You were like a wishing wellI have this uncontrollable urge to eat things! But then I want to stay skinny, my family has hidden all metal objects and all the things I want to eat such as toilet paper, dirt, t.v remotes, cats, cd’s. I was even tempted as I was writing this to eat the mouse, if this isn’t enough I am terrified to leave my house. My anorexia has been bad and I’ve developed a phobia to tomatoes the only things I eat are crackers and sometimes water, but I always want to eat more things that I shouldn’t. When I was in the mental institution I didn’t have access to any of those things but now, I’m feeling the urge more than ever to eat inedible items. Please help me.

A: Thank you for writing in about your struggles. Your restrictive eating and the urges to eat dangerous items sound very serious and potentially life-threatening and needs immediate attention. Are you currently working with a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist since your discharge from the hospital? If not, please set up an appointment with a psychiatrist immediately. It sounds like you may be suffering from several mental disorders that need treatment. The uncontrollable urge to eat non-food items is a disorder called pica, and the fear of leaving your home may be part of agoraphobia or another anxiety disorder. Please get help immediately. If you act on your urges it could be life-threatening.

Take good care of yourself.

Julie Hanks, LCSW

Creative Commons License photo credit: Gabriela Camerotti