What's the name of the disease where a person eats things that aren't food? Is this one illness or many (a disease for people who eat paper, another for people who eat glue, etc.)?
The name is Pica and is a disorder in which a person has a strong desire to eat, lick, or chew non-food items. These items consist of dirt, paint chips, rust, glue, fingernails, hair, chalk, starch, cigarette ashes and clay. This disorder is common is pregnant women, small children, people with mineral deficiencies and those in developing countries who may not get enough to eat.
Accidental poisoning is perhaps the biggest hazard associated with pica. Other complications include malnutrition, damage to the teeth, tears in the intestine lining, infections, constipation and blockages in the digestive tract. Pica can be very hazardous to a person’s health, just as many other other eating disorders are. For those fearful of the consequences of their eating disorder, eating disorder residential programs offer their advice and support.
Good luck and best wishes.
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