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PICA

It is a desire of eating non-nutritive substance for a period of 1 month. It affects the age between 1-6 years. It is an eating behavior disorder.

Items to ingest:-(common)

• Clay
• Cement
• Dirt
• Pencil
• Eraser
• Chalk
• Paper
• Paint
• Sand etc.

Causes:-
• Malnutrition
• Parental deprivation
• Neglect
• Child abuse

It affects:-
• Teeth and gums
• Causes high BP
• Do poisoning (lead poisoning)
• Causes bowel obstruction (due to hair, clay etc.)
• Cause obesity
• Cause nutritional deficiencies (due to eating of non-nutritive items)
• Cause parasitic infestation (due to sand, clay which are full of worms)

How to treat:-
• First and foremost is emotional support to the child
• Parents should help and support their child with this eating disorder in the form of telling them harmful and unhealthy effects of eating these substances
• Malnutrition should be treated promptly with multivitamins, balanced food, iron supplements and minerals
• Regular deworming is very important for the issue of worm infestation because of eating sand, clay.
• Engage your child in activities like story reading, playing mindful games, outdoor sports activities

We at Cuddles treat, support and guide on PICA an eating behavior disorder. We try to make parents understand what it is and why it needs to be treated.

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