We all get cravings we know we shouldn’t indulge in but have you ever had a really strange one? Pica is a craving that causes a dangerous and unusual appetite for items that are not food, like chalk, drywall or paint chips.
According to a recent article, both the medical and psychiatric community is divided about whether or not pica is, in fact, a real eating disorder or an addiction. Maybe it is just a disorder that causes people to eat strange and potentially dangerous items but it definitely is a real thing and difficult experience nonetheless.
One person interviewed suffered from pica for three years and says she felt her first cravings in her freshman year at college. She claims she would sit in class watching her professors write with chalk and think it looked good to eat.
For her, it didn’t stop with chalk and she craved other hard and dusty items often associated with pica such as kitty litter and potting soil that was clay based. Thankfully, she only indulged in the chalk. Although, she was too embarrassed to receive treatment for her disorder she did Google it and discovered it is a true disorder.
Pica is characterized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a persistent eating of substances that are non-nutritive for at least a one month time period if the patient is not a child or suffers from some other mental disorder. Pica has been associated with vitamin deficiencies in some instances but the woman interviewed believes hers was connected to a period of heavy stress.
There has been a wave of publicized shows lately regarding pica issues such as TLC’s My Strange Addiction.