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Brain Physics » Treatment » Compulsive chewing in traumatic brain injury

Compulsive chewing in traumatic brain injury

Submitted by addiefields Tue 07/27/2010

My adult daughter, severe TBI for 10 years, has started chewing everything for about a year now. It seems to comfort her but all her shirts, sheets, etc., are in rags. Sometimes she will chew bubble gum and not her clothes, etc. Sometimes she won't...I don't know what to do about this behaviour. It probably wouldn't bother me so much if I didn't have to buy new shirts all the time and she gets herself soaking wet. Can wear nothing with buttons, zippers as they all disappear...Everything goes in her there anyone out there that knows of any way I can distract her or some therapy to get her to stop this? Thanks for any suggestions.

I am sorry to hear about your daughter's brain injury. The brain is very complex and still not completely understood, so brain injuries can sometimes lead to problems with no known diagnosis or treatment. In your daughters case however her behavior does sound somewhat akin to an impulse control disorder similar to that of those who suffer from trichotillomania, tourettes or compulsive nail biting. These body focused repetitive behaviors are successfully addressed via cognitive behavioral therapy which helps to divert the person from the repetitive acts. This is a treatment option you could consider. So, you could seek a psychologist who specializes in one of those disorders.

That being said, your first step should be to seek a good neurologist if you have not already done so. Before doing anything else or seeking a treatment for a similar known disorder, you should ask a neurologist for a treatment recommendation.

Best of luck,
Dr. Williams

Monnica T. Williams, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology
No Cost OCD Treatment:

Thanks, Dr. Williams, I appreciate your comments.

We do have a neurologist, but unfortunately, in post Katrina New Orleans, they are all pretty thinned out and many are not familiar with her extreme TBI or up on current therapies/ much as I would love to have Sarah in all types of therapy,we are in very much the same situation as thousands of others of families: my ex-husband and I have pooled our resources in order that I can work out of the home with his support to keep Sarah here with me instead of in an institution. The severity of her injury and slow progress of visible rehabilitation caused LA Medicaid to cease any approvals for o/t, p/t or speech therapies years ago. Of course she is uninsurable now that she's aged out and the cost is just too high for us to pay for therapies on our own. But I will seek behavior modifications we can practice here at home. thanks again

hi my name jane and i am suffer with ocd depression and feel like i cant get out and get feelins want r not even there i have been like this 4 nearly 2 years and would like 2 no if there is any brain op 2 get rid of it all i have try meds but cant seem 2 get over my illness


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