Strangely Common Addictions: PICA

Addictions are not always what they seem – to substances like drugs and alcohol. There are actually a multitude of addictions to all sorts of things. Some may seem seriously odd but are quite common. One such addiction is called PICA.

Some people have issues with consuming things that are just not food items. The conclusion for people who can’t stop eating certain things that aren’t food is that they suffer from PICA. Certain non-food items are even grouped together under Geophagia – the term known for those who eat earthy non-food items like dirty.

Here are some of the things people eat compulsively and can’t seem to stop:

- Rocks

- Dirt

- Ashes

- Paper products – toilet paper, paper towels

- Feces

- Coins

- Nails

- Glass

- Chalk

It’s not entirely understood why people have the compulsion to eat certain things, but researchers have a few ideas. Often, people will begin the habit as a coping mechanism when something like an event or undue stress has been experienced in one’s life.

The addiction to non-food items can make people very ill, depending on what they’re ingesting, if not fatal. Professionals group this disorder under the obsessive-compulsive disorders umbrella and find it quite hard to treat.

Sometimes, it’s hard to convince individuals that their habit is dangerous or threatening or just that they really shouldn’t do it, especially if you can’t get tests done to prove that they are in fact causing themselves harm.

Sometimes the addiction can be cured by replacing something in the diet that the body might be craving but sometimes the person is too compelled to keep up the habit and positive therapies and medications may be needed to help them break this addiction.

Reference
N.D. “5 Common Addictions You Didn’t Know Existed” .Crehab. (website). 2018
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