Caring Online Encourages
Male Eating Disorder Sufferers to Seek Help
Edmonds, WA (October 13, 2011) – An unusual eating disorder that many people have never even heard of is attracting attention because of a recent government study that indicated the disorder is on the rise in the United States. The Department of Health and Human Services found that hospitalizations resulting from the condition called "pica" rose 93 percent over the decade 1999-2009. Eating disorders like pica, including the more familiar ones such as bulimia and anorexia, are serious conditions that can have profound psychological and physical consequences, possibly including death. A wealth of information about the types, causes and treatment of eating disorders can be found at Caring Online, a website established by Dr. Gregory Jantz.
Pica, an eating disorder characterized by the ingestion of non-food substances such as dirt, chalk or paste, occurs primarily in very young children aged 2-3 years old and in children with developmental disabilities such as autism. Among adults, most pica sufferers are pregnant women. Physical illness and hospitalization for pica can occur when the material ingested contains toxins, dangerous bacteria or parasites. Injury to the digestive tract, such as a perforated bowel, can also occur when sharp objects are swallowed.
Pica gets its odd name from the Latin word for the magpie, a bird with a reputation for eating just about anything. Common substances craved and consumed by pica sufferers include:
- Soil, sand or clay
- Paint chips
- Pebbles or rocks
- Cigarette butts
The psychological causes of pica are not well understood and, especially in the case of pregnant women, may include an actual mineral deficiency that the body is trying to compensate for. In cases where the sufferer is not otherwise mentally or developmentally disabled, pica is thought by some mental health practitioners to be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), although the link is somewhat speculative at this point.
Dr. Jantz is an internationally respected expert on eating disorders and founder of A Place of Hope, an eating disorder treatment center in Edmonds, WA that emphasizes a "whole-person" approach to the treatment of these devastating conditions. Dr. Jantz is also the author of the best-selling book Hope, Help and Healing for Eating Disorders, as well as many other books on mental and emotional well-being.