I Have Polypica

Hi :)

First off I would like to say that it feels great finding others who have this condition. Thanks for sharing.

I have had poly-pica for as long as I can remember. As a child I remember eating ashes from the fireplace, coal, dirt, burnt match heads, paper, ice (I didn't even know this was counted as pica until yesterday!), brick, chalk, concrete, sand...... there would be more if I thought about it. I always felt really guilty about it and kept it a secret. I found out when I was about 17 that it had a name and that others did it too, but I didn't really talk to anyone about it. 

Over the years my pica narrowed down somewhat. I mainly crave dirt, ice and charcoal now. If I can't get dirt or charcoal, I'll substitute brick or coal or concrete at a pinch, but these aren't my main cravings.

I love the smell, texture and taste of these things - I don't know why. I used to smoke, and I would compare the cravings as as intense if not stronger as cravings for cigarettes. I've been compelled to go out in the middle of the night to hunt down something suitable to eat.

As strong as these cravings can get, I would often only get them every month or 2. Then I would get a good 'fix', and be ok for a while. But now I am pregnant, and I'm craving almost everyday. I don't let myself eat dirt, because it is so unsafe. Instead my husband has bought me a big bag of charcoal and I've been eating that.

I met with a dietitian yesterday and talked to her about it. This was the first time I'd talked to a health professional about it. She was intrigued but very supportive. She also told me that she couldn't see any major risks to my eating charcoal or brick. I was so relieved!

Anyway, that's my story - I hope it helps someone. Just knowing there are others out there like me, helps me a great deal.


Superfluous Superfluous
26-30, F
9 Responses Aug 31, 2009

haha i saw that on tv here! I live in Hong Kong and i must say that the soil smells better then the ones in utah (where i am from).<br />
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I still have yet to try to eat it.... If i get too bad i will chew on ice. but then chewing on ice is also bad lol....

Thanks! Really helpful :)

I will try not to be, but its so hard. =/<br />
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Yes! I have tons; here are a few:<br />
http://www.weirdasianews.com/2006/12/08/china-girl-eats-pounds-of-dirt-daily/<br />
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http://www.neatorama.com/2006/05/17/the-girl-who-eats-dirt/<br />
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Here is a video of a place that sells mud on the street, Africa. :)<br />
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW2Uoigo2z0<br />
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here is an article about the goods on eating dirt, and reliable source "ABC" <br />

I'm not always strong - I still get a bit embarrassed sometimes. But overall I know I shouldn't have to be, and that makes it easier. Don't be so hard on yourself! <br />
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That's cool about the Asian girl - do you have a link to that?

Yeah, I have read many medical journals and also watched Talk Shows that had people on there with Pica, it has been on Tyra and Oprah. Some of the journals don't really state everything, most of it links this disorder to retardation. And whenever I see that I get worried, because right now I am in college and trying to go for my PhD. So its a little hard, having this disorder and at the same time, reading about it and thinking that I might be a little dumb. But I am not. I really wish that they or whoever posted/researched the disorder, would rewrite it or at least mention that the disorder in some cases are not as bad, and sometimes does not lead to .... Have you read the story of the Asian girl that eats about 3 pounds of soil everyday? And nothing is wrong with her, like she rather have that instead of a bowl of rice. I really loved that she got the whole world to know, and even though she knows that some people are not going to approve of it, she still doesn't care. I really don't know what it is and why I care so much. My family as in my parents and my brother know, but they don't know that I actually still crave dirt, clay etc. They think that I have be cured when I was 12. I still haven't. The only person that knows that I still crave it is my best friend. I had to tell someone because I needed that support, and then after I told her, I joined this group for more support and to at least know that there are other people out there that are just like me, is a good feeling. And I really wish I had your strength. :)

Yeah, I know what you mean! People judge it because nobody really knows much about it. Not even the professionals. Have you read any medical journal stuff about Pica? They really have know definite facts about why it happens or the results. <br />
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I used to feel really ashamed about it too, and worry about what people would think of me because of it. But now that I'm a bit older I've learned to accept myself more. I know that I'm no less than anyone else because I do this, I'm just different. But in so many other ways I'm the same as other people. So I even though I still keep it pretty private, I do let those close to me know. And I let them know I think it's ok. Because I don't act like it's weird or wrong, they don't really either. Sure it's a bit unusual, but people really do just get over it. And if they don't that's their problem, not yours.

Yes it is SO HARD! I am determined to stop because I really don't know how I am going to explain it to my future family, as in my husband and kids etc. It is a little embarrassing, like I was telling my cousin about this girl that ate dirt and ashes etc. And my cousin's face wasn't as accepting, and me and her are very close. So I didn't like her reaction, so I didn't want to tell her. But maybe when I grow older as in my 30's and I am looking back, I can tell her that "HEY, when we were in school together I ate all the this unusual stuff. " Yes, the craving do get stronger because I have tried to quit cold turkey so many times, but it gets worse, and even when I take a little at a time, I would always want more. I am done with dirt, as of right now, I really love clay as of right now. Not just any clay, but the gray rocky one for pottery. And I just want some really badly right now, as I write this, my mouth gets so watery. =/ Do you think clay is good, I have researched clay and many countries eat it and some times its good for your body. I just wish that it was a norm to eat what we eat and not be categorized as having a disorder.

It's hard isn't it? But ask yourself why you are so determined to stop. If it's because you feel guilty and embarrassed, maybe that's not a good reason. Some of these things aren't actually that bad for you to eat in moderation. I worry that if you try too hard to force yourself to stop, you might make the cravings stronger. My advice is to figure out what the safer things are to eat. Dirt can have lot's of nasty diseases and parasites, so maybe you should try to avoid that. But other things aren't so bad. If you stop telling yourself it's wrong and just eat a little when you want some, I think your cravings will decrease - and you'll feel a whole lot better about yourself too! There's nothing to be ashamed of!

Wow, I have Poly-pica too! And I crave like crazy. Right now, I am trying my best to stop all the cravings and just be a little normal, because I have actually confronted one of my close friend about my disorder and I want to show her that I don't want to eat like this anymore, but its hard. Because I bought the clay from Micheal's the other day and like it had the taste I have been looking for. I have ate as much as you have: drywall, chalk, slate board chalk, red clay dirt, dirt, soft pebbles, soft marble, soft rocks, clay, graphite and bricks. I love the taste. And I crave it. I also figured out a way to get rid of my cravings, there is this mouth wash for smokers(i do not smoke) but its really strong, and like I ran out of my mouth wash, and I used that instead, and it burned my taste buds, well covered them over with a strong minty taste. So after I did not have the taste for any of the following especially the clay. But I am getting it back, I want some clay.