PANDAS stands for “Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders”. Children that develop this condition often do so because of the fact that they have recently experienced a streptococcal or “Strep” infection. It has only been in recent years that doctors have been diagnosing this particular condition.
Many parents – even today – do not know or understand this challenging medical condition that results in a child developing obsessive-compulsive disorder. Not only does the child experience the symptoms that are common to obsessive-compulsive disorder, many children will also develop symptoms that resemble those that are common when a person suffers from Tourette's syndrome.
There are many symptoms that may be experienced by a child that is developing PANDAS or has developed PANDAS. The following represent the most commonly experienced:
1. Many children will start out with a throat that is sore and tender. When a child develops a strep infection in the throat, the body's natural defense system will go immediately to work in order to fight the infection that is within the body. Unfortunately, the defense system looks to get a little confused and will start trying to fight important parts of the body – such as the brain.
2. When the immune system starts focusing on the brain as a foreign agent or a danger to the body, it zooms in and starts to work against it. The child may start to develop both physiological symptoms and psychological conditions or changes in the health and the personality due to this issue.
3. Many children will start to develop obsessions. Obsessions are thoughts that are unwanted and considered unpleasant. As a result of these obsessions, it is common for the child to develop certain fears and insecurities about themselves, those that are related to, places they frequent, and possibly others that they know and / or are close to.
4. Once the child starts obsessing over thoughts that plague their mind, they will start to engage in behaviors. Most often, these behaviors are unusual or eccentric to one degree or another. They may count things, line up their toys, wash their hands on a regular basis, pray consistently, or even hoarde items. These behaviors are a coping mechanism for the child. It assists in helping them overcome the thoughts that plague their mind and may even help stop the unforced thoughts from occurring altogether.
5. Many children will display moderate to severe mood swings. This often comes from the anxiety that they experience as far as the obsessive-compulsive disorder from PANDAS is concerned. They may appear to be very sad or very angry. Then, there are some that start to exhibit behaviors that are considered to be highly impulsive and possibly even dangerous. Often, these behaviors have the capability of bringing danger to a child.
If your child is experiencing any of the symptoms associated with the disorder known as PANDAS, it is important to ensure that you seek pediatric and / or psychiatric assistance immediately. There are many treatment options available that will permit the child to experience relief from the anxiety that they experience that resembles obsessive-compulsive disorder.