Have you been craving for soap, chalk and other odd things lately? You might have pica, a medical disorder characterised by an appetite for things that are largely non-nutritive.
Tempestt Henderson, a 19-year-old girl from Florida, has a rather peculiar addiction Ã¢â‚¬â€œ she canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help eating soap bars and washing powder. She could be addicted to much worse, but soap and washing powder are probably among the strangest.
The young girl remembers she loved the smell of washing powder on her motherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cardigan and on her bed sheets. She knows that both things are hazardous to her health, but she loves them so much, she canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stay away from them.
Tempestt is not alone. A lot of women have, at one point in their lives, craved substances such as soil, chalk, ash, pencils, paper and various other things. In Malawi, pregnant women are known for their clay and soil cravings.
According to wikipedia.com, this condition, an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive (such asÃ‚Â metal, clay, coal, sand, dirt, soil, faeces, chalk, pens and pencils, paper, batteries, spoons, toothbrushes, soap, mucus, ash, gum and the like) or an abnormal appetite for food ingredients ( flour, raw potato, raw rice, starch, ice cubes, salt) is known as Pica.
For these actions to be considered pica, they must persist for more than one month at an age where eating such objects is considered developmentally inappropriate. The conditionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name comes from the Latin word for magpie, a bird that is reputed to eat almost anything. Pica is seen in all ages, particularly in pregnant women, small children, and those with developmental disabilities.
The scant research that has been done on the causes of pica suggests that the disorder is a specific appetite caused by mineral deficiency in many cases, such as iron deficiency, which sometimes is a result of celiac disease or hookworm infection.
Often, the substance eaten by someone with pica contains the mineral in which that individual is deficient. More recently, cases of pica have been tied to the obsessiveÃ¢â‚¬â€œcompulsive spectrum, and there is a move to consider OCD in the etiology of pica; however, pica is currently recognised as a mental disorder by the widely used Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Sensory, physiological, cultural, and psychosocial perspectives have also been used by some to explain the causation of pica.
Treatment for pica varies based on the patientÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s category (child, developmentally disabled, pregnant, or psychotic) and may emphasise psychosocial, environmental, and family guidance approaches. An initial approach often involves screening for and, if necessary, treating any mineral deficiencies or other co morbid conditions.
Usually after pregnant women give birth, pica subsides. Behaviour-based treatment options can be useful for developmentally disabled or mentally retarded individuals with pica. These may involve associating negative consequences with eating non-food items or good consequences with normal behaviour, and may be contingent on pica being attempted or initiated regardless of a pica attempt. Ã¢â‚¬â€Www.wikipedia.org