Infections Can Trigger Autoimmune OCD and Other Neuropsychiatric Symptoms

In some individuals, common infections can trigger an autoimmune response, in which antibodies intended to fight the infection mistakenly attack healthy neuronal cells in the basal ganglia region of the brain resulting in the onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms, including OCD-like symptoms.

Grace’s Story: Strep infection triggers OCD and mood swings

Behaviors are so extreme the 5-year-old is suspended from school.

Grace was a healthy, outgoing 5-year-old before she suddenly began having unexplained fits of rage and obsessive-compulsive behaviors so severe that she was suspended from kindergarten.

She was initially diagnosed with ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and other mental disorders.

Grace would develop fevers and become very sick but after she recovered, her behavior would be “atrocious,” her mom said. An incident on her school bus led to Grace being suspended from kindergarten.

“I wouldn’t let a child get off the bus. I didn’t want anyone to sit by me. And I didn’t want anyone going anywhere. I just felt that way,” Grace said.

“The doctors were trying the best they could but they couldn’t find an answer,” her mom said.

After visiting multiple doctors and undergoing numerous tests, Grace visited an immunologist who ordered a test for Group A Strep, which was positive.

She was then tested with the Cunningham Panel™, which supported the diagnosis of Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

“I’ll never forget when we got the email with the results from the Cunningham Panel™. This [supported] what she has. We finally know what she has. We can stop searching,” her mom said.

Once doctors began treating the infection and her immune system, Grace’s symptoms resolved.

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