Addicted to coca cola: Kathy O’Sullivan drinks six litres of coke a day … story in the SUNDAY MIRROR…
Kathy, a mum of three is worried her fizzy drink addiction will kill her…
Breaking out in a shaking sweat Kathy O’Sullivan is in agony –until she grabs the drink her body craves.
But the mum of three isn’t an alcoholic. Instead Kathy, 41, is battling a bizarre addiction – to coca cola.
Kathy came to Featureworld to get her story into a newspaper because she wants to raise awareness of her coca cola addiction. For Kathy it wasn’t about selling a story, she hopes talking publicly will not only help her overcome her addiction, but also help others.
Incredibly the call centre worker guzzles six litres of the fizzy drink every day – a total of 2400 calories a day containing 163 teaspoons of sugar.
Her 42 litre a week coca cola addiction habit has led her to lose three teeth and has left her so anaemic she has needed three blood transfusions.
But although Kathy, who was born with only one kidney, fears her addiction could kill her she is unable to stop.
Desperate Kathy said: ‘I have tried to stop and go cold turkey. But within hours I am getting cold sweats and shaking.
‘My addiction is shocking and it is ruining my life. I drink six litres every day and always have a bottle with me.’
The divorcee from Portsmouth is speaking out following the admission by former dancer and Brookside actress Jennifer Ellison who told how she needed urgent treatment for crippling headaches after giving up an eight a day coca cola can habit on ITV ‘s Sugar Free Farm.
Kathy said: ‘Coca cola addiction is just not taken seriously enough by doctors. People have no idea just how dangerous such an addiction is. I want to warn people how a coca cola habit can creep up on you and how it can take over your life.’
Kathy, who has three children – Tiffany, 21, Tiegan, 18 and Tyler, 13 – began drinking coca cola when she was just 13 years old. But she didn’t realise just how dangerous her coca cola consumption was until she was pregnant with her youngest child.
‘I was severely anaemic and my midwife said it was because I was drinking coco cola instead of eating properly.
‘Then shortly after my son’s birth I was investigated for stomach cramps and found out I had been born with only one kidney. Doctors were horrified at the amount of coca cola I drank as it was putting a strain on my remaining kidney and causing infections.’
Despite the warnings about the risk to her health Kathy continued drinking coca cola – which now costs her around £2000 a year.
Each 1litre bottle of coca cola contains 400 calories and around 27 teaspoons of sugar. The recommended amount of calories a day for a woman is 2000 calories and the World Health Organisation says the amount of added sugar an average woman should consume is less than six teaspoons a day.
Kathy says: “Over the years I have collapsed where I am so anaemic and have had three blood transfusions. I know I don’t eat properly. While I am continually burping because I am so full of gas, I just don’t feel hungry. The problem is all the calories in the coca cola fills me up.
‘I am a normal weight – around 9 stones – but my diet is terrible. I have to force myself to eat because I fill myself up with fizzy drink all the time. And while you might imagine all that sugar gives me lots of energy I feel permanently drained and tired.’
Meanwhile, she has needed to have three teeth extracted because the high sugar content has rotted them away. ‘My dentist says my teeth are badly discoloured and the enamel is eroded by all the sugar. He says if I can’t stop I need to drink coke through a straw but I just don’t enjoy drinking it that way.’
Kathy has tried swapping ordinary coca cola for a diet version. ‘But it isn’t a substitute. I don’t like the taste and I miss the sugar rush of regular coke.’
She has also visited her GP ‘numerous times.’
She recalls: ‘My GP gave me some caffeine tablets but they made no difference at all. Other advice to cut down and replace my fizzy drinks with water is just impossible.
‘If I were a drug addict or alcoholic I would be getting proper help and support but drinking so much coke just doesn’t seem to be seen as a proper addiction. There is just doesn’t seem to be any help available on the NHS.’
She adds: ‘Luckily my children don’t drink coke – I think I have put them off. But many people see it as funny rather than serious.
‘For example at work everyone laughs because I always have a bottle of coke at my side.’
As a last resort Kathy is now about to undergo hypnosis. ‘I am just praying it will work,’ she says, ‘but meanwhile I want to raise awareness of this nightmare. I am terrified my coke addiction will eventually kill me. And I want others to be aware how quickly this sort of habit can ruin your life.’
Do you have an unusual addiction? If you would like to raise awareness for an addiction I can give you free advice on gaining publicity. Simply contact me with a few details using the online sell my story form to the right of this page…