Health Information




National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.


It is possible that the main title of the report Pica is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Eating Disorder, Pica Type
  • Pica Eating Disorder

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Pica is an eating disorder that is characterized by the repeated eating of non-nutritive substances over a period of one month or longer. Patients may eat non-edible objects such as paint, plaster, dirt, ice, or laundry starch. Pica generally affects small children, pregnant women, and people whose cultural environment is most compatible with the eating of non-food items.


National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health

Attn: Marion Mealing

9605 Medical Center Drive

Rockville, MD 20850


Tel: (240)403-1901

Fax: (240)403-1909



National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse

1211 Chestnut Street

Suite 1207

Philadelphia, PA 19107-6312


Tel: (215)751-1810

Fax: (215)636-6312

Tel: (800)553-4539



Mental Health America

2000 N. Beauregard Street, 6th Floor

Alexandria, VA 22314-2971


Tel: (703)684-7722

Fax: (703)684-5968

Tel: (800)969-6642

TDD: (800)433-5959



National Alliance on Mental Illness

3803 N. Fairfax Drive

Suite 100

Arlington, VA 22203-

Tel: (703)524-7600

Fax: (703)524-9094

Tel: (800)999-6264

TDD: (703)516-7227



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Road NE

Atlanta, GA 30333

Tel: (404)639-3534

Tel: (800)232-4636

TDD: (888)232-6348



NIH/National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases

Office of Communications & Public Liaison

Bldg 31, Rm 9A06

31 Center Drive, MSC 2560

Bethesda, MD 20892-2560

Tel: (301)496-3583



NIH/National Institute of Mental Health

Health Science Writing, Press and Dissemination Branch

6001 Executive Boulevard

Room 8184, MSC 9663

Bethesda, MD 20892-9663

Tel: (301)443-4513

Fax: (301)443-4279

Tel: (866)615-6464

TDD: (301)443-8431



Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126

Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223


For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated:  4/10/2009

Copyright  1986, 1996, 2005, 2009 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.