When Henderson had to leave her family to go to college, that is when things took a turn for the worse. She went to a school five hours away from her family home. She had no family nearby and no boyfriend, and she became sad, lonely, and depressed. That is when her habit of eating soap started, and it steadily got worse.
Dr. Barton Blinder, a leading authority on PICA, says that eating soap in those quantities could have serious consequences on Henderson’s health. The toxic chemicals could damage her organs and her blood chemistry.
Through therapy, Henderson was able to find the cause of her PICA.
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Henderson says she has always loved the smell of laundry detergent. The smell brings to mind the smell of her mother and her bedsheets as a child. As she became more and more stressed, she found that eating soap would ease her anxiety.
She has gone to a doctor who specializes in addiction. She was advised to remove all soap and detergents and anything that could trigger her addiction.
Psychologists say that Henderson resorted to eating soap as a way of coping since she was lonely and away from her family.
She says that she uses liquid soap at home now and doesn’t feel the need to eat that.
Doctors used cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat Henderson. It replaces her thoughts to prevent her from reaching for soap when she is stressed.
When she feels the need to eat soap, she is learning to change her thoughts to positive things. Henderson has been encouraged to go for long walks and avoid places like bathrooms and laundry rooms where soap is present.
Part of her therapy is talking about her issues. Her addiction could be caused by her keeping her emotions and feelings to herself. She is in recovery. She used to take three bottles of soap into the shower, but she hasn’t eaten soap since September 2010.
Henderson had to stop going to college when her mother found out about her strange addiction.
Today, she is on the long road to recovery, and she hopes she will never feel the need to eat soap again. She says her mother is relieved she was addicted to soap and not something more dangerous.