Pica is an eating disorder in which a person eats things not usually considered food. Young kids often put non-food items (like grass or toys) in their mouths because they’re curious about the world around them. But kids with pica (PIE-kuh) go beyond that. Sometimes they eat things that can lead to health problems.
What are the 3 types of pica?
Pica in humans has many different subgroups, defined by the substance that is ingested. Some of the most commonly described types of pica are eating earth, soil, or clay (geophagia); ice (pagophagia); and starch (amylophagia).
What is an example of pica?
Pica is a compulsive eating disorder in which people eat nonfood items. Dirt, clay, and flaking paint are the most common items eaten. Less common items include glue, hair, cigarette ashes, and feces. The disorder is more common in children, affecting 10% to 30% of young children ages 1 to 6.
What are the main causes of pica?
Iron-deficiency anemia and malnutrition are two of the most common causes of pica, followed by pregnancy. In these individuals, pica is a sign that the body is trying to correct a significant nutrient deficiency. Treating this deficiency with medication or vitamins often resolves the problems.
How does pica affect the body?
Eating non-food objects can interfere with eating healthy food, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Eating objects that cannot be digested, such as stones, can cause constipation or blockages in the digestive tract, including the intestines and bowels.
How do you get pica?
What causes pica? There’s no single cause of pica. In some cases, a deficiency in iron, zinc, or another nutrient may be associated with pica. For example, anemia, usually from iron deficiency, may be the underlying cause of pica in pregnant women.
What are signs of pica?
- Baby or talcum powder.
- Clay, dirt or soil.
- Coffee grounds.
- Feces (poop) of any kind.
Is pica an emotional disorder?
Pica has been linked to other mental and emotional disorders. Stressors such as emotional trauma, maternal deprivation, family issues, parental neglect, pregnancy, and a disorganized family structure are risk factors for pica.
How does pica affect the brain?
Individuals with pica often have mental health disorders that result in impaired functioning. These disorders include developmental disabilities, brain damage, autism spectrum disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia.
How can I satisfy pica cravings?
- Clay/earth eating i.e. geophagy: Red raspberry leaf tea, iron-rich food like black channa, seaweeds and seafood.
- Laundry starch (pagophagy): Ice and frozen fruit pops.
- Chalk: Calcium tablets and iron-rich fruits, dried berries.
How common is pica in adults?
At an outpatient weight loss clinic, pica was present in 4% of men and women. 27.8–68% of pregnant women experience pica. Pica is present in 18.5% of children. Pica is present in 10% of children older than age 12.
At what age can pica be diagnosed?
Pica disorder is a condition that causes adults and children to eat items other than food, such as paint chips, dirt, paper, or hair. Pica in toddlers is common, with up to a third of kids ages 1 to 6 affected (though it is not diagnosed in those under age 2).
Does pica cause weight gain?
Complications Associated With Pica Disorder Because the consumption of non-nutritive substances can overtake the desire to eat foods that support normal health, growth, and development, pica can lead to overall malnutrition, unintended weight loss.
Is pica a form of OCD?
Response of pica and other eating disorders as well as OCD to SSRIs implies that the serotonin system dysfunction was the underlying mechanism in these disorders. As a result this case is supportive data that pica can be a disorder in OCD spectrum.
Is pica part of autism?
Pica, or the eating of non-food items, was commonly seen in young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other types of developmental disabilities in which the child had some autism symptoms, intellectual disability (ID), or both.
Can adults have pica?
Although it is a compulsive behavior, most adults with a pica do not have a psychologic disorder. The pica is usually a manifestation of an underlying medical condition, most often iron deficiency anemia. Yet compulsive eating, especially of inedible objects, can be a source of considerable embarrassment or ridicule.
How do I know if my child has pica?
Your child regularly consumes non-food materials, even when you try to restrict access to them. The behavior is persistent and lasts longer than one month. The behavior is inappropriate for your child’s age or developmental stage (he or she is older than 18 to 24 months).
Is eating ice considered pica?
Doctors use the term “pica” to describe craving and chewing substances that have no nutritional value — such as ice, clay, soil or paper. Craving and chewing ice (pagophagia) is often associated with iron deficiency, with or without anemia, although the reason is unclear.
Is pica a neurological disorder?
Pica etiology is related to gastrointestinal distress, micronutrient deficiency, neurological conditions, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Currently there are no clinical guidelines for situations regarding pica and cases in clinical institutions often go unreported.
When was pica first diagnosed?
Pica is an unusual craving for and ingestion of either edible or inedible substances. The condition has been described in medical journals for centuries [1–3]. One of the first cases of pica was noted in 6th century AD and was observed in a pregnant woman .
What does Pagophagia mean?
Pagophagia (compulsive ice chewing) is a particular form of pica that is characterized by ingestion of ice, freezer frost, or iced drinks. It is usually associated with iron deficiency anemia or mental abnormalities like intellectual disabilities, autism, etc.
How is pica treated?
Treating pica involves behaviors, the environment, and family education. One form of treatment associates the pica behavior with negative consequences or punishment (mild aversion therapy). Then the person gets rewarded for eating normal foods.
Which mental disorder has the highest mortality rate?
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a common eating disorder with the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric diseases.
How can I help my child with pica?
Recommended pica strategies Tell others (school, GP, health professionals) about pica. Request support, for example from learning disability/autism or mental health services. Provide safe alternatives to chew/bite and eat. Distract away from pica and increase engagement in other activities.
What causes pica in autism?
The most common cause is sensory feedback (also called automatic reinforcement). These children eat non-food items to get a pleasurable or enjoyable feeling. Some children have difficulty telling food from non-food items.