A 19-year-old New York woman has a particularly alarming addiction—eating deodorant. On an episode of TLC's My Strange Addiction, the woman—known only as "Nicole"—said that she eats a half a stick of deodorant everyday. "When I wake up in the morning, I want deodorant; after each meal, I eat deodorant; when I get stressed out, I eat deodorant; in the middle of the night when I wake up out of a sleep, I want deodorant," she confessed.
Nicole says she began eating deodorant at the age of 4, but about two years ago, her little habit manifested as "full-blown addiction." She's even specific about flavor, preferring "rich-tasting" brands to others.
Initially, she had no interest in speaking to the press about her addiction, but her health has suffered as a result. She's experienced stomach cramps, and her doctors are worried. There's aluminum in deodorant, and her doctor says consuming it can lead to dementia and even death.
Mike Dow, psychologist consultant for TLC, says that Nicole has a "process addiction." Some are variations of impulse control disorders, while others "have elements of OCD," Dow says. Dow adds that when people resort to eating "non-food materials," the condition is known as "pica." Sometimes it's the result of mineral deficiency, but it's done to cope with anxiety.
Pica is more common in young children, as roughly 10 to 32 percent of children between the ages of 1 and 6 suffer from it. Pica is also Latin for "magpie," i.e. the bird that will east just about anything.
[via ABC News]