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.
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.
What type of mental disorder is pica?
Pica is an eating disorder in which people compulsively eat one or more nonfood items, such as ice, clay, paper, ash, or dirt. Pagophagia is a subtype of pica. It involves compulsively eating ice, snow, or ice water. People with pica aren’t compelled to eat ice because of a physical disorder like anemia.
What is pica comorbid with?
Pica is observed most frequently in children and may last to adolescence. It is most common in individuals with developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID). Less frequently, pica is comorbid with schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
What are the 3 types of pica?
Some of the most commonly described types of pica are eating earth, soil, or clay (geophagia); ice (pagophagia); and starch (amylophagia).
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.
What causes pica behavior?
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.
Is pica a form 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.
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.
Who is most likely to develop pica?
Pica can happen to anyone at any age but tends to happen in three specific groups of people: Young children, especially those under 6 years old. People who are pregnant. People with certain mental health conditions, especially autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities or 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.
Is pica a genetic disorder?
Pica may also be explained by an organic hypothesis whereby the presence of a genetic disorder, such as Prader-Willi syndrome (a disorder characterized by hyperphagia), increases the risk of ingesting nonfood substances.
Why do I crave ashes?
Pica is the term used to describe having an intense craving for – and eating – nonfood items, such as soil, clay, laundry starch, ice, ashes, plaster, paint chips, and coffee grounds.
Is pica a symptom of schizophrenia?
Although pica is commonly associated with nutritional deficiencies, it is also observed in psychiatric disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and less commonly in schizophrenia.
What is it called when a child eats everything?
By definition, pica involves the regular consumption of anything that isn’t a food or beverage. (The word is derived from the Latin for “magpie”—a bird with a large and indiscriminate appetite.) A child may eat dirt (a subset of pica known as geophagy), as well as substances such as: Clay.
What do people with pica eat?
- paint chips.
Can PTSD cause pica?
However, there is a strong correlation between pica and other mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and the experience of trauma.
Is eating paper a disorder?
Xylophagia is a condition involving the consumption of paper and form of eating disorder known as pica. Pica is an unusual craving for ingestion of either edible or inedible substances.
What body system does pica affect?
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 can I help someone with pica?
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.
Why do I chew on paper?
Xylophagia is a condition that makes people want to ingest paper. It is one of the many forms of pica, an eating disorder that results in an appetite for non-food items that can range from clay, to dirt, to chalk, to rocks, and even couches. Pica is believed to be common in children and pregnant women.
What are the complications of pica?
When Pica is long term it can result in bowel obstruction, bezoars, and even toxicity. Ingestion of dirt and paint can lead to infections and heavy metal toxicity. Many reports exist of people who have had to undergo surgery to relieve bowel obstruction, perforation, and ulcers.
How many people in the world have pica?
There are some studies from the United States that shed light on pica prevalence: 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.
Is pica associated with ADHD?
It can be associated to different psychiatric disorders like dyslexia, depression or conduct disorders. But ADHD and pica comorbidity was rarely described in the literature before. Only two cases were reported (5, 6). There has been no suggested link between pica and ADHD.
What are signs of pica?
- Pain or abdominal cramping in the stomach.
- Behavior problems.
- School problems.