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What is Pica Eating Disorder?
Pica is an eating disorder that causes a person to compulsively eat unusual items that have no nutritional value and are not consumed by the average person. The name pica comes from the Latin name of a bird species called the Eurasian magpie. This type of bird is known for eating multiple unusual items.
Items a person with pica eating disorder may consume include:
- Coffee grounds
- Pet food
- String or thread
- Laundry detergent
- Paint chips
- Cloth material
Consuming unusual, non-food items can cause physical damage to a person, particularly if the item is toxic or otherwise dangerous. Potential medical dangers can include developing anemia, electrolyte imbalances, arrhythmia, and lead poisoning. Other risks include blockage or obstruction of the small and large intestines and constipation.
How to Treat Pica Eating Disorder
Pica eating disorder often ends within a few months. However, a professional treatment program becomes necessary when this disordered eating continues. In fact, studies have shown, pica can last for several years or longer, particularly for those with conditions like autism and schizophrenia.
Psychological treatment from our eating disorder-trained professionals can help men and women understand the intricacies of their condition and learn to overcome it. Therapy modalities, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are used to create effective behavioral changes. A psychiatrist also assesses the individual for any need for prescription medications.
Our family-focused treatment helps families come together as a team to understand the challenges their loved one faces when they have a pica eating disorder. For this reason, many eating disorder treatment facilities such as Trellis include family therapy as part of their multi-disciplinary approach.
Finally, a person with pica may need medical care from doctors and nurses to help treat any physical complications of their eating disorder. Along with that, registered dieticians can help educate both the patient and their family about new healthy ways to eat via nutritional counseling.
Benefits of Going to Treatment for Pica Eating Disorder
Recovering from a pica eating disorder means a person needs access to a variety of eating disorder-trained professionals versed in helping people learn to recover. Compassionate, non-judgmental care helps men and women feel accepted and ready to learn to overcome their illness. A multi-faceted treatment approach can come from skilled, experienced therapists, psychiatrists, physicians, and nurses. Along with that, registered dieticians and talented chefs can help produce a healthy dietary intake for those in need of making a change.
Another benefit involves bringing men and women together to facilitate peer support that can help them feel less alone. Having pica can incur a great deal of judgment and misunderstanding from coworkers, friends, and family members. When people gather in a residential program that specifically targets eating disorders, they enjoy feeling accepted. This, in turn, helps them become more open to taking the steps necessary to recover.
Family-focused treatment makes sure to include family members in a common goal of becoming educated about pica and how a person overcomes it. This allows patients to feel understood and more effectively communicate with their families as they move through the stages of recovery.
Begin Treatment for Pica Eating Disorder in Los Angeles, CA
When a family becomes affected by a loved one developing an eating disorder, they want to find impactful, supportive, family-focused care. This can prove especially true when the individual has a pica eating disorder, which is often misunderstood even within the clinical world. Trellis Recovery Centers in Los Angeles employs a staff of eating disorder-trained professionals who understand how to work with a diverse population of eating disorders. We also know how to care for and nurture those who need help recovering from the challenges of living with their illnesses.
Visit our admissions page now and find out how easy it is to get started on your recovery. Our friendly staff is happy to answer any questions you have.