In poor countries such as Haiti, people are forced to satisfy their hunger by eating cookies that are made from dirt. These cookies, made from yellow dirt mixed with salt are the only food that most people in this country can afford to buy. As of this writing, United Nations had estimated that about 800 million people worldwide don’t have enough to eat, including these Haitians who eat dirt cookies.
However, not all Haitians are poor; some of them tend to eat dirt cookies by choice. These people are experiencing Pica, a Psychiatric Disorder that compels people to eat other substances besides food such as dirt, stones, soap, paint, ice, hair, animal feces and other things that has no nutritional value. Those who are diagnosed to have this kind of disorder often belong to an ‘institutionalized’ environment, especially places where food is scarce or is offered in small rations. Pregnant women and children can also be affected, according to 2004 studies.
Experts about this rather have two theories about what really causes Pica.
First, those who have it may be caused by iron deficiency which results in unexplainable appetite for minerals. Second, children, who tend to ‘explore the world’ by using their own mouths, may have experienced underdevelopment along the way, therefore resulting in this somewhat normal behavior to grow along with them. The children who usually experience Pica usually have mental retardation or socially disadvantaged.
Pica, difficult as it may seem, can also be treated just like other disease. However, it requires participation in place of the one experiences it and understanding in his or her family.