Understanding PANDAS/PANS: A Treatment Guide for Parents

Understanding PANDAS/PANS: A Treatment Guide for Parents

Understanding PANDAS/PANS: A Treatment Guide for Parents 1920 1280 Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.

There are times in life when unexpected changes in our children leave us confused, concerned, and desperately searching for answers. Whether it’s a sudden behavioral shift following a motor vehicle accident or an unexplained decline in your child’s day-to-day activities, these moments can be particularly alarming when they involve our loved ones, especially our children. When our child’s behavior changes dramatically, it can lead to panic and a relentless pursuit of answers. Often, this journey reveals a simple truth: “Our child is not crazy,” but something is undeniably wrong.


PANDAS stand for “Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.” PANDAS had five well defined criteria’s for diagnosis: including rapid onset of OCD, or obvious tics; a well observed and measured relapsing set of episodic symptoms usually at an early age (6-7), neurological abnormalities, shifts in symptoms patterns and Group A Strep (GAS) infections. These defined areas may also be accompanied by symptoms found in PANS.

PANS stands for “Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome.” This is a clinically defined condition usually evident following a sudden onset of OCD (obsessive-compulsive symptoms) or a dramatic change in eating restrictions, along with a rapid behavioral decline in function in at least two defined areas. Comorbid symptoms of PANS may also include: anxiety, increase sensitivity, movement abnormalities, behavioral regression, poor school performance, mood fluctuations and poor bladder control along with sleep disturbance.

For Additional Reference see: pandasppn.org.

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What Causes PANDAS/PANS?

Strep bacteria can hide from the immune system through a process called “molecular mimicry,” making it resemble molecules found in the child’s heart, joints, skin, and brain tissues. This deception allows the bacteria to evade detection for a time. Eventually, the immune system recognizes the strep bacteria as foreign and produces antibodies to attack them. Due to molecular mimicry, these antibodies also attack the child’s own tissues, including the brain, leading to the neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with PANDAS.

What To Do

If you suspect your child may have PANDAS or PANS (Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome), it is crucial to seek professional help. The PANDAS Network (pandasnetwork.org) is a valuable resource for improving the diagnosis and treatment of children with these conditions.

Additionally, the Integrative Medical Institute (IMI) offers consultations and information regarding these disorders as Dr. Ruelas is listed as one of the national providers there. IMI employs a comprehensive multimodal approach that addresses underlying health imbalances and optimizes immunology to manage symptoms effectively.

Treatment for PANDAS/PANS

Initial treatment protocols for PANDAS/PANS are based on extensive research and can be found at pandasppn.org. IMI’s Dr. Ruelas follows a bidirectional multimodal approach to care, focusing on a comprehensive picture of each patient to ensure optimal health and increased immunology. This approach seeks to address foundational health issues that may contribute to symptoms.

Understanding and addressing these complex conditions can help your child on the path to recovery and improved well-being. If you have concerns or questions about PANDAS/PANS, contact the us for more information or to schedule a consultation. You can also learn more on our service page.


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.