Schoolgirl, 9, went to bed ‘happy’ but woke up with complete personality change


Ava Holden had gone to bed normal and happy, but woke up with a complete personality change that caused angry outbursts, panic attacks and extreme anxiety.

Ava was no longer her cheerful self after developing the little-known condition. (Sent)

A schoolgirl who suffered a complete personality change overnight had to wait 18 months to find answers to this mysterious condition.

Ava Holden, nine years old, always loved school and he had gone to bed normal and happy. But when she woke up, she suddenly refused to go. She began having angry outbursts, panic attacks, extreme anxiety, and phobias, including frightening thoughts about germs, vomiting, and psychosis. Ava also began kicking, biting and screaming and refused to sleep alone, while on car trips she would try to open the door while the vehicle was moving.

Parents Claire, 38, and Simon, 39, told doctors it was like a “light switch” transformation. Ava was on the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) waiting list and has not yet been seen. devon live reports. But 18 months after the sudden change, a school nurse managed to find answers to the change. She suggested that Ava should be screened for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders like PANDAS.

PANDAS is a rare condition associated with streptococcal infections. Young people with common infections that cause a misdirected immune response and brain inflammation can contract PANDAS.

Parents Claire and Simon told doctors that Ava’s personality changed like a “light switch.” (Sent)

Mum-of-two Claire said: “It’s been absolutely horrible for the whole family, particularly of course Ava. When I asked her what it felt like to go through that, she said: ‘It was like my brain was on.’ . fire and I was sad all the time.’ It’s so heartbreaking that he was in that state. For a long time we didn’t know what it was. PANDAS occurs in patients with sudden extreme anxiety and some may develop ticks or even be unable to walk. Others have speech regression and it’s all caused by inflammation of their brain due to an infection.”

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The family now hopes to raise awareness about this condition, as very few people know about PANDAS. Claire said: “We desperately needed help but felt like we had been left on a list and had to deal with it alone at home. “The scary thing about this is that many children are misdiagnosed and given treatment for mental health problems or are told they have special educational needs when in reality your body is trying to fight infections.

“In Ava’s case, it was caused by strep infections, but we have learned from other parents that viruses like chickenpox and Covid can also cause it. Both times Ava’s infection was missed because she was asymptomatic. The only The reason we knew something was the bad thing was because of her sudden and dramatic change in behavior. Ava was the complete opposite of what she had been before. You couldn’t compare the two because they were like completely different children.

“His behavior was off the chart rage and panic, as if he was in the fight or flight stage of his brain. He no longer liked being in the car and would try to open the car door when we were moving. There were numerous occasions where “I had to call the mental health crisis team because I was having psychotic episodes that could last more than an hour. She was absolutely terrifying and nothing we did could calm her down.”

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