Pica can be identified by observing the ingestion of substances that are nonnutritive. Some common nonnutritive substances ingested with pica are dirt, plastic, and wood items.
Pica can be caused in a few different ways. It is important to consult your primary care physician about pica to see if there is a physical or chemical problem causing symptoms.
Imbalances within the body can cause an unhealthy and unnatural desire for a substance, as the body attempts to replace missing nutrients.
Other causes for pica can be solely cognitive or emotional. At times, individuals can develop the eating of nonnutritive substances as a way to cope with life stress.