Sunday, December 18, 2011

OCD and Strep

One of the comments on ocdtalk's post here got me thinking about strep and OCD.

It seems clear there's a connection. For the most part, the OCD community seems to support it only for kids who have an extremely sudden onset, like turning on a switch. My OCD wasn't like that, and I was in my 20s when it really came on strong. Even in those sudden onset cases, while antibiotics can "cure" it, it apparently can return. I also get the impression that it's a pretty long course of antibiotics that's required, although I haven't researched it much.

The whole issue does get me wondering, though. Around ages 10-11, I had strep throat at least three times. I think my sister only had it once. I have OCD, she doesn't. Is there a link? I don't know. Or could people prone to OCD also be more prone to strep? I don't know.

If I knew that there was a high chance that antibiotics would mellow out my OCD symptoms, I'd go there. But considering the docs barely agree on what to do with the little ones with strep and OCD, I don't think they'll be treating adults with OCD with antibiotics any time soon.

Maybe in 20 years we'll all look back in wonder at why it took so long, but until then, it's the ERP route for me.

What's your strep story? Did you have strep throat as a kid? Did it seem to correlate in any way with your OCD symptoms?


  1. i had strep throat when i was a teen. the reason i remember it is because it's the first time i could take a pill without breaking them in half first. I also have this habit of checking my throat for white spots every time it is sore.

    As for the ocd. Looking back, i already had lots of ruminating thots that wouldn't go away. But most of my ocd didn't happen til after i turned 18 or so.

  2. When I was first diagnosed with OCD this year, one of the first things that my doctor's did was get a Strep-throat test. Apparently there is a blood test that can determine whether the germ is still within your system, which can cause persistent OCD symptoms even after your Strep-throat clears up. If one is diagnosed as having it, one does have to undergo about 2-3 months of antibiotics. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective) I tested negative for the germ. But it is something that should be looked into. I'm no doctor and I don't remember all the details, but I believe that the strep germ irritates the basil ganglia, messing with your serotonin levels. One can get the germ as a kid and not be diagnosed with having OCD caused by it until adulthood, be treated, and then essentially 'cured.' So to be on the safe side it never hurts to be tested.

  3. I had strep when I was a teen. It was a really bad case, too. My OCD became apparent 3 years later. I've wondered about the correlation too. Now, I tend to be more prone to strep than the rest of my family - I get it way too often. Who knows - I'm keeping tabs on the info.

  4. I had strep several times as a pre-teen and teen. I even had scarlet fever at age eleven. (A severe strain of strep with rash.) I haven't had strep in 15 years. My earliest OCD tendencies started when I was extremely young (I've had them as long as I can remember) and really become much more severe within the last three or four years. I'm not sure if there's any relation between my strep history and my OCD or not.

  5. My 14 year old son has OCD and he developed it within months of having a very bad strep infection. Before he had finished his course of Amoxicillin, he developed an all-over body rash and we were told to stop the antibiotics as he probably had had enough to rid himself of the strep. Now I'm wondering if that was the beginning of his issues. No medical or psychiatric professional we have seen gives any credence to it. In fact, I feel they believe I'm a bit of a nut case to even suggest it. On the other hand, they'll prescribe medication that has had serious side effects that rival OCD in upset and confusion for my son. I am so tired and at my wits end. I wish there were a magical treatment plan that could cure all sufferers.

  6. I'm sorry you've had this experience. It sure seems like the medical community is not open to ideas that fall outside the little boxes that they learned in medical school. It's very frustrating.

  7. I have suffered from OCD for the last 10 years or at least that is as far back as I can trace the actual symptoms of the disorder. As a child I had many bouts with Strep and had Scarlet Fever when I was about 5. When I say many bouts, I bet I had it at least once a year for 10 years of my life. If PANDAS (the disorder, not the cute loveable bears)can be proven - I can almost guarantee that is what caused my OCD. There are no genetic ties to this disorder that I am aware of - and believe me, I've asked. I've taken medicine for OCD for the last 3 years and have stopped b/c my husband and I are trying to get pregnant. This has proven to be very hard as I feel that it's getting harder and harder as time goes by without the medicine. Anyone else dealing with this?


  8. And Doctors have had a more modern idea about Strep since about the 1990's, meaning they do not take out diseased tonsils (they treat Strep "conservatively"), so it is my bet that we've all had far more bouts of strep than past kids and teens would have. I had TONS of Strep while a child and teen, especially in College. Recurrences never went away till I insisted on tonsillectomy (25 years ago), and I've never gotten a single strep-throat again. But, by that time as a late teen I was also getting some "OCD-like" symtoms that I never had as a child or younger teen. I dont know if I have OCD or not, really. If I do, I think it's on the milder side, and some of my "pathology" is justified, as I have different autoimmune diseases and am basically allergic to the world (LOL). If something really does make YOU (even if only you) sick, it is not "mental" to "fear" or want to avoid that thing. I feel like Strep "caused" many of my long-term autoimmune issues and allergies, not just a possible basal ganglia issue. Have felt my autoimmunity was linked to Strep for many years before hearing of OCD link. And that autoimmunity seems to have created a "valid" or realistic concern about harm from commonly assumed safe items or situations, as well as a much lesser degree of what might be invalid expressions of anxiety.

  9. Ι've been finding strep at least after a 12 months because I had been a baby and I'm 33 noω.
    About five or or so mаny yeаrs ago, ӏ gοt it ѕeven
    mοments in οnе сalendaг уеаr alоne.
    I've taken antibiotics about 85% on the time along with the periods I did not, it went away on it truly is very own. I don't know that there's any definitive answer as to whether taking them or not is correct or mistaken... as far as I am able to tell, it depends around the person. I just had it yet again per week ago and as usual I get the swelling, suffering and white spots but that's
    іt... I nevеr come to feel sick' or get a fever anymore (not due to the fact I was a teenager). I took Tylenol to the agony, as I typically do when it is really too painful, and it began emotion much better within a few times and now it truly is gone. I wish I had experienced my tonsils out when i was younger for the reason that just after the many research I'vе done as far as obtaining them out now, іt
    seеms that follοwіng 18 many years of аge, іt іs гeallу an extгemely paіnful ѕuгgerу аnd
    just not wοrthy of it in my opinion. At this
    time, it's just anything I'ѵe leаrnеd to live with and follοwing getting tаken so lots
    of antibіοticѕ, I'm just over it and don't havе any plans on haνing them oncе more until
    at some poіnt іt doeѕn't go away on its own or receives worse. This really is not a suggestion for anyone else, merely a level of view from someone who has become working with strep for at least 20 years. I wish absolutely everyone the best of luck with this due to the fact I know how frustrating it may possibly be!

    Here is my website; click through the up coming article