Are you addicted to eating dirt, chalk, or paint? If yes, you are most probably suffering from PICA syndrome. Recently, a 44-year-old woman named Lisa Anderson was found to be eating talcum powder from the past 15 years. According to her, this addiction made her spend approximately £8,000 (Rs 7.5 lakhs).
She reportedly started having this unusual craving one day while she was drying off her son post a bath. She got to know about her medical condition after she finally took the medical help. The doctors informed her that she is probably suffering from an eating disorder called PICA syndrome.
This is basically a disorder that is characterized by a persistent and strong urge of eating items other then food, that have no nutritional value. The substance can be anything from dirt, chalk, to hair, paint chips and talcum powder.
Mostly occurring in pregnant women and children, PICA syndrome can potentially cause serious complications like lead poisoning, parasitic infections, choking, intestinal blockage etc. If you regularly eat ice, sand, glue, soap etc., you urgently need to consult a doctor. Notably, there is no particular test to diagnose the condition. Before conforming PICA syndrome, doctors firstly try to rule out certain other medical problems with such symptom. They will look for anemia, intestinal blockages, or any kind of toxicity in the blood and the body. Further, with the help of X-ray and blood tests, they will confirm the condition.
Certain factors including autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, iron deficiency, schizophrenia etc., can potentially increase your risk of suffering from PICA syndrome. As far as the treatment of PICA syndrome is concerned, doctors prescribe medicines to correct any nutritional deficiency. In case, malnutrition is not the cause of the problem and medicines do not show any expected result, doctors may recommend you certain behavioural interventions.