How Common Infections in Children Can Cause Psychiatric Disorders

According to a report by The Economist, paediatric autoimmune-neuropsychiatric disorders
associated with streptococcus (PANDAS), or common symptoms like strep throat or scarlet
fever that appear suddenly after a streptococcal (strep) infection, can cause psychiatric
illness in children.
A September 2007 article about seven-year-old Garrett Pohlman emphasized this. He cried
as he entered the house after returning from school one day, telling his mother inanely that
radiation was flowing through the house's electrical plugs. He also warned them that if they
went outside, birds would eat them.
These statements were accompanied by strange facial expressions. The young youngster
would twitch his arms and legs while sticking out his tongue. Garrett had been an ordinary
boy the previous day. The paranoia and the tics had both come on suddenly, but they
turned out to be the beginning of a terrifying mental decline, according to The Economist.
Garrett, though, ended up being fortunate. A bacterial sinus infection was found after a
scan. In addition to curing the infection, antibiotics significantly improved his psychological
symptoms. PANDAS had been a problem for Garrett.
Describe PANDAS.
A condition known as PANDAS is connected to streptococcal infections. When tic disorder,
obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or both suddenly occur after a streptococcal (strep)
infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever, a child may be diagnosed with PANDAS.
Following a strep infection, OCD or tic symptoms deteriorate abruptly. The symptoms can
include motor or vocal tics or both, obsessions or compulsions, or both. They are frequently
dramatic, appear "overnight and out of the blue," and can include both. Children may also

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exhibit moodiness or irritability, anxiety attacks, or worry about being separated from
parents or other loved ones in addition to these symptoms.
What brings on PANDAS?
Ancient bacteria called strep from diseases hide from the immune system as long as they
can to survive in their human hosts. They conceal themselves by adding molecules to their
cell walls that resemble those found in the child's heart, joints, skin, and brain tissues in
almost every way. The "molecular mimicry" that the strep bacteria use to hide permits them
to avoid detection for a considerable amount of time.

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