Has you child had an acute, abrupt, or sudden onset of Obsessive/Compulsive behaviors or have severely restricted their food intake?
It may be Pans or Pandas and there is help!
There are many different types of obsessions and compulsions, and a complete listing is not possible here. Many medical professionals assume OCD is repetitive hand washing. However, OCD consists of many types of obsessions and compulsions. A short, but not full, list of OCD symptoms copied from the Pandas Physician's Network website includes:
- Contamination obsessions (germs, bodily secretions or waste, poisons, animals, environmental contaminants like tobacco, cleansers or any substance). Often, the obsession leads to compulsive washing or cleaning rituals; but, in some cases, the symptoms cause the child to avoid the feared contaminant. In severe cases, even a loving parent may be a contaminant because of “exposure” to the dirty object, and the child will develop complex rituals to avoid contact with the exposed parent.
- Sexual or religious obsessions (fear that God hates them or that they have done something morally offensive)
- Aggressive obsessions of harm to oneself or others
- Repeating compulsions (examples: going in and out of a doorway; switching on/off appliances or light switches; re-reading pages over and over)
- Symmetry and exactness obsessions (examples: books and papers must be properly aligned; every action has to be done exactly the same on the right and left side; the child has to walk exactly in the center of a hallway)
- Ordering / arranging compulsions (example: suddenly placing bathroom items in a particular order and extreme anxiety if they are moved)
- Counting compulsions (examples: having to count ceiling tiles, books, or words spoken)
- Checking compulsions and requests for reassurance (examples: repeatedly asking a parent “is this okay?” or “did I do that right?”)
- Need to touch, tap, or rub (examples: rubbing the back of one’s hand across the table in a certain way, urge to touch rough surfaces)
- Intrusive images, words, music or nonsense sounds (examples: unwanted images, words, or music appear in the mind that do not stop)
- Need to tell, ask, or confess (examples: child needs to tell parent every perceived mistake or sin that day in school; excessive guilt)
- Colors, numbers, or words with special significance (examples: the color black is equated with death and anything black triggers obsessional fears; the number 3 is “lucky” and things have to be repeated three times or 3X3X3 times)
- Ritualized eating behaviors (examples: eating according to a strict ritual; not being able to eat until an exact time)
- Hoarding behaviors (Obsessional concerns about losing something important generalize to the point where nothing can be thrown away, or useless items take on special significance and cannot be discarded.)
I am a member of the PANDAS PHYSICIAN NETWORK. Please visit their website for more information.
PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) occurs when strep activates a misdirected immune response and results in inflammation on a child’s brain. In turn, the child quickly begins to exhibit life changing symptoms such as OCD, anxiety, tics, personality changes, decline in math and handwriting abilities, sensory sensitivities, restrictive eating, and more.
PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) is when an infectious activation, 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.
Traditionally, PANS/PANDAS is treated with a combination of medication, CBT and Exposure Therapy. However, I have found that there is often a history of trauma associated with the initial onset of symptoms and not being in control of their thoughts and movements, being incorrectly diagnosed and numerous negative experiences with physicians and medications, and thoughts and feeling so being "broken", "defective", "not in control of my brain and body". Using EMDR to address these traumas, OCD and other symptoms, I have successfully helped to diagnose, coordinate care with several experts in the field, and work with children and families on their journey to treat children with PANS/PANDAS. I am happy to have a phone consultation to see if I am a good therapeutic fit for your family.