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Smell Cravings/ Pica Disorder


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#1 tina

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Posted 4 October 2007 - 02:04 AM

I am a 40 yr old female with a sudden craving for chemical smells. I don't know where this came from, but for some reason I'm severely craving smells. I can watch a commercial on household cleaners and my mouth just waters! I don't get high from the smells. I am not pregnant and I do not do drugs. I just can't get over this sudden urge to sniff everything that has harsh chemicals in it. I went to a tire store the other day to smell the tire showcase. I would drink Pine Sol, but I know it would hurt me. I want to eat dirt and love to get behind old trucks leaking black exhausts!! What is this all about?! I'm really concerned about this. I haven't resorted to eating any of these toxic materials, but the craving I have for them scares me!
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#2 fattyjwoods

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Posted 4 October 2007 - 02:26 AM

whoa! That sounds weird

check this out even though you're not a kid http://www.kidshealt....vior/pica.html

The easiest way to solve this problem is to call the doctor like it says on the site. Unfortunately if you have a mental problem you should call a phyciartrist. (sorry cant spell). If you have a friend that could possibly lock away the chemicals and do the dishes for you, that would help a lot!

Anyway, it's perfectly normal (to a point). I mean sometimes you get an urge to sniff petrol or glue but all you have to do is to pinch yourself and you'll snap out of it.
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#3 iNow

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Posted 4 October 2007 - 02:37 AM

Sounds like it's time to see a neurologist, and most likely a complete CAT scan and/or MRI.

http://cancer.stanfo...incancer/brain/
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#4 fattyjwoods

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Posted 4 October 2007 - 02:40 AM

one question; have you eaten any of the chemicals? If you have you may need to contact the poisons hotline or a doctor
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#5 Snoggums

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 03:05 AM

I get something similar, I have to have laundry detergent around me so I can smell it or just be comforted by it. It's weird, and strange. But yours sounds like something that could hurt you.

Most likely, a deficiency of some sort. *shrug* I dunno, just a guess, I'm no expert. For all I know, it could be menopause or a mid-life crisis.

iNow, brain tumors would cause personality changes. This is a sudden craving. And it's not rational to assume the worst before eliminating the most common reasons.

Pica, huh...? So you have a craving to eat objects that you shouldn't eat? I had that slighty for a short while when I had iron deficiency. That could cause it, as well as a tapeworm. It's best to assume the most common things before you start freaking out about a brain tumor that you most likely don't have.

See a doctor, if it's a tapeworm or a deficiency, then it needs to be taken care of. If it's psychological, then see a psychologist. Point is, you most likely will not get a diagnosis without flaws on the internet, especially if it's an amature diagnosis. See a doctor. Like ASAP.
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#6 Mr Skeptic

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 03:25 AM

Pica disorder is sometimes caused by mineral deficiency. I would recommend multivitamins. If you think you might eat some chemicals, you should go to a doctor before you get yourself in trouble.
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#7 dcaldwellotr

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 02:45 AM

I too have gone from being the worlds most olfactory sensitive person to craving the smell of cleansers, strong essential oils (like sage) and menthol, and I am not sure why. I am cleaning my house top to bottom so that I can smell the cleanser. I almost killed my mom with Pine Sol, as she has heart conditions and asthma. Now, I use Fabulosa all through the house and even put some on a kleenex so that I could smell it in private all day long. I am thinking this is a mineral deficiency, especially Zinc.I have in the past been the sensitive nose among all, now, all I want is strong odors of cleansers. I know it is weird, but i am going through this too. So, I hope that we find an answer soon as this is very disturbing to me. :eek::eek::eek:
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#8 busylady

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 08:42 PM

Hi - I too have had this problem for some time - the cravings for me are glue and coal, and the smell of firelighters (parrafin I guess). However, I have recently been diagnosed with very low iron, and am now being treated with high dose iron, and the pica's are gradually receeding.
It would be worth getting checked for this type of thing as I understand that pica is a common symptom of aneamia.
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#9 PsyChris

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 09:03 PM

Pica is normally diagnosed as a disorder in childhood however no disorder can be isolated to an age range. The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders has this to say about Pica:

The cravings found in patients diagnosed with pica may be associated with a nutitional deficiency state, such as iron-deficiency anemia, with pregnancy; or with mental retardation or mental illness


A few of the posters experiencing symptoms mentioned they are not pregnant now. While pica can begin during pregnancy it also continues to occur intermittently for years after pregnancy.

If its a nutritional deficit, it will resolve when the deficit is treatment. Behavioral modification has been minimally effective.
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#10 L15YSA

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 05:36 PM

I am a 40 yr old female with a sudden craving for chemical smells. I don't know where this came from, but for some reason I'm severely craving smells. I can watch a commercial on household cleaners and my mouth just waters! I don't get high from the smells. I am not pregnant and I do not do drugs. I just can't get over this sudden urge to sniff everything that has harsh chemicals in it. I went to a tire store the other day to smell the tire showcase. I would drink Pine Sol, but I know it would hurt me. I want to eat dirt and love to get behind old trucks leaking black exhausts!! What is this all about?! I'm really concerned about this. I haven't resorted to eating any of these toxic materials, but the craving I have for them scares me!


You are not the only one with the problem. I crave damp cellar smells, coal, fire lighters. I even chew down on the powdered smokers tooth paste becasue it is gritty I dont eat it though, I spit it out. My cravings started out of the blue over 2 months ago and wont go away. I was stood sniffing a pack of fire lighters today in the super market, must have looked like a real freak! My hubby just rolls his eyes! I even visited a mining museum to experience the dank underground musty smells.

I have no intention of eating anything untoward but the urges are becoming a nightmare. I am currently awaiting results of blood tests from my doctor. :) I am 41 and female, maybe its a woman thing!

Edited by L15YSA, 19 October 2010 - 05:39 PM.

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#11 Ahsan Iqbal

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 05:17 AM

Sounds like it's time to see a neurologist, and most likely a complete CAT scan and/or MRI.


I agree. She should see a professional and discuss her problem.
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