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momslove

OCD flare according to PANS "non-believers"

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I haven't been on here in a long time...  Life for DD has rapidly become much more difficult and her providers have moved...  As I think about our options, I'm wondering what the traditional mental health doctor, one who doesn't recognize PANDAS/PANS, would say regarding severe increase in OCD after having been stable or improving for over a year--taking an SSRI and no change in the meds.  What has been your experience?

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M-hm.  We were told some years ago, that sometimes the meds just stop working so we changed SSRI.  Didn't really make sense to me then and still doesn't.  Why would they stop working, if they were "working" to begin with?  DD is a young adult and weight hasn't changed significantly for a few years so hard to understand a need to increase dose.  Just trying to understand what might really be happening.

As far as additional stressors--none that I can identify other than those created by OCD...

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There are a couple of possible factors (if not infection or immune dysfunction based):

1.  SSRI "poop-out" is real, unfortunately; you can find first-person accounts of it in forums and discussion groups all over the world, and I've seen it first hand in family members.  That said, just anecdotally, I think some are more prone to it than others.  Though the science is still not fully researched or documented, it seems to have something to do with the particular receptors that each SSRI affects; pretty much every SSRI has a different formulation that impacts different receptor sites (whether dopamine, serotonin, 5H-T, norepinephrine transporter receptors, for instance), even though there's typically some crossover among all of them.  At any rate, if the receptor sites become unresponsive, which they can do, then the med doesn't work as well.  Weight typically has little to do with SSRI dosage.

2.  We had a psych (and she's actually somewhat versed in PANDAS/PANS and certainly doesn't dismiss it) note for us that a component of our DS's increased challenges at an older age, as compared to when he was younger, were a factor of the expanding "gap" between what were age-appropriate expectations for behavior and what his jumbled brain could manage for him at the time.  It's one thing for a 3 or 4 year old to melt down in public, but when a 12, 14 or even 18 year old can't manage all the stimuli coming in and melts down, it's a whole different animal!  So, even if nothing dramatic changes in terms of environment or demands, just the fact that she's getting older and so society, friends, outside world and maybe even you tend to expect more "self-management" of her, that's a kind of pressure all on its own that might result in increased anxiety.

Sorry you're continuing to go through this; we've been there (a protracted "story"), so I know how frustrating and demoralizing it can be at points.  All I can say is that, in your shoes, I would probably first try to rule out any physical (infection or immune) component to the decline, and once having done that, maybe look into the mental health options available to try and improve the quality of your DD's life (and yours by extension).  I don't know if you've considered it, but there are now the genetic testing options available (like Genomind) that hone in on genetics and any mutations that may interfere with the effectiveness of various medications, including SSRIs.  That might be one route to pursue, particularly if the others aren't fruitful.

All the best to you.

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