PANDAS: A Scary and Controversial Disorder

7 Signs of PANDAS

  1. Developmental regression A child may suddenly start acting much younger than his actual age. He'll often throw temper tantrums or revert to baby talk.
  2. Acute severe onset of ritual behaviors The child suddenly engages in frequent hand-washing (a common symptom of OCD) or can't come to the dinner table without bringing nine specific books, for example
  3. Tics These can be vocal or motor and may include head shrugging, throat clearing, and eye twitching or rolling.
  4. Severe anxiety She may no longer want to attend school, or she suddenly has fears about catching illnesses.
  5. Separation anxiety A child who slept in his own bed now must be in yours, for instance.
  6. Bedwetting and frequent daytime urination The child needs to use the bathroom several times per hour or suddenly starts wetting the bed again, even over the age of 8.
  7. A sudden backslide in handwriting or drawing skills The motor abnormalities caused by PANDAS can interfere with a child's fine motor skills.

Originally published in the April 2012 issue of Parents magazine.

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