Can Strep Throat Lead to OCD in Kids?


– Can my child actually develop O.C.D. after having strep throat? Can you talk a little bit
about this Dr. Sportelli? – Yes, so the answer is
yes, and this is actually something called P.A.N.D.A.S.,
P-A-N-D-A-S, and it’s not the cute fuzzy ones from
China, this stands for, it’s an acronym, it stands
for Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome
Associated with Strep. What happens here, is that families and parents notice that their child suddenly develops symptoms of O.C.D., so obsessions, compulsions, anxieties, tics similar to Tourette Syndrome, surrounding a strep infection. So, for many years this has been a very controversial diagnosis,
many doctors didn’t really believe in it or would kinda just say, “This doesn’t exist,”
but what happens here is a foreign antigen,
strep, attacks the body, it’s a strep throat infection, right? This antigen looks like the self to the body’s immune
system, so the body’s immune system makes antibodies to
beat up this foreign invader, but guess what it’s doing,
it’s actually attacking the cells of the body in
an autoimmune fashion, in this case, it’s in
the brain, causes mild inflammation in certain areas
and causes these symptoms. – What’s the best way to
go about addressing it? – So, the most important
thing is if your child suddenly develops symptoms
of O.C.D., anxiety, tics, personality changes
that seem to surround a recent strep infection,
make sure you go see your pediatric provider quickly,
because you want to treat this. In most cases, guys, O.C.D.
is something that’s chronic, it comes on gradually, it
lasts a really long time, in these cases, the very big difference is it comes on immediately,
like literally overnight, all of the sudden the
child is experiencing these incredible symptoms,
which is a very stark contrast to how they
were behaving previously. Now, in most cases, when
the infection goes away, the symptoms also go away. – This is not something super
common, is it, Dr. Sportelli? How often might this occur? – You know, it’s really
not super common at all. You know, the numbers that
I’ve reviewed and have seen were somewhere around one out
of 200 kids that experience a strep infection, but don’t forget, it can be very mild
behavioral changes, too, so it’s very, very hard to
really get an accurate number. The truth is, we don’t
see it very often, at all.

4 thoughts on “Can Strep Throat Lead to OCD in Kids?

  1. I heard about this a few years ago and it triggered something in me. I was in my early thirties when I got a strep infection and shortly after developed OCD. It never went away and actually worsened and has ruined my life. I never put these two things together until I heard about this.

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