The Weirdest Eating Habits

Mar 04, 2009
Many people know how it is feeling when you are obsessed about eating something to relieve stress. But in some cases, eating habits go to such extremes that they interfere with a person's life and need treatment.

Pica is an eating disorder characterized by persistent consumption of non-edible things. This condition is different from toddler's behavior, when it is considered normal and is diagnosed only when it lasts for more than a month.

There is a wide range of non-edible things pica eaters tend to indulge: chalk, baking soda, glue, hair, buttons, cigarette ashes, soap, toothpaste, light bulbs and other. Pica often is a sign of developmental problems and obsessive-compulsive disorder. People with pica are at risk of poisoning and other health complications. The most common pica disorders are as following:

Amylophagia is one of the most common forms of pica disorder, when a person is obsessed with consuming purified starch. The condition is usually associated with gestational diabetes and often occurs during pregnancy. A person diagnosed with amylophagia has a persistent urge to eat cornstarch or laundry starch.

Hyalophagia is a compulsive eating of glass.

Geophagia is an obsessive consumption of clay, dirt, soil or sand.

Xylophagia is a disorder characterized by consumption of wood, including tree bark or things made of wood such as paper, pencils, toothpicks.

Pagophagia a compulsive consumption of ice, like ice-cubes.

Coprophagia, or feces eating.

Orthorexia nervosa is a form of eating disorder when a person is fixed on eating only "right" food. While most people struggle with fast-food cravings, orthorectics are obsessed about healthy eating to such a degree that it interferes with their relationships and activities. People with orthorexia just cannot eat without thinking about the "rightness" of the food. Diet becomes the primary interest for orthorectics, and often they follow the specific schedule of eating. Often such people become so preoccupied with healthy eating, that they refuse to eat at any public places or at someone's home and as a result become socially isolated.

Rumination is a condition when a person repeatedly spits up food after swallowing it and then again chews it or swallows. A person may show such behavior for hours after the meal. This syndrome is often compared with a cow chewing its cud. The disorder can be diagnosed when these symptoms persist for more than a month.
Fortunately, the disorder usually resolves by itself, but in some cases may continue due to psychiatric problems.

Prader-Willi syndrome is a rare genetic defect, resulting from chromosome abnormality. Aside from other symptoms like low muscle tone, cognitive disabilities, incomplete sexual development, the syndrome is characterized by persistent appetite. People with Prader-Willi syndrome never feel satisfied with food and can eat uncontrollably as long as food is available. This may lead to obesity and even death if the person is not supervised.

The nighttime eating disorder is a condition characterized by constant urge to eat at night. A person with night eating syndrome tend to eat small high-calorie snacks quite frequently, skip breakfast and eat more than a half of their daily calories after dinner.