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People who eat and drink strange things can be described as having a condition known as “pica.” Pica is an eating disorder characterized by the persistent craving and consumption of non-food substances that have little to no nutritional value. These substances can include, but are not limited to, ice, clay, dirt, chalk, paper, hair, soap, and even more bizarre items like metal, plastic, or feces.

Pica is more common in certain populations, such as children, pregnant women, and individuals with certain developmental disorders. The exact cause of pica is not fully understood, but it is believed to be associated with various factors, including nutritional deficiencies, psychological issues, cultural practices, or sensory-related conditions.

Pica can be harmful to one’s health, depending on the substances ingested. For example, consuming non-food items can lead to gastrointestinal problems, dental issues, intestinal blockages, or poisoning if toxic materials are ingested.

If you or someone you know is experiencing pica-like symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical and psychological help. Addressing the underlying causes and getting appropriate treatment, which may involve counseling, behavioral therapy, and addressing nutritional deficiencies, can help manage and overcome this disorder.

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