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Question:

I have a friend who picks his nose and eats what he finds there. He doesn’t know that I have seen him do this. I have seen this several times. He is an adult. What could cause this kind of behavior in an adult. Otherwise he is very clean and well mannered. Thanks for your answer.

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Answer:

Your friend’s behavior may be disgusting but it is not necessarily grounds for a mental disorder. Many normal healthy adult people pick their noses, albeit most of the time in private. Although eating the result (in private) is certainly an extreme variation, it in of itself does not necessarily indicate anything more askew than the standard range of eccentricities to be had in the general population. I would not be concerned that there was anything seriously wrong with your friend (other than a failure of manners) so long as he distinguishes between public and private venues and reserves his ‘snacks’ for what he believes are private occasions. I would be much more concerned if he began indiscriminately picking and eating in public as this would suggest a much more serious loss of self-monitoring activity such as might be found in a dementia.

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