Lisa Anderson talked about how her addiction started during her pregnancy: "It was like the smell of it. I used to crave the smell of it"
For about 10 years, Lisa Anderson told nobody about her habit of gorging on an item that is usually kept in bathroom cupboards and dressing tables. One day, her ex-partner grew curious about why Lisa constantly made trips to the bathroom and barged in to discover her unusual addiction to eating talcum powder.
That's when Lisa, a 44-year-old mother of five children, decided to come forward and seek help for her addiction.
When she spoke to Real Fix podcast, she said the addiction started back when she was pregnant with her youngest child, who is now a teenager.
"...It was while I was pregnant with him. It was like the smell of it. I used to crave the smell of it," Lisa said on the podcast in 2020, as quoted by Devon Live.
After her son's birth, she found the urge to consume the powder going out of control.
"When he was born and I would use the talcum powder I would lick it off my hands. That went on for quite a while. I wasn't like all the time I'd do it. Sometimes I wouldn't even realise I was doing it," the mother shared. "...It was probably only about four years ago was when I started eating it as in putting it on my hand, eating it. I didn't think much of it. I never told anybody. Every now and again when I was around talcum powder I would eat it. I put it on my hand then eat it."
Lisa shared that she has spent more than $11,300 (£8,000) to fund her addiction and could go through several bottles a week.
Every 30 minutes, she would go to the bathroom and discretely gulp some down from the back of her hand. Sometimes, her craving for the powder would wake her up at night, and she would indulge her vice up to four times while the rest of the house was asleep, according to Stoke-on-Trent Live.
"I JUST LOVE THE SOAPY TASTE" - Woman addicted to talcum powder has spent £8,000 feeding her craving -— SWNS.com (@SWNS) January 7, 2020
Lisa Anderson, 44, started eating the powder 15 years ago when she felt the urge after using it on her young son following a bath. pic.twitter.com/PyQHhMnyyX
In one day, she could finish an entire 200g bottle of talcum powder and had to set aside about $14 (£10) a week to buy enough for her addiction.
"Just like someone with an addiction I was just having more and more each time I went to have some," she explained. "I can't really go half an hour without it. The longest I've been without it is two days. That was the worst time of my life. I hated it."
After she finally admitted her addiction to her ex-partner, Lisa began receiving professional help and was told she showed symptoms of PICA syndrome. According to National Eating Disorders Association, Pica syndrome includes eating substances that are not usually categorized as food. These substances include hair, dirt, soil, chalk, talcum powder, soap, paper, and others.
Back when Lisa spoke on the Real Fix podcast, she wasn't formally diagnosed with PICA syndrome. She was also told by doctors that her cravings could be a result of OCD or iron deficiency as well, as reported by Devon Live.
Now that she has come forward with her addiction and is seeking help, she also said, as quoted by Stoke-on-Trent Live, "I just want to raise awareness to others. I spent years not knowing what was going on or happening. But it turns out it is a condition. And I just want to let others know they are not alone."
Cover image: Representational (Source: Getty Images | Photo by ThitareeSarmkasat)