What is pica?

Anorexia and bulimia are usually what initially come to mind when thinking about eating disorders. However, other eating disorders exist, such as pica. Most people are not familiar with this disorder and lack information and education. Magnolia Creek is not only knowledgeable in understanding pica, but are also proficient at implementing effective treatment.

It is important to understand that the presentation of pica as an eating disorder is vastly different from anorexia and bulimia. Pica does not involve food but rather eating nonfood items or items without nutritional value. Some examples of objects that are eaten may include clay, dirt, hair, ice, metal pieces, paint chips, paper, and soap. Most of these items are unhealthy and can cause significant health problems. The condition is a sign that the body is malnourished and trying to correct a critical nutrient deficiency. An example, of this may be anemia after pregnancy. Pica has also been associated with mental health conditions such as autism and schizophrenia.

A woman eats a pea as part of her pica eating disorder treatment

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Pica Eating Disorder Treatment Process

The first step in treating pica is to diagnose the problem. Doctors will often perform an assessment for anemia, intestinal blockages, nutrient deficiencies, and any possible toxicity or side effects from the nonfood items consumed. For instance, the bacteria in dirt and the lead in paint can be toxic causing serious and even fatal medical concerns.

In all cases, doctors tailor the treatment plan according to each person’s needs. They can use medicines, therapies, or a combination to treat pica.


Treating malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies typically involves medicines, supplements, or vitamins. Sometimes these are enough to resolve the condition. Iron supplements, for instance, are often taken for anemia.

Those with developmental or mental disorders, however, might need alternative medications. For example, schizophrenia may require prescription medication to control associated symptoms thus reducing or preventing pica-related eating habits.

How We Treat

Do you think that you or someone you know has pica eating disorder? Don’t hesitate to get a doctor’s diagnosis. If you or a loved one needs treatment, Magnolia Creek Treatment Center for Eating Disorders can help. We offer holistic and evidence based treatment for eating disorders, including:

Pica Treatment at Magnolia Creek

At Magnolia Creek, we want to ensure that you or your loved one gets extensive care. That’s why we offer dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders such as personality and obsessive compulsive disorders. In addition, we provide follow-up care that includes resources for community support and recovery protection process groups.

Stop the damage that pica does to your or your loved one’s body. Get healing pica eating disorder treatment in our peaceful, home-like environment. Contact Magnolia Creek today for more details by dialing 205-409-4220.

We are here to help you. Contact Us @ 205-409-4220 or send us an email.

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