When a person craves or eats non food stuff it is called “Pica.”
Did you eat chalks, clay or ash in your childhood??
Maybe “yes!!” Most of us did this.
But at any time did you think about it? Why do people crave this?
Let’s understand this today.
What is Pica?
In Pica disorder people eat non nutrient food stuff; some of them may be harmful, some not. If a person continues this behaviour for more than a month, it is diagnosed as Pica disorder.
They may eat ice, chalk, clay, dust, ash, cigarette remainder, paint, hair, paper, soap.
What are the causes?
- Iron or zinc deficiency may be one of the reasons.
- Low nutrient level or dieting may lead to Pica.
- Mental health conditions like Schizophrenia or OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) may eat non-food items as a coping mechanism.
- Some people may enjoy a texture or crave for the flavour of non food stuff and they start consuming it.
How is it diagnosed?
Clinical history plays a vital role in it. If you tell the truth to your doctor about what you are eating and the time period. It helps them to diagnose it properly.
Your doctor may carry out some blood tests to find nutritional deficiencies.
What is a treatment?
If nutritional deficiency is a cause, your doctor may prescribe you some supplements to fulfill the requirement.
If there is any complication like lead poisoning by consuming paint, your doctor may treat you for that first to remove toxic from your body.
Your doctor may advise to seek help from a psychiatrist if he found the cause of Pica is related to any mental health disorder.
What are the complications?
- Eating stuff like paint may cause lead poisoning.
- Intestinal blockage – These non food stuff not absorbed by other food stuff in the body and they can stay in the intestine leads to the blockage.
- Choking – Some stuff may get stuck into the throat and cause choking.
- In children and pregnant women Pica is due to nutritional deficiency. It may go within a few months after regulating nutrient level.
- In some cases it won’t go for many years.
- Consult your doctor to find the cause and appropriate treatment.
- Your mindset and willpower play a vital role in keeping yourself away from these things.
- Don’t be shy to share with your family members or loved ones. Most of the time talking with someone solves many problems.