Eating Disorder Help
Teen Eating Disorder Facts
Causes of Teen Eating Disorders Eating Disorder Statistics Overview of Eating Disorders Athletes and Eating Disorders Myths About Eating Disorders Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse Distorted Body Image Thinspiration Fasting for Weight Loss Eating Disorders and the Media Anorexia Statistics What is Wannarexia? Eating Disorders and Genetics Psychological Effects of Eating Disorders
Teen Eating Disorder Help
Preventing Eating Disorders Treatment for Eating Disorders Warning Signs of Eating Disorders Teen Body Image Eating Disorder Quiz Body Dysmorphic Disorder Eating Disorder Support Groups Psychological Treatment for Eating Disorders Eating Disorder Clinics Residential Treatment for Eating Disorders Eating Disorder Association Eating Disorder Therapy Eating Disorder Forums Dialectical Behavior Therapy Talking to Teens and Tweens About Eating Disorders Fat-Talk Free Week Campaign
Teen Eating Disorders
Anorexia Nervosa Binge Eating Disorder Bulimia Nervosa Pica Eating Disorder Overeating Disorder Male Eating Disorders Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) Types of Eating Disorders Anorexia Athletica Orthorexia Drunkorexia
Signs of Eating Disorders
Pica Eating Disorder
Pica eating disorder involves eating of non-food items. This article has information on the types of non-food items people with pica eating disorder consume, some possible reasons for pica eating disorder, and tips on overcoming pica eating disorder.
One of the more interesting eating disorders out there is pica. The word “pica” comes from Latin. It is the word for magpie. A magpie is known for its indiscriminate appetite; it will eat nearly anything. Pica is an eating disorder in which someone will eat non-food items. While it is normal for young children to explore the world by putting things in their mouths, if the compulsion continues beyond the age of two or three, there could be a problem. Pica eating disorder is especially concerning in adolescents and adults. In some cases, depending on what is being eaten, pica can lead to iron-deficiency anemia and to lead poisoning.
Some of the non-food items that those with pica eating disorder might consume include:
The desire to eat these items amounts to a craving in many cases. And you can imagine how dangerous some of these items are. Some of the items, such as soap, detergent and other cleaners, can be dangerous in small amounts. Others require larger amounts to cause harm, but if a person is eating the items compulsively, it may not take long to reach lethal amounts of some of the non-food products.
Reasons for pica eating disorder
Experts have been unable to pinpoint a specific cause of pica. However, it is thought that there are some conditions that might contribute to the eating of non-food items. Some of the reasons given for pica eating disorder include:
Nutritional deficiencies: It is thought by some that pica might be triggered by the need for some mineral that a person is not getting. While this might be true in some cases, it is worth noting that what people usually resort to eating doesn’t actually supply the deficiency.
Dieting: There are those who are trying to lose weight. Instead of eating food items, which are absorbed into the system as calories, they choose non-food items that pass through the system. This way, they can feel full, but they do not gain weight. While this might not begin as a compulsion, continued practice may turn into pica eating disorder.
Developmental problems: Pica can actually be a sign of developmental problems, such as retardation, autism or some brain abnormality.
Culture: In some groups, the eating of non-food items is a regular practice. These cultural norms encourage pica, and can become compulsive.
Malnutrition: Those who do not have access to food may develop pica eating disorder. In order to avoid the feelings associated with starvation, pica may be an option. In developing nations, the eating of clay and soil is especially common.
Mental health problems: If someone has obsessive-compulsive disorder, or perhaps schizophrenia, it is possible that he or she might develop pica.
In the end, pica eating disorder remains largely a mystery. However, it does exist. Some of the symptoms of pica include the following:
Overcoming pica eating disorder
For the most part, pica is addressed by attempts at behavior modification. Psychologists may be able to help those with pica overcome their problems. The idea is to try various methods to substitute inappropriate non-food items with appropriate food items. In some cases, using gum or some other type of acceptable item for placement in the mouth, to distract from the desire to eat inappropriate items can be an effective way to help someone overcome pica eating disorder.
Like overcoming any disorder, it is important that someone suffering from pica have a solid support structure of friends and family that can aid in the development of appropriate behaviors and attempts to overcome inappropriate and sometimes harmful behaviors.
Related Article: Overview of Eating Disorders >>