The Neuropsychiatric Illness You Haven’t Heard Of

By Madeline Dyer: For More Info, Go Here…

My story started six months ago, a couple of weeks after I had a bad kidney infection and what I believed to be flu, when I woke up and felt haunted. Thoughts were racing round and round my head, and I had an inexplicable urge to wash my hands over and over and over.

Even when my skin was cracked and bleeding and my fingers were swollen from so much washing, I couldn’t stop washing my hands. I just had to do it.

I am possessed. There are too many thoughts in my head — they’re crashing into each other, they won’t slow down.

I became obsessive and terrified of absolutely everything, including paperback books. I felt that books were a huge danger to me. I couldn’t touch them, and as a writer, I had a lot of books. I could barely look at them. They seemed like the worst thing in the world, and I ended up donating most of them to charity shops just to get them out of my house as they were triggering my “danger radar” constantly.

I started Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure and Response Prevention Therapy, and then was put on SSRIs. But it wasn’t until six months of living like this (and barely getting better with the therapy and medication), that we discovered I had Paediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and this was causing my OCD.

Paediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) is an immune system disorder where antibodies mistakenly attack the basal ganglia, a part of the brain responsible for motor and movement control as well emotion and behaviour. (Although the P stands for Paediatric, the age limit has been lifted from this illness since its discovery, though it is most commonly seen in children.)

PANS explained all my symptoms — even ones I hadn’t realized were symptoms of it, such as me not liking bright lights and being more clumsy than usual (I even fell in a ditch at the side of the road at one point!).

This disorder is treated through a combination of long-term antibiotics, blood plasma transfusions, an anti-inflammatory diet, SSRIs, and Exposure and Response Prevention therapy.

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