It's not always a case of not eating enough or eating too much (real food) that can create eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia. For many people, simply having an appetite for non-foods can also be a problem. Recently on the popular TLC show My Strange Addiction, the problem was with two women having an addiction to eating sand and deodorant.
Nicole, a 19-year-old from New York City, eats a half-a-stick of deodorant a day.
"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 said.
Brea, 19, is addicted to eating sand. She eats it plain, and she mixes it with some of her favorite foods, such as nacho chips, and gum. "I just love the crunch," she said.
Despite health concerns, addiction to non-food items is prevalent among many people who can't control their habit. Pica, a disorder characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive, such as clay, chalk, dirt, or sand, may sound like the proper diagnosis, but many doctor's don't have a simple answer for the cause.
Mike Dow, author of "Diet Rehab" and TLC's psychologist consultant says: "There's no diagnostic billing code for many of these strange addictions. They can be as powerful as compulsive addictions to shopping and to gambling."
Dow also said eating deodorant isn't going to kill Nicole "as fast as heroin."