Is this OCD, Anxiety, PANS or PANDAS – I just want my child back!

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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

In 2015 I was giving a lunch and learn about Acupuncture. On my way out a man stopped me and asked if I ever heard of PANS or PANDAS. I said yes. He asked if I could help “save his daughter?” I referred him onto a functional medicine medical doctor. I will never forget the fear and helplessness in his eyes. It was heartbreaking.


PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) occurs when strep triggers a misdirected immune response and results in inflammation on a child’s brain. The hallmark trait for PANDAS is sudden acute and debilitating onset of intense anxiety and mood lability accompanied by Obsessive Compulsive-like issues and/or Tics.


PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) is when an infectious trigger, environmental factors, and other possible triggers create a misdirected immune response results in inflammation on a child’s brain. In turn, the child quickly begins to exhibit life changing symptoms such as OCD, severe restrictive eating, anxiety, tics, personality changes, decline in math and handwriting abilities, sensory sensitivities, and more.


Fast forward to 2018. A patients’ son was diagnosed with PANDAS. The household is vegan. They were told to eat animal protein, and all would be resolved. The parent was devastated by the lack of support from the pediatrician.  In 2019, a different patient’s son, was diagnosed with PANS. They are not a vegan household. This child was offered penicillin. 


Both cases have not resolved to 100%. Meaning, their child isn’t back to what the parent would say is “their child’s normal.”  According to their parents, both cases though, are more than 50% better. Which means they can  interact with other kids, ingest foods without immediately thinking it will kill them, and resolve with techniques their triggers half of the time. 


I am providing this blog post for all parents going through difficult times with being heard, silenced and ignored. PANS and PANDAS is real. The name is goofy but the seriousness of it is deadly. Parents you are not alone. Your challenges maneuvering within a traditional healthcare system are real. Your child’s struggle is real. And, no, they can’t help themselves from throwing stuff or just stop rubbing their fingers together. The trigger is controlling them. 


Full disclosure: I am not the parent of these children. I do not have a pediatric practice. However, I treat parents just like you, who are depleted, disappointed and frustrated with the medical diagnosis called PANS and PANDAS. The diagnosis name on its own makes you think they aren’t taking your child seriously. In our office, we see and hear how you struggle as a parent, spouse and employee when you have a child diagnosed with this health concern. I write this blog post so you know not to give up, and to keep fighting the good fight. There is help for your child. There are steps you can take to get your child back! Below are resources that our families have used. In addition to Penicillin, there are other things, tests and protocols you can do to support your PANS/PANDA child.




Resilience Homeopathy resource


Functional Medicine resource


do Terra Essential Oils




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