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Anorexia - The Chew and Spit Method

Updated on May 8, 2011

Anorexia - The Chew and Spit Method

The chew and spit method, in itself is an eating disorder (categorised as EDNOS - E(ating) D(isorder) N(ot) O(therwise) S(pecified)) which carries a series of serious health risks, including the risk of developing Bulimia or Anorexia.
Many anorectics, as well as bulimics, use this method, not realising that they are adding to the already serious health risks of their condition. The chew and spit method is usually - and mistakenly - viewed as a harmless way to reduce calorie intake. Many develop this habit as an alternative to self-inducing vomiting, as this causes a lot of stress and tends to be extremely unpleasant. However, as well as being addictive, with the habit getting more and more out of control as time goes on, it can also trigger serious emotional issues, often starting with intense guilt feelings (because food is being wasted).

It is impossible to define the general amount of food that is actually being used without being swallowed, or what kind of food is usually treated in this way, as frequency, amount and type of food vary from individual to individual. However, there seems to be a relation between the amount a person might consume in a session of bingeing and the kind of food they might crave. Either way, doing this will not only add to the malnutrition of anorexia, as vital nutrients are not being allowed to be absorbed into the body, it may also cause the sufferer to develop stomach ulcers.

Placing food into the mouth will induce the stomach to release acids in readiness for the digestion process. With no food arriving, these acids remain active in the stomach, effectively rotting the stomach lining, thus creating acid reflux at best and stomach ulcers at worst. These ulcers can be intensely painful, and, if left untreated, could end up killing the sufferer.

Another risk is that of damage to the teeth. When sugary foods are used, large amounts of sugar - much more than if it was swallowed - remain in the mouth, particularly on the teeth. This will attack and effectively rot the enamel, causing serious damage and possibly cavities. This method will also add to the serious risk of bone loss or thinning already present in the Anorexia sufferer, thus multiplying the danger.

To sum up, it can be safely said that the chew and spit method is harmful to the health of those displaying this abnormal eating behaviour and seeking professional help in order to stop this is definitely advisable.


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