when i realized that chewing ice could be bad for my body i looked around to find out more about it. If you are actually addicted to chewing ice it has been linked to people who are anemic people with an low iron and 50% of pregnant women get it, chewing ice has been said to be more of a eating disorder than a habit and is harmful to your body, the term of this eating disorder is called pica. Pica is defined as a compulsive craving for eating, chewing or licking non-food items or foods containing no nutrition. These can include such things as chalk, plaster, paint chips, baking soda, starch, glue, rust, ice, coffee grounds, and cigarette ashes. It may sometimes be linked to certain mineral deficiencies (i.e., iron or zinc). Pica can be associated with, developmental delays, mental deficiencies and/or a family history of the disorder. There may be psychological disturbances that lead to Pica as well, such as conditions in which a child lives in a low-income or poor family, or who lives in an environment of little love and support.
Because of the inherent danger in eating non-food items, it is extremely important that an individual suffering with Pica be evaluated by a doctor, given the correct diagnosis, and treated promptly. The treatment that will follow will depend on the causes of the behavior. If the compulsion is driven by a vitamin or mineral deficiency, supplements will be prescribed; Examination of the home environment, behavior-modification therapy and psychological treatment may also be needed.
Pica is fairly common in pregnant women and symptoms usually disappear following the birth of the child.
Complications of pica can include lead poisoning, malnutrition, abdominal problems, intestinal obstruction, hypokalemia, hyperkalemia, mercury poisoning, phosphorus intoxication, and dental injury.
* It may be possible (but uncommon) for people with Anorexia and/or Bulimia to develop Pica because of the compulsive nature of these illnesses to binge, and/or the malnutrition that can set in. If the two disorders co-exist, it is important to tell your doctor of both.