DR DG BAGAL, M.D. (Hom)
DR UTTARAAGALE,M.D. (Hom)
Pica is a disorder in which children compulsively eat stuffs that have no nutritional value eg, dried flaks of wall paint, dry leave, mud, chalk, metal rust, soap, clay etc. In some cases it can lead to poisoning as if a person is having habit to eat metal rust, then it is harmful. Pica often occurs in individuals who have intellectual disabilities.1 It comes as DSM-V – The American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines Pica as eating non – Nutritive, non – food substance for over a period of atleast one month.
The causes of Pica can be deficiency like — Iron, zinc, calcium or any other nutrient associated with it. The unusual cravings may be a sign that body is trying to replenish low nutrient levels. Dieting and malnourishment can lead to pica.1
Symptoms of Pica includes:-
- Abdomen upset/ Pain
- Blood in stool ( which may be a sign of ulcer from eating non food items)
- Bowel Problems (such as constipation and diarrhea).
As such there is no diagnostic tool to check for pica except case taking done by physician. The complications associated with Pica are
- Poisoning such as lead poisoning
- Parasitic infections
- Intestinal blockages
- Injuries to teeth (eating glass and bricks)
Its treatment generally requires restoring of the required nutrients due to which the child is malnourished. Restoring the nutrients is an easy task but the behavioural problems which come in accepting the this corrected form of eating is a challenge to the physician and also to the parents as child readily doesn’t give up eating the stuffs which he/she is addicted to. This includes many times stubbornness, excessive craving to such indigestible stuffs, negligence on account of parents and many times disobedience and obstinacy shown by children. Pica cases generally comes up for treatment when there are other problems associated due to this cause.
Homoeopathy has its effective cure as it deals with Mental generals as well as physical Generals and particulars and this holistic approach is required to treat the behavior complaints of the children and help them in healthy growing. A case is explained in which Pica is treated with homoeopathic medicine.
Age: 7 years
Chief Complaint:– Patient was brought by his mother and explained that he is having the complaints of:-
- Frequent abdominal Pains cramping type on and off since 1-2 months.
- Constipation passes stool irregularly sometimes once in 2-3 days.
- Appetite decreased.
- Eats soil, wall paint and putty/ clay, whenever mother scolds him not to eat it he listens but when she is not present he eats it and when asked tells lie that he has not eaten it.
- He is very obstinate regarding leaving the habit of Pica as told by his mother he listens to her when scolded and does only what he wants.
Blood in stools although scanty once found before 20 -25 days, but it was treated with home remedies and became alright.
In cases of Pica Homoeopathic Medicine constitutional along with Diet and Biochemic combinations served useful in Above case. Homoeopathy not only cured the Pica but also solved the behavioural complaints of the child thus proves it’s a Holistic method.