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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 substances.

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.

Associated Features: 

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.

Differential Diagnosis:

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 diagnosis.

None Detailed


Pica can occur during pregnancy. Some cases occur in people with severe psychiatric conditions. In others, no cause can be identified.


Treatment emphasizes psychosocial, environmental, and family guidance approaches.

Counseling and Psychotherapy [ See Therapy Section ]:

Other successful treatments have been mild aversion therapy followed by positive reinforcement.


DSM Code

304.8 Pica

F98.3 Pica

Disorder Sheets

103 Prince of Wales Road
United Kingdom

Tel : +448456341414
E-Mail: Click Here
Web: Click Here

Somerset & Wessex Eating
Strode House
10 Leigh Road
BA16 0HA
Tel: +441458 448611
Email: Click Here
Web: Click Here

Association, a not for profit,
registered charity based in
Somerset, England. As well
as general eating disorders s
upport we also have a project
specifically aimed at supporting
students with eating disorders.

Eating Disorders Support
Sun House
32 Church Street
Buckinghamshire HP5 1HU

Tele: +441494793223
Email: Click Here
Website: Click Here

Recommended Book

Eating Disorders (The Library in a Book0 - Click Here to View


Misc Information


Developmental Disorder's