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S Afr Med J. 1996 Dec;86(12 Suppl):1586-8, 1591-2.

Pica and the obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Stollenbosch, Tygerberg, W. Cape.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The concept of a spectrum of obsessive-compulsive related disorders may have clinical and research heuristic value in the approach to disorders similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in respect of phenomenology and psychobiology. Like other repetitive and ritualistic behaviours, pica may be postulated to fall at times on this spectrum.

METHODS:

Five cases of pica seen at our clinics are presented here in order to test this hypothesis. Phenomenology, neurobiology (where available) and pharmacotherapy data are provided in order to consider a possible relationship with OCD and OCD spectrum disorders.

RESULTS:

In 2 of the cases, pica appeared to be a compulsion and patients had additional symptoms which met diagnostic criteria for OCD. In 2 of the cases, the clinical picture and neurobiological data were reminiscent of an impulse control disorder. Four of the 5 patients responded to treatment with a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SRI).

CONCLUSION:

These results are consistent with a hypothesis that at least some cases of pica may usefully be conceptualised as lying within a compulsive-impulsive spectrum of symptoms and disorders.

PMID:
9180801
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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