Footprints Therapy

Children’s Moods: Metabolism, Environment and Genomics

(By: Dr. Scott Clack)

I have treated many children over the years with mood disorders ranging from anxiety to OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), to violent aggressive behaviour towards family. When treatment is given but ineffective, whether it’s from the Family Doctor or Pediatric Psychiatrist, or from other Naturopathic Doctors or myself, it’s important to step back and ask if we really know what is causing the moods and/or behaviours.

The following are some short case scenarios that show why testing is very important:

14 year old teenager has obsessive-compulsive traits for several years. The most noticeable is when arriving anywhere, he must find all the bathrooms and turn the taps on and off. The behaviour started after he had a Strep throat infection, and a history of recurring ear infections in childhood. Treatments included Goldenseal for subacute Streptococcal infections, homeopathic Streptococcinum, drainage remedies for bacteria, and NAET Basic treatments plus Streptococcus. The OCD became much more manageable, and his school performance increased too.

52 year old man diagnosed with Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome came to my office with mental health complaints of anxiety and depression. He had a Genecept Assay test from Dynacare Labs, which is a genetic test used to inform decision-making when clinicians are prescribing medications and treatments for psychiatric conditions. His results showed he was unable to process any medications that would normally be offered for him. Those he tried gave him serious side-effects, including herbal medicines. Since learning about this test, I have referred other patients, including children, and often find several pathways that are problematic. Genomic testing can help find targeted treatments that might not have been considered.

A 4 year old child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis suddenly began hitting his parents and therapists. He hadn’t displayed this behaviour before.  His Organic Acid Test (OAT) originally showed low serotonin levels, and Dopamine level was low-normal. Asking about changes in the past month, it was learned that the child recently had an infection treated with an antibiotics 2-3 weeks. Another review of his OAT showed he was high normal for several Clostridia biomarkers. The child was given the probiotic Culturelle which can help treat Clostridia overgrowth and his behaviour returned to normal in 2 weeks.

The key message is that when treating children for mood disorders, find out as much about their metabolism as possible, even if they do get relief on the initial prescription. If your healthcare providers don’t perform the extra testing, please give me a call.