Did You Know: Pica

Mental illnesses/disorders are very interesting and can be scary. There are many mental illnesses out there and some are treatable while others are not. Some of them can be classified as anxiety disorders or coping strategies and one of the illnesses that can be classified as both is pica. Here are some facts about pica disorder:

-The name of this illness comes from the Latin word for “magpie”. Magpies are known for their ability to eat almost everything.

-Pica is defined as the consumption of non-food substances. Some of these items may include buttons, hair, glue, screws, dirt, paint, and feces. This behavior has to continue for a month for it to be classified as pica.

-Pica is categorized as an eating disorder, anxiety disorder, and coping strategy for stress or other mental illnesses. People who eat non-food items on a regular basis usually eat them to satisfy their craving for a particular texture or taste. Eating non-food substances gives those who eat them comfort and relief.

-This illness is caused by nutritional deficiencies, dieting, malnourishment, parental neglect, developmental/mental health issues, and pregnancy.

-This illness is most common in children, pregnant women, and people with schizophrenia and OCD. Most children and pregnant women get over their cravings within months on their own.

-Pica is treatable as long as it is caught early and the proper treatment is found. Sufferers of pica are commonly relieved of their symptoms after 1-2 months of treatment.

-Several forms of treatment for this mental and anxiety disorder are multivitamin supplements, medication, and aversion therapy which is praise for eating real food and consequences for eating non-food substances.

-The most famous case of pica was occurred in 1929. After a patient in the psychiatric ward of a hospital died, doctors found a total of 1,446 non-food items in his stomach. There were 453 nails, 148 seeds, 115 hair pins, 85 small stones, 63 buttons, and 42 small stones.

While pica is fairly uncommon, it is on the rise and there has been a 93% jump in hospitalization for sufferers of pica. If someone you know is suffering from pica, please assist them in getting help. This is a serious eating disorder if not treated and can cause serious damage to the body. In Colorado, the United States, and all over the world, there are many pediatricians, psychologists, and other doctors willing to help and treat pica.

This information is not meant to scare or worry anyone. It is here to inform you all about a mental/anxiety disorder that is serious and on the rise. So whether or not this information is new, now you know a few things about pica.

Did You Know: Pica

Did You Know: Pica