Many young children with neuro lyme or PANDAS experience brain inflammation and/or an impact onto the brain. Antibodies created to kill infection, become misguided and sometimes end up impacting the brain instead. Saying this out loud sounds really scary, but when you are living with diseases like these, managing the inflammation and outside exposure becomes a normal thing. I am not a physician, but as a therapist and a mom, I could tell when my son's brain was been influenced and when it wasn't. During these times, it was as if his brain was on fire. Keeping him safe during these periods was challenging. Inviting other children to play when he was in this state was risky. I hear stories from parents all the time about the things their children would do on impulse as a result of inflammation or attack and it can be quite sobering.
Young Children experiencng this , often do things they wouldn't normally do, and it is sometimes difficult to anticipate what they will do next. Many children experience OCD type thoughts and behaviors. Couple this with poor judgement and impulse control and maybe even psychosis and you may have a dangerous situation.
Sometimes children will act as if they "have to" do certain things or believe certain things...even if it is not rational or lacks judgement. This can manifest in many ways from heart breaking protest to keep you from leaving them, to running far far away from you...not to anything or any place in particular...just running. Some may try to jump out of a moving car or wear the same things over and over again. It almost feels like someone or something else is in control of your child and it can be very scary.
Inflammation is not something to diagnose and fix on your own. But if you suspect it, there are things you can talk with your doctor about. First things first. Stop the inflammation. I have seen more than one child respond positively to an NSAID like Advil. Some respond to a mixture of an antihistamine and an NSAID. Others need steroids. Even high doses of vitamin C can be effective. Your doctor can help you decide what combination is best in your child's situation. With the right cocktail, I have witnessed hallucinations stop that very day. OCD thoughts become manageable, aggression and impulsivity reduces. Amazing stuff.
Looking at your diet can help too. Gluten and Dairy have become known to produce system wide inflammation. Many who have Lyme disease find a great deal of relief when they eliminate these foods all together.
Picking apart symptoms is crucial if you are going to be able to manage infection in the best possible way. Knowing what you are seeing and detecting patterns can be vital in helping you and your doctor work together to decrease the symptoms. If you suspect inflammation may be occurring with your child, talk to your doctor about testing and management options.
Please feel free to comment or post questions. This blog is for you!
Unless specified, Gabrielle Anderson, lmft is the author of these posts. Gabrielle is a Therapist and the Director at FTC. She is a married mother of 2 and has experienced chronic infection in the practice, herself and in her family.
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