In the third season of "My Strange Addiction," which airs at 10 p.m. EST Feb. 12, TLC exposes addicts who cannot stop their behavior -- even as they put their health, and in some cases the well-being of others, in peril.
Alicia is addicted to mothballs and Nathaniel is in a relationship with his car. Mary cannot stop eating cat food, not only the treats, but the canned wet variety.
In eight episodes we also meet Bertha, who drinks nail polish; Jamie, who digs her ears; Sheyla who is addicted to her gigantic breasts; Andrea, who eats adhesive tape; Ayanna, who is addicted to her toenails; Kristie, who eats dirt; Jillian, who smells Pine Cleaner; and Lacey, who carries around a doll's head.
All share have something in common: Their addictions help them relieve psychological stresses, and they need help.
|Addicted to Mothballs|
Alicia adored her grandmother and the pungent fragrance that surrounded the warmth in her house -- mothballs.
That was during "happy times" when she was a little girl, growing up in New York. But now, at 45, Alicia can't get enough of the odor that most people find noxious -- so much so that their fumes has become an addiction.
"I love the smell," said Alicia, a hair stylist who now lives in Atlanta. She hides mothballs in her car, her bed and under the sofa cushions in her house. They are cheap to buy -- only $1 a box.
"I find it irresistible and it's hard for me to stay away from it for long periods of time," she said. "I always keep a stash somewhere so I can get a smell."
But mothballs contain toxic chemicals like naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene, and a doctor has told her she is endangering health and that of her children.
"He said that it can affect your eyes and that it is really unhealthy to inhale and could potentially cause cancer," said Alicia.
She said she loves her two children -- aged 13 and 15 -- and has vowed to stop.
"I am so dependent, I can't go more than an hour without the scent," said Alicia. "I'll just have to quit cold turkey and keep them away from my children.
|Sex With My Car|
Nathaniel from Arkansas is sexually attracted to his car, caressing its steering wheel, kissing the hood and even sliding his body under the front end and rubbing up against the metal.
The 28-year-old even has a name for his '98 Chevy Monte Carlo -- "Chase."
He met the car at a repair shop."There was something about him," Nathaniel said. "I knew we were meant to be together."
Nathaniel takes his car, whom he calls "my handsome man," on dates on scenic overlooks and keeps a photo of Chase as a screensaver on his computer.
"I love his subtle curves," said Nathaniel. They even have their own song by REO Speedwagon.
As a teen, Nathaniel loved to build model cars and one of them, Dylan, shares a bed with him. "Chase is OK with that," he said. "He knows we have a long history between us."
When he was in elementary school Nathaniel was a loner and didn't have many friends. Then later, he was in a car accident with his Dad, an event that he thinks might have triggered his obsession with cars.
"The doctor calls it objectophilia," he said, noting that others have been attracted to objects like the Eiffel Tower and roller coasters. He was delighted to find others online who share similar sexual attractions.
"At first I thought I had a problem and something was mentally wrong," said Nathaniel. "But I didn't feel so alone and it opened me up a bit."
But he worries sometimes that if people find out where he works as a customer service technician, they will think he is crazy. And so does his roommate Kim.
"She's been very supportive of me." said Nathaniel. "I talked to a therapist, mainly for insight. I wanted to learn more about it. He was supportive and only wanted to help me cope."
"I think people can tell I am really happy and there is no reason to change," he said. "But the therapist thinks I should have a more traditional relationship."
|'I Eat 900 Cat Treats a Day'|
Mary from Michigan has a dangerous habit. She eats cat food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and her doctor says it could kill her.
Experts say that cat food contains many ingredients that could be harmful to humans, including the body parts of dead animals.
"I can't see that it's harmful," said Mary, stroking her 17-year-old cat, one of three others. "One for you and one for Mama."
She eats 900 cat treats a day and said she loves the "crunchy" taste. "They are bursting with flavor," she said, estimating that she has popped more than one million morsels in her mouth so far.
Mary even eats the canned wet food, which she says tastes like chicken soup. In all, she eats about 1,500 pounds of feline food a year.
Her brother said Mary's habit is "gross," and a close friend, who had no idea she was hoarding cat food for herself, tells her she must get help.
She never eats people food and though she is unemployed, Mary spends $200 a month on cat food. Psychologists suspect that Mary's divorce five years ago may have triggered her addiction to cat food. But will she get help?
Sheyla, a 32-year-old from Houston, is addicted to her 38KKK breasts despite many health risks. She has spent nearly a quarter million dollars on 22 breast enlargement surgeries to achieve her gargantuan size.
She's even had ribs removed to fit her 14-pound implants on her size zero frame. Despite suffering a severe infection from recent implants, Sheyla continues to dream even bigger.
Will friends be able to stop her from going through with another potentially life threatening surgery?
Experts say her addiction stems from body dysmorphic disorder and a love of attention.
|Addicted to Tape|
Andrea from Marietta, Ga., has been addicted to eating adhesive tape for nine years. She goes through more than 200 feet of tape each day.
Doctors have warned the 23-year-old that her addiction may a cause blood infection or cancer.
|Digging Her Ears|
Jamie from Jacksonville, Fla., can't stop digging in her ears. For more than 12 hours every day, she scrapes her ear canal with scissors, nail files and other sharp objects until she bleeds.
Doctors have warned the 32-year-old that her addiction may cause her to lose her hearing.
|Snorting Baby Powder|
Jaye from Houston can't get enough baby powder. The white dust has settled over every surface in her house -- the floor, the refrigerator, the bed.
Some friends were so shocked, they thought she had an illegal drug habit.
Without her fix, the 18-year-old says, "I wouldn't be able to function."
The addiction began one day when she spilled powder and inhaled it by mistake. Over the last decade it escalated.
She loved the sensation and now instead of just sniffing the powder, Jaye shoves it up her nostrils 10 times a day.
She estimates her habit has grown to five ounces a day and as much as 1,800 pounds a year.