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HEALTH

Children fall prey to stress, inedible things
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Insecurity, constant fear and surmounting pressures. Undone by the inability to adjust to the increasing stress levels, city youngsters have taken to a new task — finding recourse in ink, wall plaster, mud, cement, paper and even hair.

When children as young as five to eight year old are hooked to such inedible substances, those really worried are the parents, who are boggled by the unusual eating habits of their children.

“My nine-year-old son has developed this peculiar habit of licking ink and sucking pencil lead. Scolding and reprimanding does not help at all. All I am worried is the detrimental affect of all these things on his health,” said the mother of the boy at the PGI.

Meanwhile, experts consider them the signs of emotional turmoil which could have larger ramifications when the children step into adulthood.

“At our clinic we get cases where some children even eat hair to the extent that they go bald or the hair go missing in patches.

Initially the parents consider it a dermatology problem or some kind of physical weakness. But only when the cases are referred to us from other departments that the real problem is discovered, i.e. the child’s psychology,” says Dr Adarsh Kohli, associate professor and clinical psychologist at the PGI.

Agreeing that the levels of stress are increasing, doctors, however, admit that some parents are also reluctant to take their child to a psychiatric or psychologist, failing 
to understand the larger consequences of such habits. “Children, especially those who do not get adequate attention from their parents, are more likely to develop such habits. While on one hand these compulsive habits can cause intestinal complications or gaestro problems, such children can later on even develop some neuro problem,” said another senior 
doctor.

Nervous children who are relatively less communicative than others too fall in the trap of inedible eating. Among the teenagers, the signs could be nail biting, collar sucking and lip chewing.

“We have observed the habit of eating inedible substances in children who are less than one year. These habits can have detrimental affect in those cases where the consumption crosses the limit,” says Dr B.S. Chavan, Head of Department of Psychiatry, at the GMCH, Sector 32.

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27 municipal employees found absent from duty
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 6
The Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, who visited the local Municipal Council office here today found 27 employees absent from duty.

Mrs Sarojini Gautam Sharda, checked the attendance of the employees and found a number of them absent, including two tubewell operators. She even found that proper chlorination of water was not being done at a tubewell. It is learnt that she checked the octroi record register and found that no fines had been levied for octroi evasion after June 28.

The Deputy Director had visited the town on getting complaints from residents regarding insanitation, poor upkeep of roads and unsatisfactory supply of water.

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