Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of ijpsychHomeCurrent issueInstructionsSubmit article
Indian J Psychiatry. 2002 Oct-Dec; 44(4): 372–374.
PMCID: PMC2955310



Pica is an interesting psychiatric entity that merits special clinical attention. This report describes three cases of pica and calls for its separate nosological placement in clinical psychiatry. In the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders fourth edition (DSM-IV), pica is described as persistent eating of nonutritive substances for a period of at least 1 month which is inappropriate to the developmental level and not part of a culturally sanctioned practice (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). On the other hand, impulse-control disorders not elsewhere classified is defined as failure to resist an impulse, drive or temptation to perform an act that is harmful to the person or to others, feeling of an increasing sense of tension or arousal before committing the act and pleasure, gratification or relief at the time of committing the act or shortly thereafter (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Regarding the aetiologies of Pica most contemporary literatures have cited various causative factors, e.g. normal exploratory orality of children, pregnancy, stress and conflicts, cultural beliefs, mental retardation, psychotic disorders and even nutritional deficiencies (Chatoor, 2000; Popper & West, 2001). Here, we report 3 atypical cases of Pica, attending outpatient department of the Institute of Psychiatry, Calcutta. These reported cases are unique in their time of onset, phenomenological progression and therapeutic responsiveness.

Keywords: Pica, Impulse-control disorder, Atypical obsession

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (139K).

Articles from Indian Journal of Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of Wolters Kluwer -- Medknow Publications