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My Son eats rubber / sponges and plastic?

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For a few years now my son has chewed anything rubber, plastic or spongy. ( he is now 13) He has stripped all the coating off his playstation controller wires, eaten every bath sponge I have ever bought and even eaten the back off the tv remote!. I would like to know how much damage this may cause to his body, any therories behind this behaviour and also how to stop it. I have already tried painting things in nail bite lotion but even this doesnt break the habit. Everything in my home is slowly being destroyed and if he chews the wrong wire I am terrified he will end up electrocuted.
I is starting to really worry me as my mother in law has started to blame me saying I must be shouting at him all the time as it is a sign of a nervous child!
Any help or advice on this would be greatly appriciated. I am sick of waiting for him to "grow out of it!"
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First Helper sherrim
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replied February 24th, 2008
Try to talk to him... or take him to a doctor...
I dont think that it could be eating disorder, probaly its mental disorder... Or maybe he is just nervous... It's hard to say...
Try to talk to doctor....

Good luck:)
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replied February 29th, 2008
Especially eHealthy
there is also something called pica i beleive it is, correct me if im wrong, wich involves eating things that arent food. I would suggest talking to a dr about this behavior.
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replied February 3rd, 2009
Pica
Your mother-in-law is misinformed. This is not your fault.

This is pica. I read a story in a real-life magazine about a lady who craved sponges especially when she was pregnant. Her husband ended up going out and buying the more natural sea sponges for her to eat so she wouldn't be consuming the man-made ones. Pica is a disorder where a human (or animal, ie a dog) eats things that have no nutritional value, things that aren't food, like plastic, dirt, sponges, chalk, paper etc. Your son is definately not alone. One of the possible complications though is gastro-intestinal obstruction.

Apparently it is common in people with an iron deficiency so get that checked out for him. For more info, google Pica on the net. You need to take him to the doctors though.
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replied March 26th, 2010
You wrote this a while ago but I thought Id reply anyway.
My son chews plastic, remotes, pen lids, lolly sticks, toys...alsorts.
It is a common trait of children on the autistic spectrum, my son has aspergers.
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replied March 27th, 2011
My son is 9 years old and he has been chewing and eatting anything plastic or rubber since he was a toddler. No matter what I do I can not stop him nor can I be with him 24 hours a day to stop him. I am always worried about the toxic chemicals and heavy metals he has ingested. Even though he knows about what can happen if he eats these things he still contiues to eat them. It is heart wrenching and very stressful. I give him chlorella and flax seed oil to help with detox. He was born with ADHD with some autistic mannerisms. I have asked 3 doctors about what to do. One told me it was because he is craving junk food, another did not take me serious and was not concerned, and the last one told me that it may be because of missing his binky/pacifer and to stop him when he does it...like I don't already (he was nursed for over a year and never had a binky and for years I have constantly followed him around making sure he doesn't do it.) After my own research I found out it is common for children with nerological disorders like ADHD and autism to do this which is called Pica. How to stop it, I do not know. Does anyone else have the same problem and has more suggestions on what to do.
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replied March 28th, 2011
Community Volunteer
Hi sherrim and welcome to ehealth: Have you ever offered him special treats not to do this?...Possibly making it a game could help...Good luck and I hope you find a cure...Take care...

Caroline
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replied March 28th, 2011
Yes, because he has ADHD he has been, and still is, on a positive rewards system at school and at home for good behavior. So he gets rewarded for good behavior and punished for behavior that is not exceptable. I give him gum as much as I can and that helps a lot, however, gum is not allowed in school and it tends to get all over the place because he likes to play with it as well. I try stay away from artificial flavors and dyes as much as I can with him because his behaviorisms tend to get worse when he consumes these ingredients, so I give him a natural gum. The natural gum costs me about $50. per month just for gum.
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replied December 1st, 2011
possible pica??
wow.. glad i came across this! i now know im not alone! my 7 yr old son (diagnosed with ADHD and ASD) has eaten 4 sky remotes and the hands, feet and faces off of hundreds of wrestling figures! christ knows how much else. i was told at first that this was a sign of concentration in ADHD children as he finds it hard to concentrate, but he does it when theres no need to concentrate on anything! ive tried natural gum too, but he dont like the texture of gum so it was pointless! he broke his tooth last week because of chewing the plastic toys etc, and im hoping now that he has to go thru the pain of tooth extraction later today, that it will stop him, but after spending the morning reading up on this, im now finding it highly unlikely! Would like to hear back from someone who has been thru this and help me if you can on anything that seems to work! xx
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replied March 13th, 2014
I definitely feel had this as a child - rubber-type material in particular - and would suggest, as others have, that you seek advice from a mental health professional - if you haven't already (given the age of this post). It sounds like Pica.
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