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Dr. Phil helps teen with 'chew and spit' eating disorder: 'It's killing her'

Find out about a little known eating disorder called Chew and Spit.
Find out about a little known eating disorder called Chew and Spit.
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Most of us have never heard of an eating disorder called "Chew and Spit" (CNS). But it's very real, says Dr. Phil, and it can kill. On a recent episode of his talk show, he talked with a teen suffering from this combination of anorexia and bulimia.

Weighing only 103 pounds at age 17, Emily has set herself a goal of weighing only 80 pounds. She admits to mostly drinking fluids and avoiding eating. And when she does eat food, she spits it out.

Emily's mother, Stefany, says that her daughter hides in her room, chews food and spits it into bags. She's fearful for her daughter's life and feels that she's at fault.

"I have put my daughter through some of the most horrific experiences," said Stefany, who is diabetic and relied on her daughter as her caretaker.

However, her husband Dan feels that Stefany continues to enable Emily by bringing in foods that are high in carbs, starch and sugar, making them desirable for Emily's "chew and spit" addiction.

Dr. Phil says that in such situations, it's a family problem, not an individual's problem. Emily uses her eating disorder as a way to control her life - but now it has spiraled out of control to the point where she's in danger of dying from it.

"A big fear of mine is getting fat," says Emily.

"As much as this disorder tears me apart, I feel empty without it," she adds. "It's calming to have with me, but it's also really terrifying."

After talking with her about what her future holds if she continues, Dr. Phil persuaded Emily to get help at the Timberline Knolls Treatment Center, which specializes in treating teen girls and women with eating disorders.

"It's a place where you can go and make yourself the focus, 100 percent of the time," he said.

If the name of the treatment center sounds familiar, there's a reason: Ke$ha is undergoing eating disorder treatment for both bulimia and anorexia at Timberline Knolls, according to People magazine.

And her mother recently joined her there, saying "I'm checking myself into Timberline Knolls today for post-traumatic stress disorder, at Ke$ha's urging." Learn more about the young singer's struggle with eating disorders by clicking here.

In addition, Demi Lovato turned to Timberline Knolls for help with her own eating disorder. Now Demi's written a a book of affirmations that she hopes will help others struggle with this condition: "Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year" (click for details).