Pica is an eating disorder characterized by a pattern of eating non-food items such as:
Pica affects children more often than adults, with 10 to 32 percent of kids ages 1 to 6 displaying these behaviors. Pregnant women are also at greater risk of developing pica.
What Causes Pica?
Pica may be caused by nutritional deficiencies (such as a lack of iron or zinc) or malnourishment, though scientists are still uncertain of the exact cause. Other possible causes include:
The Effects of Pica
Pica should never be ignored. Ingesting materials that were not intended as food can lead to serious medical issues such as:
While some people struggle with pica for several months and then stop showing signs of the disorder, others struggle well into adolescence and adulthood and require treatment to overcome this dangerous eating behavior. Treatment for pica typically includes:
|« Back to Eating Disorders Page|
Request Confidential Assessment
Fill out the form below to receive an assessment from one of our qualified addiction specialists.