What mental disorders involving feces?

Answered by Cody Janus

There are several mental disorders that have been associated with the ingestion of feces, known as coprophagia. It is important to note that coprophagia is considered a variant of pica, which is a pattern of eating non-food substances. Coprophagia can be seen in both medical and psychiatric disorders, and I will discuss some of the specific mental disorders that have been linked to this behavior.

1. Mental Retardation: Coprophagia has been observed in individuals with mental retardation, also known as intellectual disability. People with intellectual disabilities may engage in coprophagia due to a lack of impulse control or difficulty understanding socially appropriate behavior.

2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD is a mental disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. In some cases, individuals with OCD may develop obsessions or compulsions related to feces, which can include coprophagia. This behavior may be driven by a need for cleanliness or fear of contamination.

3. Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that affects a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Coprophagia has been reported in individuals with schizophrenia, although it is relatively rare. This behavior may be associated with disorganized thinking and impaired judgment seen in some individuals with schizophrenia.

4. Schizoaffective Disorder: Schizoaffective disorder is characterized by symptoms of both schizophrenia and mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder. Coprophagia has been reported in some individuals with schizoaffective disorder, although the exact reasons for this behavior are not fully understood.

5. Alcoholism: Chronic alcohol abuse can lead to various cognitive impairments and psychiatric symptoms. Coprophagia has been reported in individuals with alcoholism, although it is not a common symptom. It may be associated with the overall cognitive decline and impaired judgment seen in severe cases of alcoholism.

It is important to note that coprophagia can also occur in individuals without any specific mental disorder. In some cases, coprophagia may be a result of sensory-seeking behavior or simply a learned behavior. However, when coprophagia is observed, it is crucial to explore and evaluate for any underlying medical or psychiatric conditions that may be contributing to this behavior.

It is worth mentioning that coprophagia can pose serious health risks, including the transmission of infectious diseases and intestinal parasites. Therefore, it is essential to seek professional help if coprophagia is observed in an individual, regardless of whether it is associated with a specific mental disorder or not.