PANDAS, PANS & Homeopathy

Jack was a pretty normal, happy 7 year old who came down with a cough and fever one winter's day.  He got over the acute physical symptoms after a few days but still didn't feel well.  Jack complained of being sad and lethargic, poor sleep, low appetite, not being able to concentrate, and no longer wanting to go to school.   His teachers also noticed that he seemed unusually withdrawn in the classroom.

This went on for about a month and then one day, while attending a sporting event with his family, he suddenly became acutely anxious and was overwhelmed by what he called 'bad thoughts'.   The thoughts, mostly of a perverse sexual nature, and the anxiety continued on, becoming a chronic problem. Jack subsequently developed compulsive behaviors such as counting, repetitive questions, and particular hand motions as well.   Eye blinking, which had first appeared a few months prior to getting sick but had resolved on its own, also reappeared as a tic like behavior.


You don’t hear the word “diathesis” much these days. Diathesis in homeopathy remains important however. Derived from the Greek word ‘diatithenai’, meaning ‘disposition’ or ‘condition’, it is used to describe an innate tendency to become ill in a certain way. The dictionary defines it as, “A hereditary predisposition of the body to a disease, a group of diseases, an allergy, or another disorder.”

All sorts of diathesis are found in medical literature: scrofulous diathesis (glandular swelling), strumous diathesis (thyroid swelling), uric acid diathesis, tubercular diathesis, rheumatic diathesis, hemorrhagic diathesis, sthenic diathesis (excessive inflammation or reaction), scorbutic diathesis (scurvy), lithic acid diathesis (kidney stones) … to name just a few.

Another similar term, especially favored by homeopaths, is ‘constitution’. And it would be reasonable to ask what is the difference is between the two. Generally, they can be thought of almost as parallel to each other: the constitution’ referring to a characteristic way of being in the world and the diathesis a characteristic way of becoming ill.

Inherited Tendencies

INHERITED TENDENCIES It seems there is hardly a week that goes by without a report of some advance in our understanding of the genetic characteristics that predispose people toward diseases. In fact, long before the discovery of genes and DNA, Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, had already investigated inherited dispositions toward disease.

Characteristically, his research grew out of clinical observations and a lifelong calling to attain ‘the highest ideal of cure — the rapid, gentle and permanent restoration of health.” Two centuries later, it is an integral part of the daily practice of the several hundred thousand homeopaths worldwide. Through the lens of these theories, homeopaths gain insight into the cause and treatment of a wide variety conditions.