Pica is the strange eating disorder that is quite unrelated to eating

Eating disorders govern human lives, some of them make us fat while the others make us skinny. However, one eating disorder is not concerned with the over or under eating of food but something quite different.

The Pica Disorder

child eating paint

Pica is an eating disorder wherein the sufferer experiences a very strong urge to eat items that have no nutritional value like dirt or paint. The items can be as harmless as ice cubes and as dangerous as metal pieces and dry paint flakes. When the patient suffers from severe Pica, he consumes harmful substances like lead and metal that could turn into lethal lead poisoning. Usually, children and pregnant women suffer from this disorder, and it is temporary and curable. If you yourself feel the urge to eat non-food items, or you find your child having such things, you can right away consult the doctor and cure it.

What causes Pica?

pregnant lady

As of now, no certain cause of Pica has been found, as multifarious reasons are responsible for it. Generally, malnourishment and dieting are two main reasons that give rise to this disorder. At times, it is iron’s deficiency, the other times it is zinc’s deficiency, and sometimes some other nutrient’s deficiency that leads to Pica. Whenever there is some deficiency in a human body, the body tries to make up for that deficiency through food but in this case, the food that people consume is harmful and has no nutritive value. Usually in pregnant women, iron deficiency is what causes Pica. In other patients, the unique craving for the taste and texture of non-food substances develops Pica disorder.

Symptoms of Pica

child eating mud

If a person or a child eats non-food substance once in a blue moon, then you cannot say he suffers from Pica. If the consumption is regular and continues without any fail for a minimum of one month then you can consider the possibility of the Pica disorder. Some of the substances a person suffering from Pica may show partiality to are soap, mud, ice, clay, hair, buttons, glass, ash, cigarette butts, chalk, wood, feces, and glue. All these items are harmful for human body and lead to serious health problems like intestinal blockages, lead poisoning, choking, and other infections.



Depending upon the severity of Pica disorder the first aid is given to avert health problems like lead poisoning and intestinal blocking. Then with the help of a psychiatrist, the actual reason behind this disorder is found out. If it is owing to malnutrition then nutrient based medication follows, if it is psychological then some psychiatric treatment is given to the patient.


Pica is a disorder wherein a patient feels a strange craving to have non-food substances that are harmful and have zero nutrition value.

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