Pica is a kind of eating disorder that causes people to eat things that are not really food. At a pica treatment center, individuals can undergo tests and get a diagnosis. Through the pica disorder treatment center North Carolina residents need, clients can take the first step in combating their disorder.
What Is Pica?
Pica is a condition that involves eating non-food items like dirt, hair, ice or paint chips. To get a diagnosis, someone must persistently eat non-food items for at least a month. Depending on the individual’s age and other factors, the kinds of substances they eat can vary greatly. The individual may try to eat soap, wool, charcoal, clay, ash, hair, chalk, paper, cloth, starch, ice, metal or dirt.
This diagnosis does not generally apply to children under the age of two. For very young children, putting objects in the mouth is actually a stage of development that allows the child to explore their senses. If the child is over the age of two, this behavior is not normal or healthy.
Currently, there is no way to test for pica in a laboratory. Instead, the pica treatment center will look at the client’s clinical history. They may also look for problems like intestinal blockages and anemia. If the item is toxic like paint, they may look for the side effects such as like lead or parasites.
Scientists do not know how many people have pica. The condition can affect people of any age or gender. Sometimes, pica occurs at the same time as other mental disorders like excoriation or an intellectual disability.
What Causes Pica?
As clients will learn at their pica treatment center, scientists have found a connection between this condition and other disorders. Malnutrition and iron-deficiency anemia are the two leading causes of pica. It seems like pica is often an indication that the body lacks the right nutrient and needs to correct for it. In these cases, taking vitamins or medications to fix the deficiency will cure pica.
In other cases, pica seems to occur at the same time as other mental health disorders. These disorders are generally linked to impaired functioning. For example, individuals with autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia are more likely to develop pica.
At an eating disorder treatment center, a medical professional will decide if the behavior is severe enough to get a diagnosis. Sometimes, people may eat non-food items because of conditions like pregnancy. If their eating behavior is not severe enough, they may not require clinical care.
Getting Help Through a Pica Treatment Center
With the help of the pica disorder treatment center North Carolina residents need, clients can finally start their recovery process. The initial stage of care at a pica treatment center is to test for nutrient and mineral deficiencies. If there is a deficiency, doctors will correct it before doing anything else. Often, the symptoms of pica will disappear once doctors treat the deficiency.
If the behavior does not go away, there are other possible interventions. Different kinds of therapy can help people recover from pica. Scientists use specific kinds of treatments for people with autism to redirect their attention away from the non-food item.
At a treatment center, clients can get care through options such as:
- Trauma therapy
- Gender-specific programs
- Hybrid programs with wilderness and clinical therapies
- Dual diagnosis care
- Psychiatric, physical, clinical and nutritional evaluations
If you or a loved one suffers from pica, a pica treatment center can help. Through the right treatment program, you can discover the cause of your condition and the best way to care for it. Find help for pica and other conditions today by calling Red Oak Recovery® at 866.457.7590.