Mineral deficiency, especially Iron DeficiencyMalnutrition is often diagnosed along with PICA . This is one of the chief causes of Pica. Eating clay has been associated with iron deficiency. In many cases, once the anaemia has been treated, the pica desires have stopped.
Stress / Upsetting life events
Stress has been found to be associated with the development of Pica. Some of the most common reasons of the stress are:
- Maternal absence or neglect
- Parental separation
- Abuse and violence
- Poor parent-child relations
and many more....
Low Socio-Economic Status
Eating paint is most common among children from families of low socioeconomic status. It is often due to lack of parental supervision. Unfulfilled hunger is one of the leading causes of pica.
Pica is occasionally a feature of mental problems including autism, schizophrenia, and developmental disorders. It is believed that Pica works as a soothing behaviour that relieves the anxiety. Persons with mental retardation may have Pica because of an inability to tell the difference between food and non-food items. These are important causes of Pica.
Cultural and religious practice
In some cultures, earth is eaten or applied externally because of its supposed religious properties. There are stories of modern-day religious geophagy from around the world in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Hoodoo. Some African-American women in the United States eat kaolin (white dirt) to achieve protection and health. These are also causes of Pica.