Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Strep Throat – What is Connection?

Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, OCD, is a complex mental health disorder that we typically associate with genetic pre-disposition. For some patients, however, the development of OCD may arise, in some part, by the onset of an infection for which proper medical treatment is not successful. If you are the parent of a child who has suffered from recurring strep throat infections, it is important to understand how this may speed the diagnosis of a mental health disorder.

Strep throat, a highly contagious infection, can lead to a variety of secondary health complications when not treated effectively. In most cases, a complication that arises out of strep throat is most often a complication with rheumatic fever. With powerful antibiotic therapy, a boost in natural immune system response, and decreased exposure to other illnesses, most children do not develop rheumatic fever and, instead, recover without further incidence.

So, how does Obsessive Compulsive Disorder arise out of a strep throat complication? For most children who begin to show OCD symptoms after a series of poorly treated strep throat issues, the complication is associated with antibody developments. As the body attempts to naturally fight strep throat, and develop natural antibodies, these same antibodies will attach the tissues of the basal ganglia in the brain – thereby causing OCD to develop.

While antibiotic therapy is a common part of treatment for strep throat, the body will also make antibodies to treat the health complication from a natural standpoint. In doing so, the risk for damage to the basal ganglia, in those with a pre-disposition for OCD, is quite higher and often requires lifelong use of antibiotics and treatment. If you are concerned about your child’s complications with recurring strep throat, be sure to ask about preventative antibiotic therapy in an effort to minimize the body’s natural antibody response.

Like many mental health disorders, there is a pre-disposition that causes one to development Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD. Environmental factors, including infections, may speed the process by which OCD develops. If you have a child who is pre-disposed to a mental health condition of any type, be sure to discuss this concern with your pediatrician when your child is actively treating for strep throat.

Sources: Overcoming Obsessive Thoughts, by David Clark, Ph.D.

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