Pica Eating Disorder
Pica disorder is an eating disorder where people have an appetite for non-nutritive, inedible materials and become addicted to eating items such as clay, nail polish, drywall, light bulbs and much more. This disorder causes victims to eat unimaginable things and causes many medical problems in the process. Some doctors believe that this disorder is just complication of the mental psyche, but there is more underlying issues that cause this disorder.
The items eaten by affected people can widely vary from paper, chalk, clay, and detergents to plants, soil, hair, insects, and wood. The different eating preferences have been given specific names to describe them. For instance, xylophagia refers to a subtype of the condition in which affected individuals like eating wood, trichophagia describes preference to hair or wool, and geophagia refers to a preference for soil or clay.
Although ferrous sulfate is often recommended to treat iron deficiency, frequent problems with the drug including gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating and other distress, make it unacceptable to many patients. Ferrous gluconate, which is roughly equivalent in cost, produces fewer problems and is preferable as the initial treatment of iron deficiency. Ascorbic acid supplementation enhances iron absorption. The parent and the child should be asked to make a diary or a daily log of the times when he or she chews on non-food items and when he/she does not. They should also be asked to write down anything that they think is important about each particular instance of pica behavior (Johnson CD, 2007).
Hence, more people can be protected from the harmful side effects of this condition, and set off on the path to healing.
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Johnson CD, Shynett B, Dosch R, Paulson R. An unusual case of tooth loss, abrasion, and erosion associated with a culturally accepted habit. Gen Dent. 2007;55:445–8.
Johnson CD, Koh SH, Shynett B, Koh J, Johnson C. An uncommon dental presentation during pregnancy resulting from multiple eating disorders: Pica and bulimia: Case report. Gen Dent. 2006