As a mother of a son who is diagnosed with PICA, I am always researching information about the challenging eating disorder. The sad realization that I have found is that there are just not a lot of resources or support for PICA. When I tell someone that he has PICA, most people have no idea what I am talking about.
For our family, PICA is a daily challenge because it means that we have to watch our 4 year old very closely. Any chance he gets, he eats paper, toilet paper and sponges. He will also eating cotton filling from stuffed animals and foam toys or balls. At Christmas and Birthdays I have to constantly remind friends and family not to buy certain types of toys, and to make sure there are no choking hazards. This also means that his siblings, cannot have those toys as well.
Earlier this week, I cleaned out the boys toy bins to get rid of broken toys and what not. I discovered that almost 20 hot wheels where chewed to death. This is a scary thought for me, because chances are the paint is toxic. I guess this means that I will have to start being a little stricter on the toys we choose and their safety regulations.
What is PICA?
PICA is an eating disorder, classified by the craving or fascination of eating non-food items such as paper, dirt, soap, etc.
There is no known cause of the disorder but there are several risk factors that are belived to contribute such as stress, pregnancy, developmental disorders, epilepsy, and brain damage.
There is no solid treatment plan for PICA. Occupational Therapy may aide in reinforcing the difference between edible food and non edible items. If it seems to be a chewing need for stimulation, provide gum or a teether. Special Diets are sometimes tried. Behavioral Therapy can be helpful in teaching impulse control.
There are several complications associated with PICA. Individuals with PICA should get their blood levels checked frequently to monitor lead levels. PICA can also lead to problems like malnutrition, intestinal obstruction, infection, and constipation.
- Teen Eating Disorders
- I have Pica Syndrome
- I have strange eating habits
- The alliance for eating disorders,
- I feel out of control
- Pica Facebook Page
- Friends of Pica
Do you know anyone affected by PICA?