"Their mental state is altered so they can hear what others are saying, but they are unable to answer," said Fleisher. "So commonly it can be seen as a symptom of drug abuse or being drunk."
Currently there are no diagnostic tests for CVS. Though medications are available to alleviate the pain experienced during a vomiting episode, there is no standard treatment for the condition.
According to Fleisher, sometimes the only way physicians can control CVS symptoms during an attack is to sedate the patient.
"Emotions promote nausea and CVS," said Fleisher. "When doctors put them to sleep, the vomiting stops immediately and they are numb to their misery."
While a migraine may by one explanation for the onset of symptoms, Fleisher said many episodes are triggered by emotional stress or excitement.
"Big events, such as final exams or a special occasion brings on an episode," Bussey said.
Worse, according to Fleisher, the anxiety experienced by some CVS sufferers in between episodes may cause some to continually experience symptoms of CVS, called dyspeptic nausea.
"CVS is generally not a fatal disease, but it can get complicated if not recognized or handled right," he said.
Robertson manages her condition through a combination of medications aimed at quelling her pain, nausea and anxiety. But even this has not completely stopped the episodes or symptoms, Robertson said.
That is, until February 2010, when Robertson found out she was pregnant.
At first, Bussey said, they were "dumb-founded, terrified, and panicked" for the baby's safety, and at the idea of Robertson enduring a pregnancy through her symptoms.
Her doctors were unable to explain why her pregnancy quelled many of her symptoms.
"Her illness began to improve dramatically, she has had no hospitalizations since, and delivered a healthy baby boy in December," said Bussey. "I have a normal daughter for the first time in 10 years."
With little awareness and limited research on CVS, Bussey said she fears sufferers like her daughter may never understand what brings on CVS and how to treat the condition. Although Bussey says things are looking up her daughter's condition, she says they are not sure what to expect in the future. For now, she says, they will continue to follow up with her doctors.
For more information on CVS, visit http://www.cvsaonline.org.