Pandas – Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infection – is an illness that is becoming more prevalent in modern times. Pandas is a mix of psychological and physical symptoms made worse during times of infection and stress. It is most common in boys aged two to twenty but increasing numbers of girls are also being affected. Symptoms include irrational fears especially of contamination, physical tics, erratic emotional states and obsessive behaviours. The “S” in Pandas (the streptococcus bacteria) is found in many cases and is the reason that antibiotics and anti-inflammatories are the main treatment of conventional medicine. Although this illness may stem from and is generally associated with a bacterial infection, especially during acute episodes (flares), Pandas affects the whole constitution of the patient from the physical state to emotional wellbeing, right through to the ability to learn and interact with others.
A child with Pandas is generally in a state where they are far from reaching their own potential. Sometimes this shortfall is academic, while in other children it may be social or physical. As every year goes by they miss crucial periods of development both social and psychological. They fall behind their peers and sometimes become more isolated and anti-social as time progresses. Some find it hard to make friends while others have difficulties learning and often have to leave conventional education to be home schooled or enter a special school. They miss frequent periods of education due to bouts of acute infections and for many Pandas kids it can seem that each bout of infection leaves them more prone to another shortly after. These episodes are referred to as ‘flares’ and often involve associated episodes of anger, depression and even rage as the infection affects both their body and their brain.
In an attempt to reduce any dietary inflammatory factors, parents often take gluten products and dairy out of the child’s diet as both are known to cause inflammation in sensitive individuals. Often this change of diet results in improvement, especially in the short term, but rarely does it hold the illness at bay for extended periods. At some point symptoms will resume and despite constant adjustments to diet, changing food alone – although extremely helpful – is usually not enough to bring the Pandas child back to full strength.
Homeopathy has a special place in the treatment of Pandas. In combination with a healthy diet based on whole fresh foods, fresh air, quality sleep and exercise, the Pandas child can be brought back to their full potential. All these factors, including homeopathy, have one thing in common; energy. Whole fresh food provides two important factors – a balanced nutritional intake and the release of energy. Whole fresh foods are usually “live” foods and living substances release energy. Exercise allows energy to flow through the body, while moving muscles release stored energy. Fresh air energises the lungs and improves blood flow, while quality sleep rejuvenates and restores via an energetic process that is known to be more complete than just rest alone; yet the process of how all this happens still eludes science. Sleep is amazing in that we spend (or should spend) one third of our life asleep and yet we often don’t give it the place of importance that it deserves. Sleep is another energetic component that is really important to living a healthy life and building the body to withstand disease.
Homeopathy is an energetic medicine, and like the mechanism of sleep, no-one quite knows how or why it works. There are new insights developing as science delves into the inner world of quantum physics but the exact pathway is still unknown. However not knowing how or why something works has never stopped humans from utilising outcomes and Homeopathy is no different. It has a rich and successful 200-year history that has spread worldwide and been embraced from the household to the hospital. Both non-toxic and effective, the correct use of homeopathy can be a turning point on the road to healing for the Pandas child.
There are three ways to approach illness or any health problem.
Replenishment (which is a form of resistance) is where a patient is nurtured and ‘re-built’ to become the strongest form of themselves. An outcome of rebuilding is that the host becomes strong enough to deal with stresses in the environment including unwelcome bacteria. During treatment the inherent personality and character remains unchanged but the patient become their best self.
Repulsion is where the problem or stress (eg the bacteria) is targeted for removal. It is encouraged to leave through various means. When using homeopathy in this way the energy of the remedy is matched to the energy of the invader and a ‘repulsion’ occurs. Similar to placing the ends of a magnet to the same ends of another magnet, the two forces repel one another. This approach has been used through-out homeopathy’s history to remove acute contagious illnesses of both viral and bacterial origin.
Destruction is usually the third approach once the other two methods have failed. When an invading virus, parasite or bacteria is taking over the host, and the host doesn’t have the resources or time to resist or even to repel, this method is employed by conventional medicine. Destruction as a line of attack should always be the last position. Killing bacteria using antibiotics is essential if the patient isn’t responding to the first two approaches, however using a destructive approach on a regular basis will weaken the host and lead to future problems.
Homeopathy does not work in a destructive way but it is an effective way of resisting or repelling through the use of energy. Many homeopaths favour the acute approach when treating Pandas as it is easier to target specific problems and attempt to repel them one by one. However, the Pandas patient rarely builds up the strength needed for future resistance using this methodology alone, and as a result the patient may often only experience momentary periods of relief. This is because Pandas is much more than an acute flare up of symptoms. Even though for some, the origin of Pandas may stem from a single bacterial episode, once the syndrome begins the outcome is far more severe than an acute episode. The reason the patient succumbed so seriously at the time of the original episode, and then continued to be affected so severely, is because their system was not strong enough to repel the bacteria effectively from the beginning. The fact that Pandas symptoms remain after the infection is over shows that the patient’s system is still not strong enough to return back into balance. Repelling or destroying the bacteria by itself is simply not enough.
Pandas is best treated through building up the body. A strong body has an equally strong immune system which is designed to deal naturally and effectively with all types of external stress including bacteria. But don’t be fooled into thinking that the body can build itself back up without support. Weak bodies get sick and will become even sicker if they are not directed towards healthy rebuilding. Nature works perfectly when conditions are optimal but when conditions aren’t as good as they should be, extra support and replenishment are required. Until this optimal stage is reached, sometimes a repelling or a destructive model of medicine is needed to give time. But neither of these models can bring about the sustained strength and health that replenishment (constitutional) homeopathy can provide, especially when combined with whole foods, sleep and exercise.
Homeopathy has further sub-categories (or methodologies) within the replenishment model. This can seem confusing to the patient who doesn’t understand the reason for such different methods. These methods – investigating the mind and the emotions as well as the disease – are just different ways to find a remedy that works at a deep level. Essentially the role of a constitutional homeopathic practitioner is to find an energetic medicine (and sometimes a few in succession) that resonate to the patient. That is, an energy that the body recognises as ‘self’. Self energy is an energy that the body can use immediately to fight infection as well as rebuild and repair.
The only way to find energetic or remedy recognition is through using the concept of totality. Totality means an observation of how the body behaves under stress and how the mind/emotions behave under stress. Since the time of Freud many homeopaths have focused solely on the mind but this is like studying a labyrinth of pathways with no beginning or end – a difficult process and one that some homeopaths prefer to work around and beyond. When dealing with Pandas children time is important; plus the Pandas child has little ability to share their mental state effectively due to their age and the severity of their illness. Fortunately, totality is expressed throughout the body in other ways and especially in how the patient reacts to stress – physically as well as mentally. Another important indicator to finding the right energy is the face.