Will It Be OK: Greatest Hits

Upon publishing my last entry to WordPress, I found out it was my 100th post. So in honor of 100 posts on this OCD and Tourette’s weblog started almost one year ago, or rather in honor of 101 posts now, I present to you: The Best of “Will It Be OK.” The following is a list of hyperlinks to what I feel have been my best — or most memorable — posts throughout this blog’s short life. These picks do not necessarily reflect what I think is my best writing, but also sometimes what links to the most interesting material or important points.

OCD Meme: This is an image post, and I link to it because I’m proud that I made this meme myself. It describes the way different parts of society may sometimes view OCD, fused with humor. This image is featured on my “About” page along with a Tourette’s (non-meme, non-humorous) image which I did not make myself.

Monk And The Lamp: Probably should’ve been titled, “Mr. Monk And The Lamp.” In this “episode” I pick apart an episode of Monk and how that particular story doesn’t portray OCD accurately. That being said, Monk is a great show, and I’ve watched it frequently. At times it does accurately represent OCD — just not always.

PANDAS: Now that I’ve lost my father, I especially treasure this one because my sense of humor therein reminds me so much of his. I feel like he was kind of writing through me with this post. Not that I’m the greatest comedian, but I don’t get many chances on this blog to be humorous, so it was a refreshing change. Also, Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus is a super interesting topic! More research needs to be done on this controversial issue.

Link Time: Contains links to several very informative videos (not mine) about OCD and Tourette’s syndrome. If you don’t know much, this is a great place to start!

“The Spectrum”: Autism is not the only spectrum.

Tourette’s Brains = Greater Motor Control?: Do people with Tourette’s syndrome have greater motor control? Are they less likely to respond reflexively?

You Might Have OCD If…: While I was kidding when I wrote this, it’s probably half-true!

Alphabet Soup Syndrome: When you have so many disorders that it’s like, OCDTSASADHDADDALKFLKSJDFKJDF.

Game Illustrates Inner Struggle of Tourette’s: A videogame to help people understand Tourette’s syndrome? Sweet!

Tourettic OCD: It’s not alphabet soup, but we’re getting there.

Dude, I Know You’re OCD…: Another image post. This one shatters a stereotype (albeit with another stereotype), and really cracks me up.

Dealing With Crises: Are people with high levels of anxiety, especially OCD, better equipped to deal with real emergencies than normal people?

Don’t Hate Me Because I Look Crazy: Insane or dangerous people don’t always look that way.

I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’s Doctor’s 8th Cousin Twice Removed: Because someone in the blogosphere finally had to say that.

Easy Hand Washing Guide: Another humorous image post. What if the air was germy? Better wash your hands again.

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I’m SCARED of PANDAS

Here’s a funny new acronym — Screen for Child Anxiety-Related Emotional Disorders, also known as SCARED. I discovered it reading this interesting little article called “OCD in Adulthood Traced to Cues in Childhood.” It discusses the proposed idea that “rituals and sensory hypersensitivities in a child may be early warning signs of adult obsessive-compulsive disorder,” which is interesting to me because I have some odd sensory quirks and sensitivities that might not put me in the realm of diagnosis with anything, but are unusual to say the least. The article discusses primarily two studies which explore the (potential) link between OCD and sensory sensitivity.

“Consistent with the results of the first study, recollected childhood oral and tactile sensitivity was positively correlated with results of the OCI-R (r=0.41, P<0.001) in study two. When they controlled for anxiety, they continued to find that the sensitivity was correlated with obsessive-compulsive symptoms beyond their correlation with anxiety.”

What does this mean? For some, could rituals be a way of coping with sensory overload (or even under-stimulation)? This reminds me of tics, which often have physical or environmental triggers. Tic disorders seem to have a stronger established correlation with sensory processing problems than OCD does, but we also know that tic disorders and OCD are more related than we used to think.

The old rule “If it’s a response to a physical feeling, it’s a tic. If it’s a response to a thought or a fear, it’s a compulsion” is hard to apply in this situation. How could we truly connect OCD and sensory issues, when if there’s any sort of direct connection at all, any response to a physical feeling should rightfully be a tic, and not OCD-related (unless it’s Tourettic OCD)?

The Graves of Pandas

So I’m up late, reading about random things, and I find these studies. They’re interesting because my mom had symptoms of classic OCD, and also suffered from the autoimmune hyperthyroidism called Graves’ disease. She was being treated for Graves’ with radioactive iodine while pregnant with me, because she didn’t know she was pregnant. So far my thyroid levels have never been off, and the doctor checked them pretty religiously when I was a kid. I haven’t kept up with it as much as I should, probably, but I know they were checked well during both of my recent pregnancies.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1786794 — “OCD and the study of thyroid function”

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Children%27s+tics,+OCD+linked+to+moms%27+autoimmune+disease.-a0262583935 — “Children’s tics, OCD linked to moms’ autoimmune disease”

I don’t think I have thyroid problems right now, but the potential link between OCD and tics to autoimmune disease in general is interesting — but not surprising when one considers those fluffy, lovable PANDAS.

PANDAS

PandaBroom

It’s a little-known fact that pandas also suffer from OCD. Here we see a panda engaged in obsessively gnawing on a broom used for grooming other pandas. Pandas are experienced ninjas, and were responsible for the invention of many of our modern-day conveniences such as: the electro-magnetic induction motor, radiation, SPAM, volcanoes, and auto-tuning.

OK, not really. But in all seriousness, there is a connection between PANDAS, OCD, and Tourette’s. Just not those kinds of PANDAS.

Many of you will already know what PANDAS is — but for those who don’t, PANDAS stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus. In a nutshell, it means: some kids who get strep infections also end up with a sudden onset of OCD and/or tics afterwards. Here are the five diagnostic criteria:

  1. Presence of a tic disorder, and/or OCD;
  2. Onset of these symptoms was before puberty;
  3. There is evidence of a temporal link between when the symptoms began/worsened, and the strep infection;
  4. Sudden onset of symptoms and/or they wax and wane, alternating between partial or complete remission and sudden exacerbation;
  5. Hyperactive motor movements OR rapid, jerky movements.

I believe one has to meet all five in order to theoretically have PANDAS — and, although some strong clinical evidence points to it, some people still don’t believe in PANDAS. But in their defense, I’m sure they do believe in pandas.

In my case, on both sides of the family I see signs of what is likely a strong genetic predisposition towards OCD and tics — so any suspicion I have of PANDAS to explain my own symptoms, is very slight. I did have a mysterious infection as a child, probably about 4 years old, and it did produce a Scarlet Fever-like rash — however, I was tested at the doctor’s office and it came up negative for strep. So, that seems to rule out PANDAS since as far as I know, I’ve never even had strep.┬áIf there is an infection-related disorder that explains my condition, it would have to be something like PANDASE (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Something Else.) Mmm… sounds like mayonnaise. Sounds like an organic, panda-friendly mayonnaise — we all do worry about those pandas being harmed in the making of mayonnaise.

My breathing tic might have appeared around the age of 4 or 5, but according to Mom I was showing signs of OCD even at 2 – 3 years old (she says I was worried about catching Dad’s back problem. o.o)

Again making a long story short, the mechanism of PANDAS seems to be this: during the infection, the child’s immune system mistakenly produces antibodies which attack the basal ganglia part of the brain (like an allergic reaction), leading to damage or at least impaired functioning.

It’s interesting to think about PANDAS because it implies several things:

  • In the future, treatment may be different for those who have OCD/tics as a result of PANDAS versus having them for genetic/environmental reasons, since the cause would obviously be different.
  • Will only people already genetically predisposed (even if only by a small amount) develop PANDAS?
  • Again, a link between OCD and tics/Tourette’s.
  • Could non-strep infections ever be to blame? Are these cases existent, but rare?
  • PANDAS involves not only onset of symptoms, but worsening. Are children with pre-existing OCD/TS more likely to develop PANDAS?

Maybe we will find these answers soon. One day, in the future… perhaps when our greatest panda engineers are finding out how to cultivate Mars… perhaps then we will know. Until that time comes, we should sit with our fellow panda friends, extending our hands and a smile of kindness, for if we are cruel to our ninja friends, we shall surely perish.