Questions For Those With Pica

Hello everyone...

I have read some of these incredible, brave confessions and am truly inspired... but also fascinated and curious to know more of others and their thoughts/lives.

Please, if you would, take the time to indulge my interest in a few ultimately somewhat personal questions. Please feel free to respond to one or all, but any response would be greatly appreciated.

1) Many have expressed that their parents know about this eating... what did they have to say? Were they accepting? Likely, they were surprised, but was anyone admonished for their behavior? Has anyone had a family history of pica?

2) How much "regular" food do you eat? What are your favorites, and how much do you eat?

3) Does the eating come on in just spells, or is it taken like a daily meal? Does it feel normal to you, or are you embarrassed? Does it feel "wrong" or "right"? What are your thoughts about the eating?

4) Could anyone explain the anemia connection a bit more in-depth?

5) What kind of damage, if any, has this caused your teeth? Has anyone experienced gingival recession as well?

6) Please tell me a bit about yourself. Are you someone's mother, brother, sister, wife, etc.? How do they feel/deal with your eating? Does anyone have a friend or relative who eats along with them?    Also..... Many of you have expressed a preference for clay or dirt residing outside or near your home, could you describe the landscape a bit and tell me what it's like there. Unfortunately, I have not done much traveling. I would love to get a sense for the people here and their lifestyles.

I may have a few more questions in the near future; if I remember, I'll be sure to post. Thank you all so incredibly much! <3

transparenteye transparenteye
3 Responses Apr 25, 2010

1. My parents confronted me several times about this problem, although they were more worried that I was ruining the walls and it would cost quite a lot to have all the plaster I'd scraped off replaced. My mother tried to find out whether I ate the plaster as well, as she'd heard about pregnant women getting such cravings but I don't think she ever had them herself. It was embarassing for me to talk about what I did so they never found out/knew for sure I was ingesting the stuff.

2. I eat whenever I'm hungry, all types of foods, many fruit, not a lot of veggies(never liked them much) and junk food. I don't think my pica is strongly related to my eating habits, although if I go out I'm prone to eat more 'real food' than I would if I just sat at home in front of my pc (and my wall).

3. Can't say it comes on in spells, for me it's always there. I can go without eating plaster but if there's a wall with the slightest crack in it near me, I will pick at it and I will eat it no matter whose house it is, as long as no one sees me. Since I've become more aware of it though, I try to stop if I can control it or I try to take just a tiny bit.

5. I haven't noticed any tooth damage so far.

6. I find it embarassing, I try to avoid getting caught/asked about holes in the walls as much as possible. I've recently been asked by my flatmates 'what happened to the house' while they were gone and I just got so flustered, all I could manage was a poor excuse about the house being old and the door being slammed too hard. It's not pleasant to be asked about it, so far I've only told strangers. I've had a boyfriend for over a year and I haven't told him about it, moreover I tried my best and did not eat plaster at all while he was visiting (he lives far away). It's not a thing I'd admit to anyone face to face any time soon. I like to do it by myself and it's comforting.

1. My parents were shocked and wanted/begged me to stop! There is no history on either side of my family.<br />
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2-3. I'm a very picky eater. When I eat food I may have 1-2 meals per day. (not very much) Unless it's holiday season then I may eat 4-5 meals per day. When I'm on what I refer to as a "Dirt Binge" I may eat dirt 8-10hrs per day when I'm off work. When i work I eat some as I get ready for the day, on the way to and during the work day and when I get hm. I get my dirt only from one place, my mom's house. There's something about it that won't compare to anyplace in the world! I'm embarrased to tell anyone, even to go collect it or to allow my husband to see me eat it. I feel Wonderful when I'm eating it alone! There's nothing I've ever been more satisfied by eating or desired more.<br />
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4. Anemia has been a factor in my life since being a teen. Right now my level is about an 8. The normal range is 12-15. I started to take Iron 325mg and I don't have an out of control craving anymore!!! Now it crosses my mind like wanting an extra candy bar of something I know I don't need and can do without. I told my doctor for the first time in my life and she was wonderful. She didn't judge me but told me that was one of the results of having Anemia. After the 1 day of taking thr iron 3x's per day-the craving was GONE! I have dirt in my room now but haven't really eaten it since I started the iron. I tasted a couple of times just to see how it tasted and it was Not Good to me anymore. <br />
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5. I've always had bad teeth so I can't say dirt played any part in that.<br />
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6. I collect the dirt by the bag load (1-5lbs). I crush it up into a powder and sift it through a strainer and I eat the dust. No one else eats it along with me, I don't want anyone to see that. It's too shameful....I'm a wife for almost 15yrs but not a mom yet. Now that I've stopped eating the dirt I can feel much more comfortable about having children. I was really worried about that.<br />
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7. The dirt is a perfect mixture of clay, dirt and sand. I find that I only like to dig up to about 6 inches to 1 foot deep in shaded areas but as long as it was in the sun I could just keep going, but I would have to wait until the soil was dried out enough by the sun before it tasted right/good.<br />
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8. Because I like it very dry I would have problems in the winter when the soil stayed wet. So I tried to dry it in the oven-that tasted Awwfull! So I would have to let it dry in my house sitting in a tray (took forever!)

1) Unfortunately my parents are not aware of this condition. But I don't think they will be supportive of me and will most lkely ban me from touching any of the chalk or pencils. I dont know if anyone else in my family has the same condition but I do faintly remember of a time when I was quite young, about 8 or 9, when one of my cousins tried to scare me that she was going to die by eating chalk and she ate it too! but lived. Until I have discovered about pica, I thought she was the reason that I have started this behavior of eating chalk. But now I know otherwise.<br />
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2) It might sound strange to you but until I have read your question, I have never even imagined that this could be related to my diet. I eat just as much regular food as anyone without the pica condition. I like all kinds of foods such as meats, fruits and vegetables, and mostly junk food. My favorite foods are usually the junk foods like chocolate cakes and ice creams. I eat all kinds of foods but I think I take them in lower quantities. But I don't think it is related to my pica condition...I was just born one of those people that don't really stack their plates with food.<br />
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3) I don't eat chalk or pencil in regular quantities of meals or anything. I just eat a stick or two when I am alone in my room and nobody is watching. I think it's more like the craving for gum for a normal person. You don't really have a certain time or a certain quantity that you do it in. I don't think I have ever felt that this was a normal condition, which is the reason I haven't told anyone yet. In fact, I have thought that I was that biggest weirdo on earth for eating chalk. But I discovered that it was actually a disorder facing many other people on earth when I googled "I eat chalk." I think it will definitlely take me some more time before I come out and admit that I am a chalk eater. In my sense, I don't think it is a condition that can be judged for morality. Every man has a craving for something or the other. We just crave for some nonedible stuff. It is just different, not wrong nor right. I would definitely stop this right this minute if I could. But the gush of thirst whenever I hear the word chalk or see a thin white tube is so strong that I don't think I can overcome this condition.<br />
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4) I am not much more informed about the case of anemia than you probably are. It is just that we lack the sufficient amount of iron in our blood and so we crave for other minerals like calcium and graphite to suffice the lack of minerals in our blood. But I have a question about this too: If it is iron that we lack in our body, why is it that we do not crave for iron? In fact, even the thought of my teeth touching an iron rod gives my teeth and a very irritated feeling that makes me want to chop off the the tips of my teeth.<br />
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5) I don't think my chalk or pencil eating has had any kind of an effect on my teeth. In fact, I think my teeth are way better than some of the people out there that do not eat this stuff. I haven't had gingivital recession either. The only precaution that I take is washing my mouth after I eat chalk or a pencil so that nobody sees my white tongue or the black specks of graphite stuck between my teeth. <br />
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6) I am a seventeen year old Indian girl living in the US for the past seven years. (I mention this because my chalk eating started soon after I moved to the US where they use white boards in schools. I never craved for chalk in India where they still use chalk boards.) Nobody in this world besides me knows about my condition so it is hard to tell how they will deal deal with it if they come to know of it and I do not know of anybody that have revealed their condition. I used to have a craving for dirt, especially when it just rained and the dirt has that yummy moist smell. But I have never actually tasted dirt, simply because I am OCD about putting germs in my mouth (I know...ironic!) I don't live in a forest or anything...I live in a pretty nice city in Georgia in one of those brick houses with a backyard and a lawn and every house around it looks the same. It is a pretty busy city, lots of industries and developments. Nothing out of the ordinary, at least for me. <br />
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I hope this helped answer at least a few of your doubts.