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Pica is an eating disorder where the patient will eat non-nutritous items, usually ice, clay, chalk, dirt, or sand, but occasionally small objects. It is often has no clear cause but is associated with a number of nutritional deficiencies, social factors and psychiatric problems. It is rarely fatal, but can cause intestinal blockage, poisoning, or expose the patient to parasites.
Treatment of the condition is difficult, particularly in children where it is common. Treatment usually focusses on behavioral conditioning, but there is no one clear treatment that will always be effective.