"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Pica (eating disorder): treatments, causes, symptoms

Pica is the persistent ingestion of gear corresponding to dirt or paint that haven’t any dietary value.

The Handbook of clinical child psychology currently estimates that prevalence rates of pica within the institutionalized population range from 4 to 26%. Research in non-institutionalized populations takes the shape of individual case studies, making estimation of prevalence rates difficult.

If pica is suspected, a medical examination is essential to find out possible anemia, intestinal blockages, or possible toxicity from ingested substances. If symptoms are present, the doctor will begin the assessment by conducting a whole medical history and physical examination. The doctor may perform certain tests, corresponding to X-rays and blood tests, to envision for anemia, check for toxins and other substances within the blood, and check the intestines for blockages. The doctor may test for possible infections attributable to eating food contaminated with bacteria or other organisms. A review of the person's eating habits could also be carried out.

Before a diagnosis of pica is made, the doctor checks for the presence of other disorders – corresponding to an mental disability, a developmental disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder – because the reason for the strange eating behavior. This pattern of behavior must proceed for at the very least a month for a diagnosis of pica to be made.

Given the danger of medical complications related to pica (e.g., lead poisoning), close medical supervision is required throughout treatment of the eating behavior. Additionally, working closely with a mental health team that makes a speciality of the treatment of pica is good for optimal management of those complex cases.

The Handbook of clinical child psychology Currently, general behavioral strategies are supported as probably the most effective treatment approach for pica, with education about which foods are edible and which shouldn’t be eaten through the usage of positive reinforcement.

There are many possible complications of pica, corresponding to:

  • Certain items, corresponding to Items corresponding to paint chips may contain lead or other toxic substances and consumption of this stuff may end in poisoning, increasing the kid's risk of complications corresponding to learning difficulties and brain damage. This is probably the most worrisome and potentially fatal side effect of pica
  • Eating non-food items can interfere with maintaining a healthy diet foods and result in dietary deficiencies.
  • Consuming indigestible items corresponding to stones could cause constipation or blockages within the digestive tract, including the intestines and intestines. Hard or sharp objects (e.g. paper clips or metal scraps) may cause tears within the esophageal or intestinal lining.
  • Bacteria or parasites from dirt or other objects could cause serious infections. Some infections can damage the kidneys or liver.
  • Concomitant developmental disorders can complicate treatment.

Pica normally begins in childhood and typically only lasts a number of months. However, it could be harder to deal with children with developmental disabilities.

There isn’t any specific option to prevent pica. However, careful attention to eating habits and shut monitoring of kids who’re known to place things of their mouths might help detect the disorder before complications can arise.