Nicole, 19, first ate the chemical when she was four years old. But her taste for antiperspirants developed into a full-blown addiction two years ago — and she now eats the substance any time of day.
Nicole, from New York, revealed she keeps deodorant sticks and spray cans around the house and with her at all times in case she gets a craving.
The teenager’s dependence on the cosmetic has seen her eat 360 deodorant sticks in two years. She eats it every day, after meals and if she wakes in the middle of the night. Nicole is left with a dry mouth and stomach cramps from eating the deodorant so she sometimes sprays it on her tongue instead.
Nicole, who claims she has no control over her urge, said: “My brain is telling me, ‘You have to eat it.’ I tried giving it up for a week but I got really sick and had bad headaches.”
She also told US show My Strange Addiction: “When I realise I’m out of deodorant I start to panic. My anxiety goes crazy and my heart will beat really fast.
“I get really aggravated. I just need it and without I’d be a totally different person.”
The main ingredient of deodorants is aluminium, which can cause dementia, seizures and death if ingested. And Nicole’s friend Zhakia is so worried about her health she and Nicole’s boyfriend Jayquan finally convinced her to see a doctor.
Nicole has since cut down on her addiction and tries to eat almonds when she gets craving but is still eating a small amount of deodorant every day. She explained her addiction, saying: “It’s really soft. It feels like it melts in my mouth. It has its own unique taste.
“My mouth gets really dry, but at the same time, it’s still watering because it’s what I’m craving.”
via The Sun
What causes this and what can be done?
Pica is a psychological disorder characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive … According to DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition) criteria, for these actions to be considered pica, they must persist for more than one month at an age where eating such objects is considered developmentally inappropriate, not part of culturally sanctioned practice and sufficiently severe to warrant clinical attention.
… More recently, cases of pica have been tied to the obsessive–compulsive spectrum, and there is a move to consider OCD in the cause of pica.
… because pica can occur in people who have lower than normal nutrient levels and poor nutrition (malnutrition), the health care provider should test blood levels of iron and zinc. Hemoglobin can also be checked to test for anemia. Lead levels should always be checked in children who may have eaten paint or objects covered in lead-paint dust.