When it comes to looking thin some woman are willing to give up just about anything. This body-conscious society we live in often prompts women to skip meals regularly, take dangerous diet pills, and spend years subjecting their health to yo-yo diets.
What’s really surprising is that some women are even willing to sacrifice a full year of sex to be thin. It’s true! According to Fitness Magazine, when 2400 women were polled, 51% of them said that they would give up sex to be skinny.
That’s over half of women!
These kinds of self-esteem and body image issues take their toll both emotionally and physically. The tragic result can be the onset of eating disorders. Most everyone has heard of anorexia and bulimia, two eating disorders rooted in an unrealistic desire for perfection as well as a distorted image of their true body shape.
However, there are some eating disorders that don’t have anything to do with trying to maintain a thin body. These eating disorders cause strange cravings for very odd items - items you won’t find in most people’s food pantry. The problem is these cravings could damage their physical health and lead to emotional problems . . . just like anorexia and bulimia.
The secret shame of pica.
Pica is an eating disorder that leads to cravings for non-food materials. While it’s often seen in young children, many adults have this unusual disorder. Some of the most common cravings include paint, dirt, sand, clay, and even animal feces. A television program on The Learning Channel (TLC) called “My Strange Addiction” recently aired segments of adult women who craved pottery, cleaning detergent, and cigarette ashes. While they appeared healthy, some of these women carry around emotional baggage and secret shame. One woman had serious dental problems as a result of eating cracked pottery. Understandably, the disorder caused family relationship problems, too. What causes these unusual cravings?
In some cases they are due to iron deficiency anemia; or a zinc deficiency can trigger a strange craving. Still in other cases pica occurs because an individual craves a certain texture. It’s not unusual for people who have mental challenges to eat non-food substances. Bipolar individuals sometimes suffer from pica.The dangers.
Some of the dangers and risks of pica include malnutrition, anemia, constipation, intestinal blockages, intestinal parasites from soil, mercury poisoning, as well as kidney and liver damage.
Even though the consumption of some of the strange items could be harmless, pica is still a serious eating disorder. Treatment involves addressing the behavior or introducing mild aversion therapy followed by positive reinforcement when eating healthy food. In some cases medications can help if the pica stems from a developmental disorder associated with mental challenges.
Hopefully, television shows such as “My Strange Addiction” will take away some of the secret shame of pica sufferers, though some feel shows such as that are more exploitive than anything else. But, if it will lead to someone seeking treatment for a potentially dangerous eating disorder, the end could very well justify the means.