Vive la Difference…

so many colours...

so many colours…

Individuality is being outlawed.

Many people don’t enjoy birthdays. Many people go to parties and don’t enjoy themselves, or don’t go at all. Many people attend activities which others think enjoyable, but they don’t agree. When the mob comes out in favour of certain films, certain books, specific celebrities – not everyone falls into line.

Many people are unhappy at some stage in their lives.
Many people prefer to be alone than with others.
Many people don’t make friends easily.
Many people have opinions which go against “conventional wisdom”.

Is any of this pathological? In Western kindergartens, a child who does not make friends easily may find himself on track for psychological surveillance from the tender age of four or five. In homoeopathic usage, this only becomes relevant if it is something that has changed. And even then we must explore why it has changed and how, before accepting it as a prescribing symptom.

In common conventional usage – it is not socially acceptable to be different, to behave differently, especially in the area of being happy or contented on demand. A “different” child is the label hammered onto a child who does not fit the norm, physically or socially. And with all this our society praises originality – in a form which is really just as original and norm defying as wearing jeans…

One of the most common forms of drugging we see today are anti-depressants and other psychiatric drugs. Misery of any form is not to be tolerated, even momentarily. It is not “normal”.

What’s the point? You may ask. I’m getting there.

I work a lot in my clinic with patients experiencing anxiety which interferes with function. Some are already taking psychiatric medications and wish to stop, and some have been told they have to start taking such medications and don’t wish to start.   Homoeopathy works wonders with such cases.

However, invariably I receive calls and texts along the lines of “the anxiety came back today! Should I redose?” Sometimes the tone is calm – “I’m waiting for your instructions and am confident…” But often, especially at the beginning of treatment, the tone is anxious verging on hysterical. “It’s coming back! Nothing helps! I have to take medicine!”

It is a central challenge for the homoeopath, one that has been written about in the literature since Hahnemann’s time, to prescribe based on proper case management rather than on pressure from the patient or his/her family. Those hysterical or furious complaints have driven all of us, at some time or another, to prescribe based on patient prompting in a way that we have not been happy with.

We see this in mental/emotional cases just as we do in physical cases. And I really don’t blame the patients for their reaction – it is instilled in all of us from the moment we become aware of ourselves. The body is treated as if it were a car, a simple mechanism, without the ability to heal itself. More and more medicines are developed to take over activities the organism should be doing, and the negative feedback loop that occurs when it senses the need has already been filled by an external drug means the organism stops producing oestrogen, stops taking care of its own thyroid hormone production, stops producing its own defences against common diseases – . On a mental and emotional level, we stop dealing with our issues, preferring to resort to drugs to do the job. As with muscles – what doesn’t get used atrophies over time.

In cases where norms are defined regarding how human nature should be; where no actual self-harm or harm to the public is involved; where we are merely dealing with a child or an adult who makes others around him or her feel uncomfortable – the nature of the drugging that is becoming almost mandatory in our society has already gone far beyond the science fiction novels I read in the seventies. And if the trend continues in seeing physical, mental and emotional health in adults as something that must be fixed from the outside, where the human being is seen as lacking in an inherent “self-fixing” program, truth will soon outstrip fiction, if it hasn’t done so already.

If a patient is experiencing a symptom again, whether mental or physical, the first response should be to see if their own vital force can handle it now it has been made more aware by the previous remedy. Often symptoms come and go during treatment – especially where physical symptoms are triggered during emotional drama. We cannot remove our patients from their lives, from abusive family members, from humiliating work experiences – but we can work with the nature of their response to that drama. We can help them become stronger, less debilitated by that response.

Really the yardstick is time and intensity. If a patient is upset that they are feeling something of their previous depression, or experiences echoes of previous disassociation, anger, panic attacks or more, it is important to know how intense it was. Whether it was the same as before. How long did it last. Our patients are literally programmed by modern medicine to assume every reappearance of a symptom requires drugging. It is at least part of our job, I believe, to help them realize that they do not have to conform to some kind of happiness norm in order to be healthy, and that they possess innate remarkable abilities of self-healing in physical, mental and emotional ailments, and that those abilities can be nurtured and strengthened through treatment with homoeopathy.

Our natural world in its healthy state presents us with immeasurable hues of colour. Not liking a colour does not mean something is unhealthy about a plant or flower. By the same token, not liking someone’s behaviour does not make it pathological…

Case quiz: eruptions on the tongue – ANSWERS

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Case quiz: eruptions on the tongue

tongue case

just for illustration, not a pic of the patient!

The patient presented with an eruption on the left side of the tongue.   There was a small spot just under the tip of the tongue, and what looked like small flat red circles on the tongue itself. The area under the tongue on the right side was very dark red. The tongue itself was slightly white coated, but the patient said she had not yet eaten and that may be why.

The patient said the tongue felt like it was burning, and was especially aggravated by hot drinks, and eating in general. She said when anything touched the spot on the tongue the pain was excruciating.  She said her tongue felt very rough against her teeth, giving a sensation that the teeth were not clean, when they had just been cleaned.

Several remedies were prescribed, which all helped slightly but did not hold. The patient then reported a change in symptoms. There were now two spots on the tongue, one under the tip and one on the edge of the right side of the tongue, both extremely painful and white-ish in colour, and the tongue had become mapped.

Remedy 1 was prescribed and the condition improved significantly. The pain diminished by around 50% after the first dose, even though the spots were still present on the tongue. By the following morning, after three doses of Remedy 1, the tongue was clear, the discolouration had disappeared, and the patient was pain free.

At this point a further symptom appeared, which was not helped by Remedy 1. The patient reported a sensation of mouth ulcers inside the lower lip and then the upper lip on the left hand side. A further ulcer was reported the following day on the inside of the upper lip on the right hand side. The ulcers were hardly visible, and the lips were slightly swollen on the inside. The swelling in the lips felt firm but not hard. The patient reported that the ulcerated areas felt dry and reported discomfort when the areas touched the teeth and on pursing the lips. There may have been a slight discolouration on the ulcerated areas but the patient was not sure. The area was completely flat, not raised at all.

In addition, the patient reported a deep crack on her tongue, along the centre towards the tip.

Remedy 2 was given and the ulcers cleared significantly within a day, and completely within two days, after two doses.

What were the two remedies?

AND NOW FOR THE REST OF THE STORY…

Thanks to all those who actively contributed to this discussion, and to those who worked on the case even if you didn’t chose to comment online.

Arsenicum seemed so certain for this case, that it briefly shook my confidence in homoeopathy, Hahnemann, Boeninghausen, the prescribing pharmacy and myself when  it didn’t hold… Carbo-v also looked good, but did not help. Phosphorous came up, but on checking the materia medica did not look right.

The white spots (P&W’s TPB no. 1579) narrowed the choice down to 8 remedies: Alum, Am-c, ARS, Carb-an, Phos, Sep, SIL, Sulph

I checked the other remedies in the materia medica, and since Arsenicum clearly was not working, Sepia looked like the next best candidate. I have also seen Sepia working very well in previous cases where a central presenting symptom was white apthae in the mouth.

The patient wrote after receiving the Sepia: “I had felt as if my tongue was held in pincers, almost as if there was a crab latched on to my tongue! With the first dose of the Sepia it was if it had loosened its grip, the pain eased a lot, and gradually disappeared.”

I must admit I was glad she didn’t say anything about crabs and pincers during the intake or following phone calls – it was so much easier just to look for white spots…

Remedy 2 was indeed Mercury. I used:

Face, sensations lips (247)
Ulcers, flat (26)
Aggravation, motion of affected part (2227)

Belladonna did show up in grades 4, 2, and 3. Mercury however presented here in even grades of 3 and checking in Materia Medica confirmed the prescription.

Mental/emotional symptoms in context

depression

Also a form of treatment for mental/emotional symptoms…

The debate regarding emotional case-taking (double entendre fully intended) rages (or meows) around mistaken understanding of the therapeutic and seems to coalesce into the belief (equally mistaken) that one must choose between two approaches: Continue reading

A Tale of Tea, Homoeopathy, and Kitchen Burns

Louis the Chimp RIP - PG Tips singing simian

Louis the Chimp RIP – PG Tips singing simian

Reposted from my site for patients and the general public.  See the original post here.

With yet another festive season upon us, and the impressive way in which almost every culture has managed to herd large numbers of women (ok, and a few men) into kitchens for frantic food production instead of wandering through nature enjoying the spring, kitchen burns are almost inevitable. Few are those who emerge from the experience unscathed. Continue reading

Remedy outcomes and case management

What is happening when you give a remedy, it holds for a short time only and the symptoms return? What questions will you ask yourself as you decide what to do? The objective of this article is to open up a more precise form of discussion of remedy outcomes and case management. The suggestions I’ve made below based on Hahnemann’s discussion of similar and dissimilar disease actions in nature are just that – suggestions. Continue reading

The MEH Symptom – incurable?

I’m reposting the following from my site for the general public and for patients.  Although I think most of the readers of this blog are students or practitioners of homoeopathy, I thought some might find it useful.  Go here for the original article.

Meh...

Meh…

Meh?  What’s Meh?

Let’s hear it for Merriam-Webster’s free online dictionary!
MEH
Adjective
(Merriam Webster gives the first known usage as 1994. Apparently Messrs. Merriam and Webster did not have Yiddish-speaking grandparents…)

1: not impressive : so-so <a meh documentary>
2: apathetic, indifferent <the movie left me feeling meh>

We homoeopaths look for symptoms in order to prescribe remedies. When we find clear symptom groupings, and there is nothing going on which may hinder treatment (ranging through a broad and varied list including conventional chronic meds which are no longer needed, abusive spouses and nightly carousing in the pub) – we can prescribe with high confidence in cure. But one symptom is virtually incurable. It’s called the “Meh Symptom”. Continue reading

Empathy in case-taking

stethoscopeThis article was prompted by a discussion with a colleague regarding an old post of mine, entitled “What We Know and What We don’t Know”. Our discussion took us into the subject covered by Dr. Gary Weaver’s original post, on “The Realities of Practice”. In his article, amongst other things Gary set out a prescribing process for a busy clinic where 40-100 patients may be seen a day by splitting up case-taking between one prescriber and two or three nurses or advanced students.  The main symptoms of the case are elicited by the prescriber’s assistants.   The patient is then brought to the prescriber for further questioning, analysis and prescription. This kind of clinic is more common in India, and much less common elsewhere. Many, if not most of us work privately with patients, and I don’t know if any such volume clinics exist in the West.

The point, however, is that clear symptoms may be taken by the assistants within 20 minutes, and that deeper investigation and analysis should not take the prescriber longer than a further half an hour, often much less. Continue reading