Most people would never think to consume anything that wasn’t properly prepared and served to eat. But on this week’s episode of TLC’s My Strange Addiction, 22-year-old Keyshia disgusted her family (and the rest of America) by sniffing, sucking, and chewing dirty diapers. The Queens, N.Y. resident asks friends and relatives for their babies’ pee-soaked diapers in order to satisfy her cravings. “It’s very annoying because she doesn’t care what time it is,” said Keyshia’s friend, Kim. “She’ll wake my baby up to take the diaper that’s on the baby.”
In the episode, which aired Wednesday, Keyshia said that her habit began about two years ago. Since then, she’s slurped about 25,000 dirty diapers, according to The Huffington Post. Her fiancé, Jerome, believes her addiction to soiled diapers has gotten out of hand, especially since she places them in communal cups and dishes. "I've tried to work with her, but she goes beyond for her diapers," Jerome said. "She's even willing to dig in the garbage."
Though it makes for great television, Keyshia’s desire to suck on dirty diapers is more than just a “strange addiction.” Pica, which is the compulsive eating of non-food items, is an actual medical condition. People with pica consume large amounts of these items, like diapers, without regard for the nutritional consequences. Though it is a compulsive behavior, most people with pica don’t necessarily have a psychological disorder. Most times, the items people eat are consumed to fulfill a nutrient deficiency. But, since most people don’t go to the doctor for their habit, those deficiencies often go undiagnosed. Medical Daily has covered a couple of different cases of pica (see here and here), from a student who wouldn’t stop eating crayons to a mother who ate nothing but sand and sponges during her two pregnancies.
Keyshia, like others struggling with pica, tried to kick her dirty diaper habit by the end of the episode. "I'm going to smell them one last time then you can have them," she said. My Strange Addiction airs Wednesdays on TLC. Watch a snippet from the show below: