He has "severe temper tantrums, extreme obsessive behaviors to the point where he can't get his homework done because he says he can't write anymore". He isn't sleeping or eating much and "cries out of frustration". She also described him as being "intensely anxious" to the point that he cannot be left alone, that he screams constantly and complains about bright lights and loud noises".
Mother did not indicate that he had been ill or even complained of a sore throat, but I'm suspicious he has PANDAS or PANS.
PANDAS stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder after Strep (or "associated with Strep") and PANS stands for Pediatric Acute onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome. PANS appears to be the term evolving to describe the group of psychiatric behaviors after an infection, not just those associated with strep.
The obsessive behaviors peak (but continue) about 2-3 days after the strep/other infection takes hold. However, if your child has had a strep infection within the past 4-6 weeks, they can still erupt with these behaviors. You've forgotten about the strep infection and if you did remember that your child had a cold or flu or whatever, you don't think the bizarre behaviors are related.
When strep hits some kids, their immune systems generate a faulty response, whereby antibodies seem to run amuck, creating serious psychiatric symptoms which are confusing to parents because they "just show up".
These kids, usually between ages 3 and 12, need immediate medical treatment because of the potential for lifelong problems with cognition (thinking) and the possible development of a chronic autoimmune problem...both "big ticket" items.
This condition is dangerous because it impacts the basal ganglia which is the part of the brain involved in purposeful motor movement such as feeding, writing, self-care (dressing, tooth-brushing, etc.) learning, eye movements, cognition and emotions. Untreated PANDAS/PANS leads to lesions on the basal ganglia which may lead to those permanent side-effects.
I've had 3 clients in my practice end up with a diagnosis of PANDAS. At the time, PANDAS was less well-known than it is today and it took some fancy dancing to get my first client evaluated which led to a diagnosis, but did not protect him from permanent disability.
Now, what to do. Get your kid into see the pediatrician. If the pediatrician cannot see your kids for days, go to a pediatric-certified emergency room. Get the strep treated immediately so the body can stop creating these damaging antibodies.
Depending on the level of psychiatric symptoms, your child may be given a prescription of Prozac, which is a SSRI antidepressant that is effective for the pediatric population and for obsessive behaviors and anxiety.
If the symptoms do not subside, your child may be given a short-course of steroids and then, possibly a blood plasma exchange in the form of intravenous immunoglobulin.
If your child has been sick in the past 2 months and has a sudden decline with the behaviors listed in the link below, act FAST.
This autoimmune condition typically strikes in late fall and early winter, so perk up your ears and pay attention. Tell others.
Here's the link to the PANDAS Network which is a terrific resource.
Look at the packaging if it's available. If it doesn't contain food products such as acacia, sugar, cornstarch or color additives, it's probably not safe to eat.
At a party and can't check the label? Pick it off and toss it.
And, by the way, the FDA posted an additional warning last November because "food glitter" has taken over as a trend. This isn't anything new, in 2014, the reputable MarketWatch reported that some people were swallowing "glitter pills" to make their poop sparkle. Bored, much?
What's causing this? Endocrine disruptors are responsible. Those are the chemicals in many, many personal hygiene and appearance products that are used to improve the look and feel of the product. But, using them comes at a high price since they interfere with the body's natural hormone regulation. Nowadays, girls as young as 8 are experiencing "precocious puberty".
What should you stay away from if you're pregnant? Stay away from
Parabens have the strongest impact since they cause girls to develop breasts, pubic hair and have their first menstruation period about one month sooner.
And, it's not just a precocious puberty you get in the bargain. Those girls who experience early puberty increase their long-term risks for breast and ovarian cancer and have negative impacts on their mental health in the form of risk-taking during adolescence.
Think it's not a problem for you? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey's latest results show that 96% of women had these chemicals in their bodies.
Your best bet? If you're considering getting pregnant, carefully examine products to see if they contain the endocrine disruptor chemicals. Check out your:
No studies have confirmed the same kind of impact on a male child's pubertal development.
You go, Sarah!. Let's also give a shout out to Terri Valentini who is the first female instant replay official. She'll make history today when she will work the playoff game between the Colts and the Chiefs.
They're gonna be grrrr-eat!
If your daughter is interested in football, but you don't want her to play, maybe she can be a ref!! Yee-haw!
Want more? Here's a YouTube.
Before you laugh (like I did!), just remember that human touch stimulates the release of oxytocin, the "love hormone", which creates bonding. Women have more naturally-occurring oxytocin than men and in those men who are monogamous, it's designed to enhance bonding! Who knew?!
Anyway, look at the trend. We have folks hiring nannies to take care of them and not their kids. We have adult bedtime stories on the Calm app, and now, we have cuddlers.
I'm really embarrassed to tell you this, but I thought it was ridiculous until I realized all of that information in my mind about those folks who are "skin starved" and who've never gotten enough of what (typically) Mommas offer in terms of nurturance. Ashley Montague, a sociologist, wrote one of the most fascinating books I've ever read and it was published long before we knew the science of skin. His book is called, "Touching...The Significance of Human Skin".
Anyway, I've stopped laughing and now, applaud those folks who are getting what they need. No side effects, not hurting anybody in their quest, just using common sense and an acknowledgement of their needs.
Yay, people!! Proud of you!!
A Momma sent a question over the DrClaudia.net "Ask Me" button about her 12-year old daughter who has ADHD and is "a mess" in terms of organization and self-care.
I explained how executive functioning deficits, especially those related to
- self-monitoring (paying attention to what you're doing)
- time management
- starting tasks (initiation)
- completing tasks, (task persistence), and
- refraining from inappropriate behavior (inhibiting)
..."subtract" from her intelligence. She cannot show "what she knows how to do". She's probably one of those kids who is always saying, "I know, I know" because she knows, she just doesn't do it.
I say that there is a gap between "knowledge and execution". We do this kind of thing frequently when we eat fatty foods, drink too much, spend too much and on and on.
I explained to Mom that the family (and her daughter) need to be protected from her carelessness, so strict limitations such as no cooking, no eating outside of the kitchen and other restrictions need to be in place and practiced to the level of mastery.
As she practices and as her neurology continues to mature, she'll "get there", but will need a lot lot lot of time. Momma needs to do a lot of hand-over-hand practice. Make no assumptions!
Mother needs to educate herself about executive functioning skills, find ways to get her daughter to have "successful practice", and reward her for success.
Mother can benefit from an article I wrote called ADHD. Oh, there's so much more to it than you ever thought.
Momma needs to become an expert in the ways in which ADHD impacts her daughter because she then, can go on to explain to others so they can help, too.
I created a Parenting Pointer about this same subject of "subtracting from your IQ".
That's it! Good luck out there!
Join me on Facebook at Dr. Claudia McCulloch.
At DrClaudia.net, click on the "Ask Me" button and send me a question.
Sign up for the Sunday newsletter. Don't miss a thing!