"Eating Disorder--Pica" has many unbelievable episodes. All of them are frustrating---Part----6

Continued after Part--5


Diagnosis of Pica

Blood tests can detect the problem of Pica. Blood test studies about the zinc and iron level of the patient. For checking the possibilities of anemia, only blood tests are the way out.  To check the level of lead among children, who have consumed paint, blood tests are also useful in this case.  This is because lead is one of the constituents of paint.

Some other tests are also done for diagnosing infections of the suspected patients who have consumed animal wastes or contaminated soil.

There are many episodes of huge amount of hair bunches or balls or sometimes nail pieces or such other unusual non-food items are extracted from the stomach of such patients.


The treatment for this type of medical disorder starts with the findings of missing nutrients. The treatment also investigates about other medical problems like lead poisoning.

Family education, studying the environment and behavior of the patient are the important issues for properly treating a patient with Pica or such type of eating disorder.

One of the important treatments of Pica problem is “punishment” which is known as “mild aversion therapy”. This can prevent the person for indulging in this type of negative practices. The “punishment” must be replaced with “reward” when the person takes normal amount of food.

Some medicines are there for reducing the abnormalities of eating behavior and subjecting to Pica. Some studies confirm the problem of Pica as the “development disorder”, which is also an intellectual disability.

Prognosis or outlook

The success rates of treatments vary from case to case. Some of the patients have to suffer several months with the disease, and miraculously the problem disappears of its own without any medical intervention. A few teens or young adults suffer from this problem, especially when they pass through their developmental stage. Different types of development disorders can be noticed in this stage. Although this is a peculiar development, proper care can relieve the patient and stop the problem to worsen or endanger the case before it can push family members and medical experts into some complicated case to deal with.

Possible complications

è Infection

è Lead Poisoning

è Intestinal blockage

è Bezoar is such a condition when indigestible materials in huge quantity inside our body, especially in the stomach.

è Malnutrition


The right time for contacting a doctor

You must not wait for a long time after seeing your child or any one eating all the non-food materials.

Prevention of Pica

Other than getting adequate quantity of nutrition, no specific preventive measures has been recommended so far. One more practice is shifting the person or not allowing the child / person to stay in the same place where these types of non-food materials are easily available to them.

Since the problem is a peculiar type for the adults (infants are not to be kept out of sight) the problem can lead to a dangerous position if the non-food materials include some types of poisonous items.


There are many cases when the problem is very trivial and needs proper attention. However, if the infants are trained or stopped from the beginning, a good result can be seen in this matter of eating disorder.



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