In a clear case of a "Strange Addiction," 23-year-old Claire Jones's selective eating disorder leaves her unable to stomach almost anything except baked potatoes. Her potato addiction, accompanied by a phobia of all other foods, has led her to eat over 13,000 baked potatoes in her lifetime.
According to the Daily Mail, Jones, a waitress and bartender in Northamptonshire, England, suffers regular panic attacks and becomes physically ill when presented with any foods other than baked Maris Piper potatoes, cheddar cheese, and a particular brand of coleslaw from the supermarket chain Tesco.
There is no formal classification in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) for selective eating disorder, but the condition can be debilitating for extreme picky eaters.
Selective eating disorder, also referred to as extreme picky eating or food neophobia, is still poorly understood. Many children are picky eaters, but most grow out of it later on.
Some psychiatrists relate the condition to past traumatic experiences, like choking on a particular food, or pathological phobias of trying new things. Others compare it to symptoms of autism or obsessive-compulsive disorder, which can involve extreme sensitivity to certain sensory stimuli.
Recent research has indicated a genetic explanation for picky eating, though those studies did not target adults with selective eating disorder.
Dr. Sondra Kronberg, a spokeswoman for the National Eating Disorders Association, told The Daily Beast that the "nutritional effects of extreme selective eating would be dehydration, malnutrition, bone loss, hormonal imbalance," vitamin deficiencies, and a weakened immune system. In extreme cases, extremely selective eaters can suffer from cardiac problems or stunted growth.
Jones suffers from anemia and recurrent sinus infections as a result of her potato addiction. She told the Daily Mail that she's sick of eating baked potatoes, but doesn't know how to stop.
"Trying new foods has made me physically sick, so I just don't do it now," she said. "It's so bad, it's taken over my life. I'm scared to go to the supermarket or eat out with friends.
"I've always been fussy but it was only recently I realized it was an actual disorder."
The Daily Mail reports that Jones has joined a selective eating disorder support group, and hopes to finds a medical specialist or psychologist to help her cope with her potato addiction and aversion to all other foods.
Read the full feature at The Daily Mail.
Published by Medicaldaily.com