PANDAS

Fairfield Family Health

Integrative Medicine Clinic & Lyme Disease Specialists located in Fairfield, CT

PANDAS is the acronym for one of the most confusing and distressing problems a parent can face, as it causes a sudden and severe change in their child’s emotional and behavioral health. The doctors at Fairfield Family Health are uniquely equipped to help children with PANDAS with natural treatments that relieve symptoms by restoring health and balance to your child without causing side effects. If you need help with your child’s health, call the office in Fairfield, Connecticut, or schedule an appointment online.

PANDAS Q & A

What symptoms define PANDAS?

You’ll understand why everyone uses the acronym when you learn what PANDAS stands for: pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infection.

PANDAS is a neuropsychiatric disorder that occurs after the age of three and before puberty. The condition is diagnosed when:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or a tic disorder suddenly appear following a strep infection
  • Symptoms of preexisting OCD or tic disorder worsen following a strep infection


Children with PANDAS develop psychological and behavioral problems such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Hyperactivity
  • Inattentiveness
  • Night terrors
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Oppositional behaviors
  • Changes in motor abilities like handwriting


The symptoms of PANDAS develop dramatically and suddenly, often appearing overnight.

What causes PANDAS?

Researchers believe that PANDAS is caused by the body’s immune reaction to a strep infection rather than the actual infection. In some cases, the onset of PANDAS is the first sign of an underlying infection.

You may not associate your child’s abrupt behavioral and emotional changes with an illness because they can carry strep without developing symptoms. It may sound odd that your child can have a strep infection without symptoms, but the strep bacteria can hide itself and live inside your body without triggering an immune response.

Here’s another example. The same type of strep that gives rise to PANDAS also causes pharyngitis. The bacteria can thrive in the pharynx without causing signs of disease — until sudden complications like an abscess or rheumatic fever arise.

What treatments are available for PANDAS?

The first step is to determine the underlying cause of your child’s behavior. PANDAS isn’t the only disease that can cause OCD and tics. Your doctor at Fairfield Family Health performs specialized testing to rule out other possibilities, such as Lyme disease.

Treatment for PANDAS includes several therapies to heal your child’s immune system, eliminate the bacteria, reduce inflammation, and restore balance. As naturopathic specialists, the team at Fairfield Family Health believes in the medical value of food and nutrition, so part of your child’s treatment includes a healthy eating plan, vitamins, and supplements.

Your child may also receive herbal medicine or homeopathic mixtures to fight the bacteria, strengthen their immune system, and generally support their overall health.

If your child develops sudden, unexplainable behavioral and emotional changes, call Fairfield Family Health or book an appointment online.