or acceptable behavior at all.  As for x17star17x statement about the snickers bar, and her maybe just wanting a taste of her favorite candy.  The normal acceptable thing to do would be to have a small portion like a mini snickers bar or two of the bite sized ones.  The fact that your friends thinks this is an acceptable option/behavior screams to me that she needs help. You are not equipped to handle this on your own.  My final advice is find someone who is, so you can go back to being her supportive friend.  She will thank you.  She chose you to help her, don't let her down.

btw - telling you to go away is clearly against the rules and policies of cc.

*head falls off* lol. gee.  I'm not trying to promote an ED by any means.  I know how hard they are to get out of and I know how easy they are to get into.  But i feel if her friend understands a little more about what she is doing, that she can pull out of this fast.  If she cant, like her friend stated in a few days, then yes.. of course seek help.  But give the girl a chance before you call the authorities.  That's all I'm sayin.  Sorry if I have offended anyone.
First of all, I would love to tell you to go away, simply for getting so irrate. Why are you acting defensive, is what I'm really curious about right now?
Second, it's funny that you talk to me about not actually reading what people say in posts. Reread mine, and then tell me again about how naive I am. I speak from experience, I have no idea where you are speaking from.
Sometimes people who have mental illnesses such as eating disorders need therapy that includes drugs such as antidepressants. I took anitdepressants in the beginning of recovery, and actually started feeling like me again.
~I would just like to know what your point is and what you are trying to prove. My point is to not ignore a friend's problem, or diminish the seriousness of all eating disorders, including Atypical Eating Disorders, which is what this is medically classified as.
~What on earth are you so angry about?
Edited again: Link wasn't working. All you need to do is google search "Eating Disorders - Chew and Spit" to find a wealth of information on the affects of this.
i'm probably going to have the "i can relate most" post here. i had/have this eating issue. Before I had this, I had anorexia then all the depriving made me want to eat more and my body craved food that i'd been missing out on but i was afraid to eat so i discovered that i could just chew my food then spit it out. It was so great at first then I started doing it more and more and more. My parents started complaining about food missing and i was going broke just to buy food. I told myself no more. whatever went in my mouth had to be swallowed. At that point, I developed bulimia. chewing and spitting will turn into bulimia 99% of the time. Believe me, I know. Chewing and spitting is discusting because you get cavities from all the sugar, and you wear down your teeth. When you add bulimia to the picture, it's just all bad for your teeth.

Your friend should also know, that a LOT of calories, surprisingly, are consumed during a chewing/spitting session. I would throw up afterwards and a LOT comes out. You wouldn't think so, but it happens somehow. If chewing/spitting gets full-blown, this is as addictive as any drug and doing it gives you an insane rush. You will start isolating yourself from other people because you'll feel guilty and the main thing to look forward to all day is to have a chewing/spitting session. It's a living hell.

Your friend needs to talk to people that have dealt with this because they will be able to give the best advice. It also needs to stop now or else it will become HIGHLY addictive. Take it from someone that knows. . . .
If I understand correctly, she is eating and swallowing normal foods and she only spits out food like chocolate and cake? I don't think it's a good idea because

1) I don't know how can you chew chocolate and spit it's kinda difficult

2) I'd rather go for low fat low cal desserts (like weight watchers lemon cakes) than spitting out food...what a waste..

However, I don't think it's such a big critical situation as she eats normally for her other meals. But IF she spits out EVERYTHING, then she should definitely go to the doctor. It's definitely not sth you should even try to do.
I don't know anything about this disorder, but I do know a thing or two about friends engaging in dangerous behavior.

If your gut tells you that your friend is in danger and that you should tell her mom, follow your instincts. She may hate you, but she'll be alive to hate you. Given enough time, she'll understand that you just want her to be safe.
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