A pattern of eating
non-nutritive substances, lasting for at least a month, Such substances
as dirt, paper etc. The main characteristics are:
For at least 1 month the person persists in eating dirt or other nonnutritive
This behavior is not appropriate to the person's developmental level.
It is not sanctioned in the person's culture.
If this behavior occurs solely in the context of another mental disorder
(such as Mental Retardation, Pervasive
Developmental Disorder, Schizophrenia),
it is serious enough to require independent clinical attention.
Pica can be experienced
by any socioeconomic group, There are no cultural propensity towards
this disorder. While it may be associated with nutritional deficiencies
such as iron deficiency anemia, pica can occur when there are no deficiencies.
Some disorders have similar or even the same symptom. The clinician,
therefore, in his diagnostic attempt has to differentiate against the
following disorders which he needs to rule out to establish a precise
Treatment emphasizes psychosocial, environmental, and family guidance
treatments have been mild aversion therapy followed by positive reinforcement.