Demystifying Medicine Video

Pica is a type of eating disorder in which people compulsively eat non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt, paint chips and clay. When you hear the term “eating disorder” it is highly likely that anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge-eating disorder come to mind. Many fail to realize that there are several other clinically recognized eating disorders, including the generally unspoken condition of Pica.

In the following video we discuss the prevalence, causes, complications and treatments associated with Pica in order to raise greater awareness for this condition.

If you or someone you know is currently suffering from Pica, please reach out for help or contact one of the following helplines:

  • Canada: National Eating Disorder Information Centre, 1-866-NEDIC-20
  • USA: National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), 1-800-931-2237
  • UK: Beat Eating Disorders, 0808-801-0677
  • Australia: Butterfly Foundation National Helpline, 1-800-ED-HOPE
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Author Details


  • Advani, S., Kochhar, G., Chachra, S., & Dhawan, P. (2014). Eating everything except food (PICA): A rare case report and review. Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, 4(1), 1. doi: 10.4103/2231-0762.127851
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder. (2018). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from
  • Bhatia, J. (2014). Pica as a culture bound syndrome. Delhi Psychiatry Journal, 17(1). Blinder, B. J., & Salama, C. (2008). An update on pica: prevalence, contributing causes, and treatment. Psychiatric Times, 25(6), 66-66.
  • Brahm, N. C., Farmer, K. C., & Brown, R. C. (2006). Pica episode reduction following initiation of bupropion in a developmentally disabled adult. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 40(11), 2075-2076. doi: 10.1345/aph.1H232
  • Eating disorders. (2016). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from
  • Fawcett, E. J., Fawcett, J. M., & Mazmanian, D. (2016). A meta-analysis of the worldwide prevalence of pica during pregnancy and the postpartum period. International journal of gynaecology and obstetrics: the official organ of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, 133(3), 277–283.
  • Hartmann, A. S., Becker, A. E., Hampton, C., & Bryant-Waugh, R. (2012). Pica and rumination disorder in DSM-5. Psychiatric Annals, 42(11), 426-430.
  • Kariuki, L., Lambert, C., Purwestri, R., & Biesalski, H. K. (2016). Trends and consequences of consumption of food and non-food items (pica) by pregnant women in Western Kenya. NFS journal, 5, 1-4.
  • Khan, Y., Tisman, G. Pica in iron deficiency: a case series. J Med Case Reports 4, 86 (2010).
  • Konlan, K. D., Abdulai, J. A., Konlan, K. D., Amoah, R. M., & Doat, A. R. (2020). Practices of pica among pregnant women in a tertiary healthcare facility in Ghana. Nursing Open, 7(3), 783-792.
  • Kouidrat, Y., Amad, A., Lalau, J. D., & Loas, G. (2014). Eating disorders in schizophrenia: implications for research and management. Schizophrenia research and treatment, 2014. doi: 10.1155/2014/791573
  • Leung, A. K., & Hon, K. L. (2019). Pica: a common condition that is commonly missed-an update review. Current Pediatric Reviews, 15(3), 164-169. doi: 10.2174/1573396315666190313163530
  • Matson, J. L., Belva, B., Hattier, M. A., & Matson, M. L. (2011). Pica in persons with developmental disabilities: Characteristics, diagnosis, and assessment. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(4), 1459-1464.
  • Miao, D., Young, S. L., & Golden, C. D. (2015). A meta‚Äźanalysis of pica and micronutrient status. American Journal of Human Biology, 27(1), 84-93. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.22598
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. (2019). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from
  • Parekh, R. (2017). “What is Intellectual Disability?”. American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved from
  • Schizophrenia. (2020). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from

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