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Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) are severe forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that appear suddenly in children following an infection, often strep throat. These conditions are characterized by an abrupt onset of OCD symptoms, distinguishing them from typical OCD where symptoms develop gradually. Children with PANS or PANDAS may exhibit acute-onset OCD, severe separation anxiety, emotional instability, irritability, bedwetting, and regression in skills like handwriting and academic performance. They may also experience eating restrictions, such as severe fears of contamination, choking, or vomiting, leading to significant weight loss. Diagnosis of PANS or PANDAS requires the sudden onset of OCD or eating disorders, accompanied by at least two other neuropsychiatric symptoms. These disorders are episodic, meaning symptoms can disappear and reappear with new infections. Controversy has surrounded the link between these symptoms and infections, but there is now broader acceptance of their connection. Recognizing the symptoms early and consulting with a healthcare professional can help in managing these conditions effectively. Understanding these disorders is crucial for parents and caregivers to ensure timely and appropriate care for affected childre

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At The Anxiety Center we recognize that treating PANS and PANDAS involves a multidisciplinary approach to address the sudden onset of OCD and other neuropsychiatric symptoms. Treatment focuses on three main areas: managing symptoms, targeting the infection source, and modulating the immune system. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are effective in reducing OCD symptoms and severe anxiety. Antibiotics are used to treat the underlying infection, particularly in cases of PANDAS triggered by strep. To address the immune system's misdirected response, treatments like intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) may be recommended for severe cases. We collaborate closely with other physicians, including immunologists and neurologists, to provide comprehensive care. This collaborative approach ensures that each aspect of the condition is addressed, from psychiatric symptoms to immunological health. Early intervention and a coordinated treatment plan are crucial for improving outcomes and reducing the frequency and severity of episodes.

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