Have you been told you have a pica eating disorder? What is pica, and what does it mean for your health? This is a condition that is often misunderstood, but it can be treatable with help. Pica occurs when a person compulsively eats something that does not have any nutritional value. It’s eating items that are not food. If you’ve struggled with this condition, our team at Red Oak Recovery may be able to offer help. Contact our team today at 866.457.7590 for more information about our treatment programs.
What Is Pica?
A person with pica is likely to eat things that are not food, though they are typically harmless overall. This may be eating things like ice. However, some people can consume dangerous items, including metal, glass, dried paint, chalk, or other substances that could carry chemicals in them. In some situations, this can lead to complications like lead poisoning.
Experts don’t understand why pica occurs yet. However, it often happens in children as well as pregnant women. Usually, a person engages in a pica eating disorder for a short time but may do so intermittently over their lifetime. The goal of treatment is to stop the risk of consuming items capable of creating significant side effects.
Typical pica eating disorder consumption may include:
- Cigarettes or the ashes from them
- Dirt, sand, or clay
What Causes Pica Eating Disorder?
There is a range of theories about why pica occurs. There is some evidence that suggests an iron or zinc deficiency will unconsciously lead a person to consume substances. Other times, it may be due to cravings from the body due to low nutrient levels. Some people have severe mental health disorders that can cause this condition, such as schizophrenia.
Some seek out the texture. Others do so out of a nervous habit. Some people may also turn to nonfood items because they lack something to eat.
How Is Pica Treated?
The simple answer is to stop consuming these nonfood items. Yet, because this is a behavioral complication related to an underlying mental health condition, there’s more to it. If there is a threat to health, aggressive measures may be necessary to stop a person from consuming these items. That may include monitoring and rehab. Other times, the best treatment is to explore nutrient deficiencies and replenish them. Sometimes, just using a multivitamin consistently may be enough to achieve this goal.
A psychological evaluation may also be helpful for some people. This assessment may determine there is an underlying mental health disorder that requires medication and therapy. This may lead to the need for therapy, including individual therapy sessions. Many people can see significant improvement in the symptoms of their mental health disorder like this.
Finding the Right Support for Your Situation
If you’re unsure about whether you need treatment for pica, reach out to a treatment program to determine what may be happening to you. An assessment can help determine if there are physical or mental health causes of this condition and give you the tools you need to overcome them. Our team at Red Oak Recovery offers help through programs such as:
Call Red Oak Recovery Now
Pica isn’t harmless, but it is treatable. What is pica doing to your health and mental wellbeing? A pica eating disorder may be holding you back now or be the hidden secret you don’t want to talk about with anyone. Yet, treatment can help you feel better and work through your underlying mental health complications. Our team at Red Oak Recovery offers the support you need. Call us at 866.457.7590 or connect with us online for support.