PANDAS is a recently described disorder expanded as a Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infections. Dr. Susan Swedo (a researcher in the field of pediatrics and neuropsychiatry) coined the term PANDAS in the year 1998. PANDAS is diagnosed when there is an abrupt, sudden onset or worsening of neuropsychiatric symptoms like OCD, or tics following a strep infection.
Arsenic, Hyoscyamus, and Agaricus are the top homeopathic remedies for PANDAS that help treat a range of associated symptoms like tics and OCD.
It is estimated that PANDAS accounts for approximately 1-200 cases of OCD in children every year. Some researchers suggest categorizing PANDAS under PANS (pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric symptoms) or CANS (childhood acute neuropsychiatric symptoms). PANDAS is a pediatric disorder, and the children between the ages of 3 years to puberty are chiefly affected by this disorder. It is very unlikely that an adult would suffer neuropsychiatric symptoms following a streptococcal infection.
SYMPTOMS OF PANDAS
Symptoms and signs of PANDAS have been reported to vary widely from child to child and can involve a combination of psychological and neurological conditions. The symptoms are thought to start suddenly and occur in episodes. They seem to last for a few days or weeks, then go away and return.
Psychological symptoms that have been reported to occur with PANDAS have included:
- Anxiety or depression.
- Changes in mood or personality, especially sudden rage or irritability.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Disinterest in food.
- Fidgeting and symptoms similar to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder-like behavior.
- Separation anxiety.
- Tics similar to those of Tourette syndrome.
Neurological symptoms that have been reported to be associated with PANDAS include:
- Changes in motor skills (muscle movements), such as problems with handwriting.
- Difficulty concentrating or learning.
- Poor performance in school.
- Reduced coordination.
- Sensitivity to light and sound.
CAUSES OF PANDAS
Some believe that PANDAS occurs when child’s immune system produces antibodies to fight the bacteria that caused a strep infection. But the antibodies may also mistakenly attack healthy cells in other tissues because the cells mimic those of the strep infection. Some believe that antibodies affect tissues in your child’s brain, leading to the psychological and neurological symptoms sometimes reported.
DIAGNOSING OF PANDAS
There are no laboratory tests available that can diagnose a given case of PANDAS. PANDAS is suspected in a child based on the sudden onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms following a streptococcal infection. Following are the guidelines that help in diagnosing PANDAS:
1. Presence of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and/or multiple tics.
2. Very sudden and abrupt onset/ worsening of symptoms.
3. The onset of the symptoms between age 3yrs to pubertal age group.
4. Association with group A streptococcal infection.
5. Neurological abnormalities (physical hyperactivity or unusual jerky movements).
PREVENTION OF PANDAS
The best way to prevent any illness thought to be associated with an infection is to prevent the infection from occurring in the first place. Encourage your child to practice good hygiene by:
ü Covering their nose and mouth with a tissue or their elbow when they cough or sneeze.
ü Not sharing food, drinks or personal items, such as toothbrushes.
ü Washing their hands frequently and using hand sanitizer whenever possible.
HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT OF PANDAS
Homeopathic system of medicines is highly safe and effective for many of the neuropsychiatric problems, including PANDAS. The homeopathic medicines treat the condition from the roots, thus bringing excellent recoveries in cases of PANDAS. The homeopathic medicines used for PANDAS treatment are prepared from natural substances and thus are safe and cause no side effects. The homeopathic medicines focus on treating the prominent symptoms present in each case of PANDAS-like OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), tics, and ADHD symptoms. The medicines also help in treating the associated symptoms like the mood changes, sleeping troubles, bedwetting, anxiety issues and varying sensitivities (to touch, light, sound). The most appropriate homeopathic medicine for PANDAS is selected as per the symptom presentation in every given individual case.
Many homeopathic medicines are used to treat PANDAS symptomatically. These are indicated as per the symptom presentation for PANDAS.
Arsenic Album and Hyoscyamus Niger – Natural Treatment for OCD due to PANDAS
The homeopathic medicines best indicated for treating symptoms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) in PANDAS are Arsenic Album and Hyoscyamus Niger.
Arsenic Album works well when the main symptoms include frequent and repetitive hand washing and anxiety issues in children with PANDAS. Homeopathic medicine Hyoscyamus Niger is indicated when the child shows ritualistic behaviors and repeats the same actions frequently. Other attending features include restlessness, playing with the fingers and picking at the bedclothes. Violent behavior like biting, scratching the attendants may be noted. Sudden weeping spells or alternate laughing and sadness may also be present.
Agaricus Muscarius and Cina Maritima – Natural Medicine for Tics due to PANDAS
Agaricus Muscarius and Cina Maritima are effective homeopathic medicines for treating tics in PANDAS. Agaricus Muscarius is a natural remedy for twitching of eyes in children who have PANDAS.
Cina Maritima is another suitable medicine for treating tics where twitching and jerking of various muscles is present. The child may also produce grunting sounds along with the twitching. Other accompanying symptoms include irritability and violent screaming, especially during the night. Cina Maritima is also indicated when the child shows a tendency to strike, bite and scream excessively.
Tuberculinum Bovinum and Veratrum Album – Natural for treating ADHD symptoms due to PANDAS
Tuberculinum Bovinum and Veratrum Album are helpful homeopathic medicines for treating ADHD symptoms in PANDAS. Tuberculinum Bovinum is well indicated when the child is very hyperactive and extremely restless. It is also indicated when the child wakes up during the night, screaming with restlessness.
Veratrum Album is used in cases where impulsive behavior is well marked along with restlessness. There is a tendency to cut and tear things. Excessive shrieking may also be present.
Ignatia Amara and Chamomilla – Effective Homeopathic Treatment for Mood Changes due to PANDAS
Ignatia Amara and Chamomilla are effective homeopathic medicines for treating symptoms related to mood changes in PANDAS. Homeopathic medicine Ignatia Amara is useful when the child remains very sad, unhappy and tearful. Such children also show an aversion to talking. In some cases, the child shows rapid alternation between the mood from sadness to happiness and vice versa.
Chamomilla is the indicated remedy when a child is highly irritable and snappish. Extreme sensitivity to noise is noted, and the child tends to be very cross, spiteful and uses violent language while talking.
The child needing Chamomilla also throws temper tantrums. Clinginess and a desire to be carried by the mother may be predominantly noted. This remedy is very effective in treating separation anxiety seen in children having PANDAS.
Kali Phos – Natural Treatment for Sleep Problems due to PANDAS
Kali Phos is an effective homeopathic medicine for treating sleep troubles in children having PANDAS. This remedy helps treat restlessness and sleeplessness in children with PANDAS. Sighing and moaning in sleep is also treated well with Kali Phos. The child needing Kali Phos may be very oversensitive. Fits of crying and laughing suddenly are other indicating features. This remedy is also helpful to help in treating bedwetting issue in children with PANDAS.
Baryta Carb – Natural Treatment for Developmental Issues in Children having PANDAS
Baryta Carb is an effective homeopathic medicine for children with PANDAS showing developmental regression. The child requiring Baryta Carb starts behaving in a manner that seems to be suited to someone much younger than his/her age. Symptoms like dullness of mind, slow mental grasp, and difficult concentration are also present. In some cases, the memory may begin to decline. The child also starts fearing strangers and unfamiliar faces.