Nowadays, there are numerous eating disorders and pica is one of them. Pica is a type of disorder where the victim will start eating materials that arent actually food. The cause of this strange disorder is unknown, but it was first mentioned in a medical book in about 1563. There are a lot of conditions that will increase the chance of getting pica. These include : pregnancy, mental health conditions, dieting, food deprivation (often children in poverty) and also a few other conditions. Symptoms of pica victims include people who eat clay, dirt, hairballs, paint, chalk, toothpaste, glue, soap, sand etc.
(non-food) for over a month. Result shows that pica is more popular among younger children than adults, with about age 1-6 year old children, there are 10% to about 32% of children who have pica. According to Kids Health, pica is also more popular in countries that are undeveloped, where people usually eat clay and dirt. This horrible eating disorder usually occurs in children and pregnant women, but sometimes appear among people with learning disabilities and people in psychiatric care or people with autism.
According to Professor OBrien from Northumberland University says that 1%-2% of people with learning disabilities, about 60% of people who suffer from autism and 25% of people in psychiatric care and also happens to have serious pica problems. Unfortunately, this eating disorder can happen to anyone from any nationality. He also explains that there are two different types of pica. The first one is non-food pica, which is about people who can eat anything, and the other is food pica where people eat edible things but at inappropriate times (like when theyre full).
Mostly, pica occurs in Kenya, Africa, India, Australia, Canada etc. Uganda even allows people to purchase soil for eating! This horrible eating disorder has impacted upon our human society tremendously. Thanks to this eating disorder, it has caused a lot of cases of lead poisoning, and also eating some in-edible food has caused some of the poor victims to receive highly toxic poison. More and more money are spent on curing this disorder, which has also impacted the economics side.
There are a few culture that believe eating soil or clay or other in-edible things will help them improve their bodies or promote luck. Although there are only a few of these cultures, they still exist. Eating in-edible food will largely increase the chances of getting poisoning. But the good thing is that, the government are spending money on raising awareness and providing education for children about this symptom, since it was a matter that needed to discussed and prevented, it had forced the government into giving talks about it, which is actually a good thing.
Fortunately, there is treatment for this horrible eating disorder, but there are different solutions for different types or causes of pica. There are also social workers and foundations that help provide assistance to children who have symptoms of pica. An example is the Challenging Behaviour Foundation founded by Vivien Cooper to help parents who have children suffering from pica learn and how to support their children.
A way of helping to treat pica is to wear equipments like mouth guards to protect yourself in order to prevent inserting different objects into your mouth. Tending to missing nutrients also help treating pica. Another way to reduce pica is through medication (for example mild aversion therapy). However, although some people may recover from this therapy, there are also some side effects and failures. Patients can experience a large amount of anxiety and some have gone aggressive and they might also experience a bit of stress.