With support from leading Harvard Medical School psychiatrist, Dr. Michael Jenike, countless parents, advocates and members of the medical community with the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF) NEEDS to educate parents, physicians, school nurses, therapist’s, psychiatrist’s, etc. about infections which can trigger mental illnesses like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and much more.

PANDAS and PANS may result from untreated infections such as Strep, Lyme, Mycoplasma, H1N1 and Mono. Our bodies immune system is a complex cascade of mechanism’s to specifically protect against infection. One major component of this cascade is the production of antibodies which ‘attack’ invading infectious agents. However, in PANS, formerly PANDAS, these antibodies can sometimes mistakenly attack a specific area of the brain, in addition to the invading organism. The area of the brain which becomes attacked is responsible for regulation of emotions, behaviors, physical movements, etc. The result of this mistaken attack is often manifested by sudden, severe onset of OCD like behavior’s and/or other mental illnesses such as eating disorders, tics, etc..

In addition to OCD, signs of PANDAS or PANS can include a child who suddenly behaves like a much younger child or who suddenly cannot separate from a parent. Children may begin bed-wetting again or develop daytime urinary urgency, tics, and/or a worsening of motor skills or handwriting. Parents often say, “This is not my child. She was not like this yesterday.”

If anyone recognizes these symptoms developing seemingly overnight, along with a glaring change in the child’s personality and/or behavior, they should immediately have their child tested for the aforementioned causation illnesses. If positive, any active infections MUST be immediately treated with antibiotics in order to counteract these symptoms resulting in PANS. If tests are negative, perhaps, titer levels need be assessed.

Dr. Michael Jenike, of the Harvard Medical School and Chair of the International OCD Foundation Scientific Advisory Board, is featured in a separate video message that targets fellow physicians. Unfortunately, due to a lack of awareness, many doctors around the country do not know how to properly treat children exhibiting PANS/PANDAS symptoms. Dr. Jenike’s video PSA message speaks to doctors nationwide, and urges them to learn more about the disorder and how to effectively treat it.

“Often a course of antibiotics can eliminate the psychiatric symptoms and may save a child from lifelong mental illness,” says Jenike.

To learn more about PANDAS and PANS, please visit the IOCDF’s website, http://www.ocfoundation.org



Foremost, I am an OCD awareness, treatment and long-term recovery: advocate, spokesperson, consultant, supporter, and educator. I am the mother and sole provider of care for an amazingly smart, witty, charismatic, 13 year old daughter, Alexandra, who was severely debilitated by OCD. The apex of Alexandra’s journey to simply be like ‘normal’ people is marked by her recent, astonishing ascent from the subterranean bowels of OCD Hell she has inhabited for as long as she can remember, to becoming freed to, once again, walk alongside and among the “land of the living.” Over these past nine years and all the realizations I’ve made regarding the mental health system, its profession and providers, society’s stigmas, discrimination, accusations, insurance debacles and all else involved, I’ve been making belief, someone, someday will help my progressively declining child who’s Y-BOCS consistently remained between 34 and 40 for the past 6 whole years! Until this past April, she and I have been on an endless quest for proper treatment which would help to alleviate and, ultimately, release her from the incomprehensibly horrific, all-consuming, self-harming, isolated purgatory from which she was ever-increasingly, perpetually trapped by her obsessions and rituals. Earlier this year, our seemingly last hope for help was to be an extended stay at Rogers Memorial but after months of fighting with her 2 insurance companies over denying coverage for admittance, I was at my wits end, again! Having immersed myself into the global OCD community for many years seeking help, advice, guidance, etc., I came across a post seeking beta study participants using an app for ERP. Immediately, I applied for my daughter. The director/doctor was very hesitant as Alex’s OCD was so extreme. However, with a lot of persuasion, a remarkably wise and kind doctor, as well as, an enormous ‘leap of faith,’ we began using the app from LiveOCDFree. She has been diligently working with the Live OCD Free app for the past 3 months. During this short time, with much hard work and determination, she has achieved remarkable progress against her, previously omnipresent, OCD symptoms! Her OCD had forced her into seclusion, isolation, and painful 4+ hour ritualistic decontamination showers and had even left her unable to touch or breathe the air of those she loves. Remarkably, Alexandra can now walk anywhere and touch almost everything freely. She can hug and spend time with loved-ones and friends without decontaminating. Ali’s showers are now only 25-minutes and do not involve any painful rituals. She continues to work to conquer her remaining OCD issues and anticipates, in time, a full recovery from the OCD which has plagued her since the age of four. Alexandra, and I, want nothing more than to lead a revolution against this insidious, debilitating monster we call OCD! To help others see how much hope there is with proper treatment, she and I are documenting her OCD recovery process and history through Facebook.com/ LiveOCDFree, Twitter: LiveOCDFree, YouTube.com/LiveOCDFree, OCDKids.wordpress.com and LiveOCDFree.com. Please, join and /or follow her journey so you can be aware of OCD, too. View all posts by LISA DOUGLAS

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