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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Addiction to non food items

Chalky composed of kaolinite with traces of qu...Image via Wikipedia
Chalky composed of kaolinite with traces of quartz ingested by a patient with pica.
This condition is referred to as Pica, and it involves the inability to resist eating a wide variety of non food items. It is diagnosed only if it is determined that the sufferer is unable to stop eating non food items, usually after a month of continued eating. There are a wide variety of items that a person suffering from Pica will ingest.

Substances  include but are not limited to dirt, chalk,clay, feces, hair,detergent,laundry starch, fingernails, paint chips, cigarette butts, wire, burnt matches, animal excrement, string, erasers, needles, ice, lead, and rocks.

Pica is a rather common occurrence and does not always signify an ongoing problem as most people have gone through bouts of Pica symptomatic behavior at some point in their lives. In some instances it is a curiosity factor, and can be a subconscious behavior that can stem from hunger or boredom. Pica becomes a disorder that needs additional tests and treatment when the urge to consume dangerous items is compulsive and can not be stopped. Many times it can be a significant sign of a malnutrition that is going on in the sufferers body and blood tests to determine deficiencies may be in order. Many Pica sufferers have an iron deficiency.

There are a large number of those suffering from Pica that have a predisposition to the condition brought on by developmental abnormalities, living in economically depressed areas of the world, mental retardation and pervasive developmental disorders. The key thing to observe in any person feared to suffer from this condition is the amount of time they have been indulging in the behavior.

All those partaking in any addictive behavior should as a rule of thumb, seek medical treatment to rule out physical problems that may be underlying. Consuming even items that seem to be harmless can still have physically negative effects on the body, because non consumable items are often manufactured in warehouses that do not have to follow the same guidelines that food manufacturers do. Once blood tests are done, if no underlying medical conditions are present, it is a good idea to ask your medical professional to suggest  what appropriate therapy to seek out.
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