Dr Oz: World’s Weirdest Eating Disorder: Pica Eating Disorder

Dr Oz did a segment called World’s Weirdest Eating Disorder to discuss one of the most baffling eating disorders called Pica.  Doctor Oz said that some people have an insatiable hunger for cigarette ashes, paint chips, drywall, blankets, and even filling from a sofa.

Dr Oz: Pica & My Strange Addiction on TLC

People with Pica have strange cravings that eat away at them all day long.  People eat everything from comet to toilet paper, as shown on the TLC’s show My Dr Oz Weird Eating DisorderStrange Addiction.  People with Pica eat Non-Nutritive Substances and it can cause serious bodily harm which can even be fatal.  The number of people with Pica is unclear though, because it is often missed or hidden.  But Pica can be treated and cured if a person acknowledges that they have a problem.

Dr Oz: Women With Pica

Dr Oz was joined by Dr Sue Varma, a psychiatrist, to discuss Pica.  People with Pica might eat anything from coins to chalk to dirt.  They often have certain deficiencies like iron deficiency or low zinc and they often have a history of emotional deprivation like coming from a divorced family or a family with conflict.  Dr Varma said that Pica is a pretty common ailment, but it is not often discussed because there is so much of a stigma and shame associated with it.  In fact, 25-30% of children have Pica, but by the age of 2-3 they outgrow it.  For example, kids might pick their nose and eat it until they realize that their friends will make fun of them and then they quit.  Dr Varma said that 1 in 5 pregnant women have Pica and crave things including mud or ice chips.  Ice chips do not sound so bad though, because at least they are an item that is normally consumed.  Pica can cause all kinds of problems including constipation for days or even weeks, intestinal obstructions and malnutrition.

Dr Oz: Woman Eats Chalk, Rocks & Drywall

Dr Oz’s first guest was a lady named Alexis who says she started eating chalk when she was 4 or 5 years old.  Then when she was a late teenager, she began eating rocks.  And as an adult she started to eat drywall as well.  Another special treat is to eat ice made out of a little bit of soap and water.  Alexis said that she gets her rocks from the beach because they break easily and she won’t break her teeth on them.  She likes to feel the rocks crunching in her teeth and she says she feels better whenever she eats chalk.  Sometimes she does worry about if things have chemicals in them, but she does not want to stop.

Dr Oz: Woman Eats Baby Powder

Dr Oz’s second guest was a lady named Saneika who was 17 when she started to eat baby powder because she found it relaxing and calming.  When she is out in public, she will carry baby powder and eat it i n the bathroom.  She says it is an addiction because she eats it all day, but she would like to stop and learn how it effects her body.  Saneika said that she eats 1-2 bottles of baby powder every day and if she does not eat it, she feels bored and gets an urge to go out and get it because she has a craving for it.

Dr Oz: Medical Harm of Pica

Dr Oz asked Alexis how she feels normally.  She says she feels good, but if she gets anxious or wants something to do, like when she is watching a movie, then she has to eat some of her items.  Dr Oz asked her if it is an embarrassment, and she said that sometimes someone will see you do it or see white chalk on the side of you mouth, and that is embarrassing – but she said she never feels guilty.  Dr Oz asked her why she does not concerned at all about her problem?  She said she feels the benefits outweigh the negatives because her main side effects from Pica is that her tongue is dry, she is sensitive to spicy foods and sensitive to hot and cold, and she chipped one tooth on a rock.  Saneika told Dr Oz that her Pica started when she was 17 and pregnant, but it never went away and she continued to do it through all three of her kids.  She said that her three year old son already wants to eat baby powder too.  Dr Oz asked her about her side effects and she said that if she eats too much baby powder, then she gets a bad headache for two days.

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