The Real Cause Behind Ice Addiction
Do you feel like your compulsion to munch on ice all day long could actually be an ice addiction? It may sound funny to see the words “addiction” and “ice” in the same sentence, especially since ice eating is a very common habit. The truth is that many people out there do not simply munch on ice for fun but rather because they feel that they have to. Are you worried that you could be one of these people?
The Compulsion behind Ice Addiction
Are you guilty of carrying a cup of ice chips around with you or running through the drive-thru at a restaurant simply to order a cup of ice? If not you, then chances are that you probably know someone who does. This is likely to be a subconscious compulsion, or need, that crops up as your body’s way of trying to catch your attention. People—mostly women—can sometimes crave the strangest things. Although pregnancy often results in some funny cravings, some women experience odd cravings whether they are pregnant or not. Reports have shown that some women crave clay, laundry powder or starch, orange peel, and other non-edible items. Craving items that are not meant to be eaten is a medical condition known as pica. Pica can be broken down into sub-groups based on the item that is craved. Ice is a form of water but not intended to provide any nourishment as far as edibility goes. Because of this factor, ice addiction has gained its own subcategory of pica known as pagophagia.
As you might have wondered for yourself, there is actually a medical reason behind the compulsion to eat ice. The most likely cause behind ice addiction is iron-deficiency anemia. This is a condition in which the body is not able to produce enough red blood cells due to low levels of iron or the inability to efficiently absorb iron. It is also possible for the ice addiction to be a result of low levels of minerals that are sometimes found in hard water, such as calcium and magnesium. This is much more likely; however, that anemia is the cause of ice eating.
What Iron Does for the Body
Iron is a mineral that the body must have in order to produce hemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells that enables blood to carry oxygen throughout the body. Individuals who are low in iron or whose body is unable to properly absorb the mineral and put it to good use are likely to experience a number of physical problems. For instance, because all of the tissues in the body require oxygen to perform correctly, it is likely that someone suffering from anemia will experience muscle fatigue, shortness of breath, difficult concentrating, dizziness, and the inability to perform tasks as well as they should.
Women are much more likely to be low in iron than men due to the blood loss that occurs during menstruation. An adult woman should consume around 18mg of iron every day. This may sound like a lot, but it is quite easy to obtain 18mg of iron through the right foods, such as beans, lentils, broccoli, bok choy, dates, raisins, fish, beef, venison, and bison.
Side Effects of Eating Ice
Although it may seem fairly harmless to eat ice, after all it’s only frozen water, but the reality is that ice munching can cause quite a few issues. Many ice crunchers get the third degree from their dentists because ice chewing creates microscopic chips, cracks, and blemishes in the teeth that reduces their overall strength. In turn one could find that they have to deal with abnormal enamel wear and premature tooth decay. Ice chewing can also damage the cells of one’s tongue, mouth, throat, and stomach. In fact, many ice-aholics often complain of excessive gas, stomach upset, and loss of flavor detection.
If you believe that you may be suffering from anemia, consider taking an iron supplement or adding iron-rich foods to your diet. It may take several weeks to a month before you notice any real changes, but soon you should notice that your cravings for ice eventually fade away.