Meet the Woman Who Eats Couch Cushions

Meet the Woman Who Eats Couch Cushions

Compulsions drive people to do very strange and unusual things. But eating couch cushions? That may very well be the strangest yet.

Adele, a 30-year-old woman from Bradenton, Fla., recently came forward on a TV show about her bizarre taste for foam materials.

The woman is featured on the TLC program "My Strange Addiction" munching on bite-sized pieces of sofa stuffing -- and even going so far as to prepare snack-sized servings of couch cushions.

The show has already highlighted people who are addicted to tanning booths, ventriloquism and rock collecting, and others who eat any manner of strange things, including toilet paper and kitchen cleanser, but the episode on Adele's couch-consuming habit might be the most compelling yet.

According to psychologist Jason Mihalko, Adele's behavior presents very much like a condition called pica.

"[Pica is] characterized by an individual having a desire to eat nonfood substances," Mihalko told AOL News. "It's most often seen in young children and women."

"There are cases of pica where people eat metal, dirt, feces, chalk, writing utensils and [tree] sap," he said.

As for what might drive a person to eat such strange material? Well, the truth is no one really knows.

"The research on pica is scant," Mihalko explained. "Some research points toward a mineral deficiency, while the more recent thinking is that pica is more closely related to obsessive compulsive disorder."

Mihalko told AOL News that if he were assessing Adele -- or any of the other people featured on "My Strange Addiction" -- he would do a complete assessment for obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD.

"[Some] people with OCD get relief from enormous amounts of stress when they engage in whatever their particular behavior is, whether it be checking locks, washing hands or other obsessive behavior, while some experience enormous stress in engaging in these behaviors."

And what can be done about an obsession with eating couch cushions?

Mihalko suggested that if the couch eating were a method of getting relief or maintaining control, he would try to help her learn different ways to alleviate her stress.

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