+44 (0)800 193 3277
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Orchestrate Health is a private pay healthcare company and works outside of the NHS

PICA Treatment at Home

Have you ever found yourself or someone you love uncontrollably munching on non-food items such as dirt, paint chips, or even ice?

If so, you or your loved one might be suffering from PICA, a disorder characterised by the compulsive and persistent craving to consume non-nutritive substances. While it is a rare disorder, it can be quite alarming and even lead to serious health complications if left untreated.

However, the good news is that treatments like Orchestrate Health, a stepped care model for mental health, can help individuals with PICA learn how to modify their behaviours and develop healthier eating patterns.

Take comfort in knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that effective help is available.

Please contact Orchestrate Health today to learn more about our PICA treatment at home and at our live-in, luxury properties.

Orchestrate Health is a private pay service and works outside of the NHS. We are committed to ensuring patients receive the highest standards of care available.

What Is PICA?

PICA is actually a mental disorder where a person has a persistent craving and consumption of non-food substances for at least a month.

These cravings can range from hair, dirt, paint chips, and even faeces.

More common non-food items include:

  • Eggshells
  • Ash
  • Baby powder
  • Soap
  • Pet food
  • Coffee grounds
  • Paper
  • Laundry soap

While some people may think it’s just a quirky habit or a harmless way to pass the time, PICA is classified as a medical condition because it falls within the realm of mental illness, specifically under the category of eating disorders.

It can cause serious health problems such as lead poisoning, bowel obstruction, and infections.

Who Is Affected By It?

Although it affects several populations, the most vulnerable are children, pregnant women, and individuals with mental health conditions such as autism or schizophrenia.

Risk factors for developing PICA include nutrient deficiencies, such as iron, zinc, or calcium; developmental disorders; a history of neglect, abuse, or trauma; or cultural factors.

It is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of PICA early on, especially in vulnerable populations, as consuming non-food items can lead to severe health consequences.

Relevant Reading

What Causes PICA?

While a concrete answer to what causes PICA remains unknown, there are a few potential factors that may contribute to the development of this condition.

  • Cultural or Learned Behaviour: In some cultures, eating non-food items is considered socially acceptable, such as at El Santuario de Chimayó, a Roman Catholic shrine in New Mexico where eating the dirt is a common practice. This behaviour is seen as a form of reverence and devotion. Similarly, in other parts of the world, eating clay or chalk is seen as a cultural norm. While these behaviours may seem unusual to outsiders, they are deeply ingrained in certain cultures and can lead to the development of PICA.
  • Medical Conditions: Many people assume that the cause of this condition is simply a behavioural issue. However, PICA can also develop due to underlying medical conditions such as pregnancy or sickle cell anaemia. During pregnancy, for example, the body’s iron stores become depleted leading to iron deficiency anaemia. Consequently, the body craves non-food substances like dirt or clay, which are rich in minerals like iron. Similarly, sickle cell anaemia can also lead to the development of PICA. This is because the body’s cells become dehydrated and depleted of minerals, leading to an increased urge to consume non-food substances.
  • Stress or Anxiety: Stress is a natural response to life events that can trigger negative emotions, such as anxiety. Coping with anxiety can be challenging, and some individuals may turn to unconventional methods such as PICA as a way to self-soothe. The act of consuming non-food items may provide temporary relief from these negative emotions.
  • Negative Childhood Experiences: Children who have lived in poverty, experienced abuse, or neglect might cope with their traumatic experiences through attention-seeking behaviours such as consuming non-food items. Such behaviour gives a sense of control and comfort to these children, as they feel that they have power over something that has the potential to harm them.

Symptoms of PICA:

PICA is a disorder that is characterised by the uncontrollable urge to consume non-food items. While this is the main symptom of PICA, it can also cause other serious health conditions that are important to be aware of if a loved one is struggling with the disorder.

A few examples of the potential issues that can arise from PICA include:

  • Anaemia
  • Constipation
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Roundworm infections
  • Lead poisoning
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Small/large intestinal blockages

Understanding these additional symptoms can help individuals and their loved ones identify and address the disorder in a timely manner, potentially preventing further health concerns down the line.

We are here to help

Contact us to find the care you need today.

+44 (0)800 193 3277 or
[email protected]

How Can Orchestrate Health Help Me Or a Loved One With PICA?

At Orchestrate Health, we deliver fully integrated, personalised mental health care in the comfort and privacy of your own home. We work with psychiatrists, therapists, counsellors, nutritionists, exercise therapists, nurses, companions, and general practitioners to provide comprehensive care tailored to your specific needs.

Our mission is to help you achieve optimal well-being with a holistic approach that addresses your psychological, psychiatric, physical, and spiritual needs.

Private, At-Home Mental Health Care:

At Orchestrate Health, we know kicking off the journey to seek help for an eating disorder can be intimidating. And it gets even more daunting when walking into a mental health facility comes into play.

That’s why we’ve got your back with our crisis mental health treatment service, right at your doorstep. Our rapid live-in support is fully equipped with certified mental health nurses who provide personalised care and attention to meet your needs.

With us, you don’t have to worry about hospitalisation or juggling your everyday schedule. We manage your mental health symptoms and medication and help you through your journey towards a happier, healthier life without leaving your comfort zone. By providing mental health care at your home, we ensure your treatment response is maximised.

Rapid Response:

We know how crucial it is to get the right care as soon as possible when it comes to mental and behavioural health issues. This is especially true for conditions like PICA, where things can go downhill pretty fast.

That’s why we’re here for you. We’ll connect you with a top-notch psychiatrist within 24 hours for a thorough online assessment. From there, we’ll work with you to figure out the best course of treatment. Let us help you get back on track.

Receive Leading Binge Eating Treatment at Home with Orchestrate Health Care.

Reach Out for Help Now

PICA is a mental health disorder characterised by the urge to eat non-food items such as dirt, hair, or paint.

Although rare, this disorder can cause serious health issues if left untreated. Anyone can be at risk for PICA, but it is most commonly seen in children, pregnant women, and individuals with developmental disabilities.

If you or a loved one is struggling with this disorder, don’t hesitate to seek help. Orchestrate Health is here to provide support and care within the comfort of your own home.

Our rapid response teams are available 24/7, making your health and wellness our top priority.

Call us at +44 (0)808 239 3739 or fill in our online contact form to learn more about our in-home treatment options and how we can assist you in overcoming PICA.

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Our professionals work alongside respected industry-specific organisations

Orchestrate Health is a trading name of Addcounsel Limited which is registered by the CQC.