2 What is Pica? Pica can be classified as an eating disorder. It causes a person to develop an uncontrollable desire to eat substances that have little or no nutritive value in large amounts.Conditions for these actions to be considered pica:They must persist for more than one month at an age where eating such objects is considered developmentally inappropriate (some children eat non edible substances because of curiosity, but not craving)Not part of a cultural practice and severe enough to cause clinical attention.
3 What causes pica?A deficiency in iron, zinc, or another nutrient may lead to pica. The body will try to replace the low levels of nutrients through “food”.Mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia can develop pica to copePeople with eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa may attempt to ease hunger by eating nonfood substances to get a feeling of fullnessCultural factors — in families, religions, or groups in which eating nonfood substances is a learned practiceParental neglect, lack of supervision, or food deprivation — often seen in children living in povertyDevelopmental problems, such as mental retardation, autism, other developmental disabilities, or brain abnormalitiesPregnancy due to the increase in iron demand by the developing baby.
4 What do they eat?Some of the most common examples of items consumed itemsare:Starch (both laundry starch and corn starch)IceDirtClayPaper and woodWool/hair
5 How does pica affects the brain? The specific causes of pica are unknown, but certain conditions and situations can increase a person's risk:Nutritional deficiencies, such as iron or zinc, that may trigger specific cravings (however, the nonfood items craved usually don't supply the minerals lacking in the person's body)
6 Negative Effects of Pica Pica is a serious eating disorder that can result in severe health problems such as:Lead poisoningIntestinal blockagesParasitic infectionsChokingMalnutrition/StarvationInfectionDeath-if left untreated
7 How To Identify PicaThere is no specific test to decide whether someone has pica they can only:Test your blood for low levels of zinc or ironTest your blood for lead or arsenic poisoning
8 Treatment for Pica This may include Iron supplementation for Anemia Mental Health CounselingMedication to help with OCD or psychological disordersRemoval of items from the surroundings
9 PrognosisPrognosis success varies. In many cases, the disorder lasts several months, then disappears on its own. In some cases, it may continue into the teen years or adulthood, especially when it occurs with developmental disorders.
10 Sources http://www.healthline.com/health/pica#Causes Stump, Sylvia. "Neurological and Mental Conditions." Nutrition and diagnosis-related care. 6th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Print.