Have you ever seen people, kids especially, eating chalk, dirt, soap, and other non-edible items? Do you also do that? In that case, you might be experiencing pica disorder. While many people don’t pay heed to it, it’s a disorder that needs attention.
There are several signs and causes of the disorder that you need to know before you move to its treatment method. Here we have explained signs, causes, treatment, and much more to help you understand the condition. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Pica is a condition primarily affecting pregnant individuals and children, leading them to experience an intense urge to consume non-food substances. These items may pose a danger to their health and safety. People with pica disorder compulsively ingest objects that lack nutritional value, ranging from relatively harmless items like ice to potentially hazardous materials such as flakes of dried paint or metal pieces.
Engaging in the latter behavior can have severe consequences, including the risk of lead poisoning. Although this disorder is most commonly observed in children and pregnant women, it is typically temporary. If you or your child find it challenging to resist consuming non-food items, it is crucial to consult a doctor immediately. Seeking treatment can assist in avoiding potentially serious side effects.
Furthermore, individuals with intellectual disabilities are also susceptible to developing pica. In these cases, the condition often manifests as more severe and persistent, particularly among individuals with some developmental disabilities.
As we have discussed, people with pica disorder habitually eat non-edible items. If this behavior persists for a month, it is classified as pica disorder.
If you or someone around you have pica, they might be habitual of consuming things like:
While people commonly eat these items, there are several other non-food items that many people prefer to eat when suffering from the disorder.
The underlying causes of pica are not yet fully understood by experts, but various factors can increase the likelihood of its development.
They play a role in certain forms of pica, where specific non-food item consumption is considered socially acceptable in particular cultures or religions. For instance, eating dirt is a religious practice at El Santuario de Chimayó, a Roman Catholic shrine in New Mexico, USA. In cities within South Africa, it is culturally common among young women.
Stress or anxiety can contribute to pica as it may serve as an outlet or coping mechanism for individuals experiencing these issues. Negative childhood conditions, particularly in low socioeconomic environments such as poverty, have been associated with a higher prevalence of pica. The reasons behind this correlation are not yet fully understood. However, it is hypothesized that pica may serve as a coping mechanism for children facing abuse or neglect or as attention-seeking behavior, particularly in cases where one or both parents are absent.
Psychological issues, whether developed spontaneously or present since birth due to disruptions in fetal development or inherited genetic disorders, may also lead to weird eating habits, leading to pica.
Some medical issues, such as pregnancy and sickle cell anemia, have been found to have connections to pica. But the exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood.
While certain medications have been linked to an increased risk of developing pica or similar behaviors, it remains uncertain whether these medications directly cause pica in individuals. Further research is needed to establish a definitive relationship between medication usage and the onset of pica symptoms.
You can notice pica symptoms based on the specific non-food item you have been consuming for a long time. These symptoms may include:
Individuals may experience discomfort or a sense of unease in the abdominal region.
Pica can lead to abdominal pain, characterized by aching or cramping sensations in the stomach.
The blood in the stool may indicate the presence of an ulcer that has developed due to ingesting non-food items.
Pica can disrupt normal bowel function, leading to complications such as constipation or diarrhea. These symptoms arise due to the toxic, poisonous, and bacterial nature of consumed non-food items. Prolonged and repeated ingestion of non-food items can result in the following adverse consequences
Ingesting paint chips that contain lead can lead to lead poisoning, which can have severe health implications.
Consumption of hard objects like rocks can potentially cause blockages or tears within the intestines, posing a serious risk to overall gastrointestinal health.
Eating non-food items can cause damage to the teeth, resulting in various dental problems and potential tooth injuries.
It is obvious that when you are eating unhealthy or harmful items, they can result in infections. Non-food items may introduce harmful organisms and parasites into the body, leading to infections and associated diseases.
Treatment approaches for pica disorder are tailored to address the underlying factors associated with the condition. Healthcare professionals are crucial in managing the symptoms often associated with pica.
The specific symptoms exhibited depend on the types of non-food items consumed. Common treatment options for pica include:
Medications can also be prescribed to address constipation or diarrhea and to alleviate gastrointestinal issues resulting from pica.
In cases where stomach ulcers have developed due to consuming non-food items, appropriate treatments are administered to manage and heal these ulcers.
When pica leads to infections caused by the introduction of harmful organisms or parasites into the body, antibiotics may be prescribed to address and resolve these infections.
To tackle the nutritional deficiencies often associated with pica, healthcare providers may recommend and provide nutritional supplements to ensure adequate nutrient intake.
Additionally, addressing other concurrent medical issues, such as lead poisoning resulting from ingesting lead-containing substances, is essential to pica treatment.
Behavioral treatment plays a significant role in managing pica behaviors, which share similarities with symptoms and patterns observed in other conditions like bulimia or obsessive-compulsive disorder. It has also been observed in individuals with bipolar disorder.
Treatment methods targeting the pica behavior itself may involve:
Behavior modification programs reward the appropriate food choice to help redirect an individual’s attention.
Professional help is necessary when you or your friends or family suffer from severe pica disorder. At OC Revive, we help our patients to overcome several disorders, mental health issues, and addiction. Our experts are fully equipped, experienced, and trained to create treatment plans based on your medical needs. So, if you need help, OC Revive is here to help you. Contact us today at (844) 954 3890
I began my journey to recovery back in 2011 when i moved to California from New York.Along with my recovery and beginning a new way of life, I began to develop a heart for others struggling with sobriety.My journey to California was filled with many trials and lessons learned, but most of all, personal growth. I truly believe I would not have found success if I didn’t come to California.
I first opened an adult treatment center, California Prime Recovery(CPR) as a way to work with those struggling on a daily basis. Over the last 3 years, CPR has evolved into someting much more impactful and beautiful than i could’ve ever imagined. I have come to realize that my own happiness and growth depends on being involved in the lives of others in recovery. Helping people through recovery is a cornerstone of many 12 step programs, and it has become the most important aspect of personal life. Giving back to those still suffering is the only way not to lose what you have gained.
Throughout this journey, and by mentoring many adolescents, I realized i wanted to offer more to teens who were struggling just as i was. This is when i decided to start OC Revive. I had built many wonderful relationships throughout my professional journey and found two others who shared the same vision, and passion that i had for the youth. It didn’t take long for myself, Tyler Michaelis, and Derek Walsh to turn our dream into a reality. We are committed to providing the best possible treatment for adolescents and truly believe “their future is our collective responsibility”.
As Co-Founder & COO of OC Revive, Derek has a wealth of personal and professional experience dealing with the issues faced by today’s troubled teen. Throughout High School and College, Derek struggled with peer pressure, learning challenges, and substance abuse. Working with the support of family and friends, Derek set out to conquer those obstacles and find a richer, more fulfilling life.
On 15 October 2012, Derek overcame his own substance abuse problem and dedicated himself to help others work through their own addiction. A year later, Derek began a new journey and started his career in the recovery industry. Throughout his career, Derek has worked his way through numerous roles at top-rated treatment centers. While working at those treatment centers, Derek began to see a pattern that those struggling individuals would’ve benefited immensely from receiving earlier in life.
Derek decided that he wanted to be a part of the solution, and find a way to address those issues at an earlier age. He concluded that there needed to be interventions before adulthood, and he didn’t want to see anyone going through the same cycle that he did. That was when he and Tyler Michaelis decided to start OC Revive, to make sure teens get the help they need to find a purpose that leads them to a life of happiness and success.
Derek attended college at Orange Coast College and Santa Barbara City College.
Brittany joins the OCR team with over 15 years of experience in the Mental Health adn Substance Abuse field. Brittany has been licensed for almost 8 years and has worked in various settings throughout her career, including inpatient psychiatric treatment, outpatient, residential treatment center, PHP and IOP settings. Brittany has been supervising Associate Marrige and Family Therapists and Associate Social Workers for almost 6 years and works in compiance and auditing to ensure that treatment centers are up to par with biling regulations. Brittany has worked with young adults and adolescents for most of her career.
Brittany earned her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at California Baptist International University. Brittany enjoys working with adolescents and young adults and believes that ever single person has the ability to set goals and meet them, even when they can’t see it themselves. Brittany loves spending time with her family, traveling, good coffee, and being outdoors.
Patrick is amental health and addiction professional that has a passion for recovery and helping others. He was inspired and encouraged by his mentors to work with individuals and families that have been affected by mental health issues, alcohol and drug addiction. He ahs been working in the field of addiction recovery for 19+ years and is an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor through the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals. Patrick is also certified in Adult and Adolescent Anger Management. His Career in addiction treatment began in 2001 at the Betty Ford Center i Rancho Mirage CA. as an Addiction Specialist working on the inpatient campus and is the co-creator of Betty Ford Center’s “Young Adult Track” specializing in work with 18-25 year old Patients. he also excelled in working with addicted and impaired professionals in the “Replase and Recovery Program”.
Patrick transitioned to Orange County in 2011 where he accepted a position as the Program Director for Orange County Recovery Services. Patrick is a gifted lecturer, group facilitator and counselor with a pssion for reocery that has been an active recovery member for over 25 years.
Anthony is an Orange County local and has been a great addition to the Oc Revive team. Since 2015, Anthony has been working in the substance abuse field and has also pursued his drug and alcohol counseling license. Since being with Revive Anthony has established a relationship within the School Districts and serves as a voluntary speaker for substance abuse awareness in the community. By sharing his personal testimony, he has excelled in gaining trust and building rapport with others. He always seems to have a smile on his face and brings a positive vibe wherever he goes. With that being said, Anthony is very passionate about the work that he does and goes above and beyond to provide our struggling youth the care that they so desperately need.
Tyler is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care to teens and their families. Once a teenager that struggled with addiction, mental health, and poor choices, Tyler is aware of the growing demand and need for early intervention in adolescents and young adults. Growing up in Orange County, he battled addiction and peer pressure all throughout high school and during his time at Saddleback College. During those troubled years, Tyler’s parents and family were emotionally drained and heavily impacted by his addiction. Unfortunately, they did not know where to turn for help nor did they have the courage to set boundaries with him.After 7 painful years, they finally forced Tyler out of the house and into treatment at the age of 23.
April 5th, 2010 is a date that Tyler and his family hold dear. On that date, Tyler enrolled in a 4-month treatment program which laid the foundation for his recovery. With the help of treatment professionals, supportive friends and family, Tyler was able to build a better version of himself. This started with slowly building his self-esteem, and growing a community of peers to support him throughout recovery.
In 2011,with the desire to help others struggling with addiction, he decided to start working in the addiction field. Tyler obtained his CADAC || Counselor certification and graduated from Cal Sate University of Long Beach with a degree in Health Care Administration. Since then, Tyler has worked all areas of treatment starting as a detox technician and working his way up to Program Director. Today, Tyler feels blessed and grateful for getting a second chanse at life. He has a great relationship with his family, is happily married and has a great group of friends. Once a lost teen, Tyler now has purpose and passion. He’s dedicated his life’s work to helping teens and their families. As the Founder, Tyler Michaelis is confident that OC Revive will renew the lives of struggling teens while bringing back hope to their families