PANDAS Syndrome: What to Know About It

Pandas syndrome what to know about it
February 9, 2022

What is Pandas Syndrome?

PANDAS is an acronym for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric diseases associated with streptococcus. Following infection with Streptococcus pyogenes, children experience abrupt and typically substantial changes in personality, behavior, and mobility.

The majority of people who contract strep make a full recovery. However, a few weeks following infection, some younger people may experience abrupt physical and psychological problems. These symptoms tend to worsen quickly once they begin.

PANDAS Syndrome Symptoms

PANDAS symptoms appear abruptly, four to six weeks after a strep infection.

Psychological symptoms may include:

  • Obsessive, compulsive, and repetitive behaviors
  • Separation anxiety, fear, and panic attacks
  • Incessant screaming and frequent mood changes
  • Emotional and developmental regression
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts

Physical symptoms may include:

  • Tics and unusual movements
  • Sensitivities to light, sound, and touch
  • Deterioration of motor skills
  • Hyperactivity or an inability to focus
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble sleeping

Also read: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Everything You Need to Know

Causes of PANDAS Syndrome

The specific cause of PANDAS is still being investigated. According to one theory, it might be caused due to an inadequate immunological response to a strep infection. This is because strep bacteria are extremely adept at evading the immune system’s detection. They camouflage themselves using chemicals that resemble those found in the human body and affect your brain.

How is PANDAS Syndrome Diagnosed

There is currently no lab test that can diagnose PANDAS. Doctors usually depend on the reported symptoms and medical history of the kid. However, doctors will perform a throat examination to see if your child has an active strep infection in many cases. If the test comes back negative, the infection may be hidden elsewhere, like the genitals, and further testing will be required.

What is the Difference Between PANS And PANDAS?

The start of OCD symptoms or disordered eating following an illness or other immune system trigger is PANS (acute neuropsychiatric disorders). On the other hand, PANDAS is a subgroup of problems caused by Group A strep infections in children. While both PANS and PANDAS is common in children, PANS can also occur in adults.

What is the Relationship Between Pandas and Autism?

PANDAS does not appear to be more common in children with autism than in other children. However, PANDAS may be difficult to diagnose in kids with autism due to the overlapping symptoms. It might also be misdiagnosed as classic OCD, which frequently co-occurs with autism.

Generally, the quick onset of symptoms separates PANDAS from autistic symptoms or typical OCD. This might involve new concerns and obsessive habits, as previously indicated.

Treatment for PANDAS

PANDAS is treated by addressing both physical and psychological symptoms. To begin, your physician will ensure that the strep infection has been entirely resolved. We recommend consulting a registered mental health practitioner experienced with OCD and PANDAS.

Antibiotics help many children, and their symptoms improve or disappear. This isn’t always the case, though. When antibiotic treatment fails to relieve the child’s symptoms, they may require counseling and other long-term assistance. PANDAS is not a fatal illness, but it can hurt a child’s quality of life.

If your child is suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above, or if you need help to treat your child from PANDAS syndrome, contact us today. At the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, we have got a team of professional doctors who are committed to taking full care of you and your loved ones for a better quality of life.