28-year-old, Raju Pratap, (name changed), complained of stomach ache and was admitted to Sanjay Gandhi Medical College & Hospital in Rewa. He developed a habit of swallowing metals out of depression and his family wasn’t aware of it.
But when he began to experience unbearable stomach ache. His parents saw his swollen abdomen and took him to Sanjay Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, Rewa. After which, an X-ray revealed the horrifying truth. He had been eating metal for a year but did not tell anyone. As, he consumed nails, a steel chain to tie dogs, blades, glass pieces and coins. Owing to which, the doctors performed a surgery on him and removed those things.
Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Priyank Sharma, surgeon, Sanjay Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Rewa said, “First, Raju went to the local doctors who were unable to diagnose his condition. After which, he visited us. When we saw his x-ray we were shocked. We found nails, a steel chain to tie dogs, blades, glass pieces and coins. It was necessary to perform an appropriate surgery. As it would have been risky for the patient.”
Raju was diagnosed with depression by the psychiatrists. Dr Sharma said, “This is rare, I have never seen anything like this before. I have seen this for the first time. But, he is fine now and will be discharged soon.”
Speaking abour Rajus condition, experts said too said that it is rare and can be treated with cognitive behaviour therapy and psychotherapy.
Dr Avinash DeSousa, co-founder of De Sousa Foundation, Mumbai said, “There is a psychiatric condition called pica, where a person may eat non-nutritive substances, which can be mud, soil, clay, ice, coins and so on. It is done out of a habit. Sometimes, it is a part of the depression. As in depression, certain symptoms known as vegetative symptoms are seen. It is important to treat his depression properly with counseling. Also, the person shouldn’t be given access to those non-nutritive substances, which he tends to eat.”
Arti Shroff, Mumbai-based clinical psychologist said, “It is a rare disorder which is commonly seen more in children, known as pica (a childhood disorder), than in adults. In the case of adults, self harm is the most common reason. This does not necessarily mean that the person may want to commit suicide or be severely depressed. Though, depression and compulsive features may be comorbid to this condition. Whereas, Cognitive behaviour therapy and psychotherapy can be effective in managing it.”