The Art of Healing: Exploring Natural Treatments For PANDAS

The Art of Healing: Exploring Natural Treatments For PANDAS

The Art of Healing: Exploring Natural Treatments For PANDAS 1920 1080 Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.

Conditions like PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) and PANS (Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) pose significant challenges due to their sudden onset and complex symptomatology, often triggered by infections. These disorders manifest with abrupt neuropsychiatric symptoms such as obsessive-compulsive behaviors, tics, anxiety, and emotional dysregulation, profoundly impacting children’s lives and their families.

Traditional medical approaches typically involve antibiotics and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to manage symptoms and reduce inflammation. However, the evolving landscape of integrative medicine offers natural treatments for PANDAS that address underlying immune dysregulation and systemic imbalances. IMI (Integrative Medical Institute) stands at the forefront with a comprehensive multimodal approach, emphasizing the interconnectedness of body systems and the role of immunology in optimizing patient health.

IMI’s approach integrates natural treatments that harness the healing power of nutrition, herbal supplements, and lifestyle modifications to support immune function and reduce inflammation. By addressing these foundational elements, IMI aims not only to alleviate symptoms but also to enhance overall well-being and resilience against recurrent episodes. This integrative strategy acknowledges the dynamic interplay between physical health, mental well-being, and immune function, paving the way for personalized treatment plans tailored to each child’s unique needs.

At IMI, we believe in empowering families through education and collaboration, recognizing the vital role of family support in managing these complex conditions. By fostering a compassionate and patient-centered environment, IMI strives to provide holistic care that goes beyond symptom management to promote long-term health and quality of life for children affected by PANDAS and PANS.

Understanding PANDAS And PANS

PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) is a subset of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by the abrupt onset of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or tics, typically following a streptococcal infection. This condition primarily affects children between the ages of 6 and 7 years old. The diagnosis of PANDAS is based on specific criteria that include:

  • Rapid Onset of OCD or Tics: Symptoms appear suddenly and escalate rapidly, affecting the child’s behavior and daily functioning.
  • Relapsing Episodic Symptoms: The disorder is marked by recurrent episodes of neuropsychiatric symptoms, often with periods of remission in between.
  • Neurological Abnormalities: These may manifest as motor or sensory abnormalities, such as choreiform movements or sensory processing issues.
  • Shifting Symptom Patterns: Symptoms may fluctuate in severity and type, correlating with periods of exacerbation and improvement.
  • Association with Group A Streptococcal (GAS) Infections: There is a temporal association between streptococcal infections, particularly Group A Streptococcus, and the onset or exacerbation of neuropsychiatric symptoms.

PANS (Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) shares similarities with PANDAS but is broader in scope. It is characterized by the sudden onset of OCD or severe restrictive eating, accompanied by a rapid decline in cognitive and behavioral functioning in at least two domains. Additional symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety: Heightened levels of anxiety and emotional distress.
  • Increased Sensitivity: Heightened sensitivity to sensory stimuli, such as light, sound, or touch.
  • Movement Abnormalities: Motor disturbances, including tics or choreiform movements.
  • Behavioral Regression: Reversion to earlier developmental stages or loss of previously acquired skills.
  • Poor School Performance: Decline in academic abilities and social interactions.
  • Mood Fluctuations: Rapid changes in mood and emotional stability.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Disruptions in sleep patterns, including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Poor Bladder Control: Involuntary urination or issues with bladder function.

Both PANDAS and PANS are considered autoimmune conditions where the body’s immune response, triggered by infections or other environmental factors, mistakenly attacks the brain, leading to neuropsychiatric symptoms. These conditions pose significant challenges in diagnosis and management due to their complex and varied clinical presentations.

Early recognition and intervention are crucial in managing PANDAS and PANS effectively. Treatment approaches often involve a combination of antibiotic therapy to address underlying infections, immunomodulatory treatments to regulate the immune response, and behavioral therapies to manage symptoms and improve overall functioning.

Treatment For PANDAS/PANS

The treatment of PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) and PANS (Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome) involves a multifaceted approach aimed at addressing both the underlying autoimmune response and the neuropsychiatric symptoms experienced by affected children.

Initial Treatment Protocols

Initial treatment protocols for PANDAS/PANS are typically guided by established guidelines and protocols, such as those outlined by organizations like These protocols emphasize early recognition, prompt treatment of underlying streptococcal infections with antibiotics, and symptomatic management of neuropsychiatric symptoms. Antibiotic therapy aims to eradicate the triggering infection, thereby reducing the autoimmune response and alleviating symptoms.

Dr. Ruelas, at the Integrative Medical Institute (IMI), adopts a comprehensive and integrative approach to treating PANDAS/PANS. His treatment paradigm, as detailed in scientific publications like “Science” (February 2024) and “Frontiers of Medical Research: Brain Science” (June 2023), focuses on a bidirectional multimodal multiorgan system of care. This approach recognizes the interconnectedness of various physiological systems and aims to restore balance and enhance immunological function in patients.

Multimodal Treatment Approach

Dr. Ruelas’s treatment approach integrates various modalities to address the complex nature of PANDAS/PANS. It includes:

  • Immunomodulation: Strategies to modulate and regulate the immune response, reducing autoimmune activity and inflammation.
  • Nutritional And Dietary Interventions: Assessing and correcting underlying nutritional deficiencies or imbalances that may contribute to symptom severity.
  • Behavioral And Cognitive Therapies: Providing therapeutic interventions to manage OCD, anxiety, and other behavioral symptoms, improving overall quality of life.
  • Supportive Therapies: Including approaches such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy as needed to address motor and developmental issues.
  • Family Education And Support: Educating and supporting families in understanding the condition, its management, and strategies for coping with the challenges it presents.

Dr. Ruelas also emphasizes the importance of assessing foundational health factors that may predispose individuals to increased symptomatology. This includes evaluating factors such as gut health, nutritional status, and environmental influences to identify and address underlying contributors to the condition.

At IMI, holistic patient care extends beyond symptom management to promote overall health and well-being. Dr. Ruelas and his team prioritize personalized care plans that consider each patient’s unique needs and circumstances, aiming for long-term improvement and stability.


At IMI (Integrative Medical Institute), we are committed to offering compassionate and effective natural treatments for PANDAS. Our holistic approach integrates cutting-edge medical science with the wisdom of natural healing traditions, ensuring that each child receives personalized care aimed at restoring balance and promoting resilience. If your family is seeking integrative solutions for PANDAS, we invite you to explore our services and discover how we can support your child’s journey to health and well-being.


Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.

Dr. Ruelas holds doctoral degrees and is licensed to practice in both medicine and psychology. He approaches his patients by gathering and analyzing data differently from other physician’s moving away from a disease model to a holistic functional model. Read Bio

All articles by : Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.