Mental disorders

In the Hahnemannian method of treatment that in practice we must carefully interrogate every patient on his character, his sentiments, humors and emotions, sensations and impressions etc. without forgetting his sleep, his dreams that gives precious informations. …

1. For what reason every homoeopath should know the limits and possibilities of Homoeopathy in mental disorders?

It is necessary and also easy to all homoeopaths than the adepts of any other therapeutics, to discuss the question because IN EVERY PRESCRIPTION, whatever may be the cause of the disease, functional troubles or lesions localised to whatever part of the body, we must take into account the mental symptoms.

The POLYCRESTS and all the ground remedies of temperaments and constitutions possess in their pathogenesis a very rich symptomatology in the chapter of MENTALITY. One rule is, therefore, certain: THE NECESSITY OF PRESCRIBING ON THE TOTALITY OF SYMPTOMS KEEPING OUR EYES SPECIALLY ON MENTAL SYMPTOMS.

2. The second fact is that THE MENTAL SYMPTOMS ARE OF THE GREATEST VALUE, and in the hierarchy of symptoms they often step into physical symptoms. Let us recall the principle of Kent “Search out the strange or bizarre symptoms that individualise such a patient as X, and not his or her disease. These strange symptoms are almost always subjective: sensations, ideas, impressions etc. They are of psychic sphere.

3. It follow from these two rules universally accepted in the Hahnemannian method of treatment that in practice we must carefully interrogate every patient on his character, his sentiments, humors and emotions, sensations and impressions etc. without forgetting his sleep, his dreams that gives precious informations. We may say that in all cases it is necessary to make two divisions in Psychism: First, what is obtained from the mental constitution of the patient and which interests us but indirectly from the therapeutical point of view and the second very important, that constitutes the psychic change of the patient under the influence of his morbid state, of whatever nature it may be.

This last one constitutes a true association of mental syndrome of the disease or of the stated troubles. Thus we will take into account even the irritability from head to foot in order to discover the “Similimum” and the “Similar” remedy. It will be still better, in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis if we try to discover the remedy of temperament according to the mental symptoms (the repugnance and the aggravations by consolation as for example in a subject of Natrum muriaticum).

And since the homoeopathic treatment ought to take into account before anything, the mentality of the patient to which it is destines. LET US TRY TO BE PRECISE IN THE METHOD TO FOLLOW IN THE INTERROGATORY DESTINED TO PENETRATE INTO THE SUBJECTIVITY OF THE PATIENT. This is how I proceed: at the first the patient naturally declines to give his name, address, profession, then he replied to the “synthetic and preambulatory” why have you come to consult? Then the antecedents, then habits, the mode of life and general modalities.

And when it is the question of beginning the detailed interrogatory even before preceding together the symptoms, organ by organ, the patient is questioned at first of his sleep and dreams. It is the first excursion in his mental processes as do the psychoanalysts;and on the other hand so far as homoeopathic medicines are concerned it is found that the symptoms of sleep are specially “precise” and :fecund” to single out the treatment. It is not only the question of the object of dreams, their persistence, character, joyful or of sad mood of the subject when he sleeps and wakes up, but also of pains and of symptoms that manifest at night, their time and their modalities.

1. Here are some examples:

Dreams of winding sheet, of cemetery, of one’s own death: Lachesis.

Dreams of fire, of murder: Hepar Sulphur.

Dreams of Haemorrhage: Phosphorus.

Dreams of Serpents: Argentum nitricum.

Dreams of black animals, dogs, cats; Opium.

Dreams of rape and cohabitation Sepia The explanations is simple : the trouble of respiratory rhythm of Lachesis in the state of hypoasphyxia makes that the patient is always aggravated during the vagotonia of sleep, when the respiratory movement becomes more slow. He dreams that he is suffocated, he has the fear of death, believes that he is a coffin box or under a winding cloth, specially if the cover is up to his neck.

The violent character of Hepar sulphur causes the dreams of fire or of murder. The subconscious play in the subject of Phosphorus who dreams of haemorrhage because of fragility of the vascular walls. It is difficult to explain the dreams of Opium and of Argentum nitricum but the passive congestion of Sepia and its tendency to prolapsus or its subjective sensation of prolapsus make evident her dreams or cohabitation and rape. Hundreds of such examples may be found in the Materia medicas and in the repertories.

Thus making an indirect research at first of all the symptoms that depend, some on the troubled rhythm,, and some on mental and nervous system, we will proceed to analytical interrogatory begin from the affected organ (for example, the respiratory system if the patient complains of cough). At last at the end of this interrogatory or even after the complete examination of the patient, it is good to return to the nervous system and to the mental structure, guiding ourselves by the symptoms anteriory gathered. Thus the patient and even the practitioner will be often surprised to see the rapidity of precision with which we will guess the character of the patient, his mood and dominant traces of this mental personality more or less troubled by the concomitant morbid change.

In many other cases it is also necessary to find out the moral causes of the physical disease, because one dose never sufficiently think of it : emotions, multiple and repeated cares and above all sorrows or mournings. The psychology should then be developed parallelly with the medical art to understand well the etiology of some organic disequilibrium of which one cannot see at a first glance but the psychical structure, but there also exists in these cases a psychical structure, more or less important to consider as do the Hippocratists and particularly our friend Dr. Cowdias of London.

The necessity of knowing well the mental structure has led us personally to apply since few years an excellent system, which was already used by the great Trousseau and which the doctors often neglect; WRITTEN INTERROGATORY, that the patients fill up at first with that which they have come to consult, four pages of questions that they reply in different manners. It enables to obtain from each patient some previous informations of psychological order and also in a direct way (manner of reply, degree of elucidation, education and culture, intelligence and attention, care of precision and of details etc.). 2

4. Then we must note that IN MOST OF THE CHRONIC PATIENTS IT IS THE SUBJECTIVE SYMPTOMS THAT DIMINISH OR DISAPPEAR UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF HOMOEOPATHIC TREATMENT LONG BEFORE THE OBJECTIVE SYMPTOMS. That explains t a certain extent the actions of the diluted and dynamised remedies that act at first on the finer and energetic sphere of the patient before spreading their effect on the semi-material sphere and on the visceras (microscopic sphere, mechanical effects, action on the outlets).

Very often amongst these subjective symptoms the first touched upon are the mental symptoms and the sleep changes; the patient sleeps well, he is calmer, he feels better, though he is still ill though his liver functions, the functions of his intestines and spleen etc. are always troubled.

2. After deep research in the antecedents is found very often the key to the causes of the diseases. One should not only think to prescribe Syphilinum. Medorrhinum and Tuberculinum in cases of syphilitic, gonococcic, tuberculosis or tuberculinics, neither Thuja in case of repeated vaccinations or gonorrhoea. How many times it becomes necessary to give Silicea in cases of old overwork with voluntary diminution of sleep; finally Ignatia, Phosphoric acid, Lachesis for the troubles resulting out of deep sorrows; Ignatia in cases of repeated cares and emotions; Coffea, troubles caused by an unforseen joy etc.

Mauritius Fortier-Bernoville
Mauritius (Maurice) Fortier Bernoville 1896 – 1939 MD was a French orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become the Chief editor of L’Homeopathie Moderne (founded in 1932; ceased publication in 1940), one of the founders of the Laboratoire Homeopathiques Modernes, and the founder of the Institut National Homeopathique Francais.

Bernoville was a major lecturer in homeopathy, and he was active in Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis, and a founder of the le Syndicat national des médecins homœopathes français in 1932, and a member of the French Society of Homeopathy, and the Society of Homeopathy in the Rhone.

Fortier-Bernoville wrote several books, including Une etude sur Phosphorus (1930), L'Homoeopathie en Medecine Infantile (1931), his best known Comment guerir par l'Homoeopathie (1929, 1937), and an interesting work on iridology, Introduction a l'etude de l'Iridologie (1932).

With Louis-Alcime Rousseau, he wrote several booklets, including Diseases of Respiratory and Digestive Systems of Children, Diabetes Mellitus, Chronic Rheumatism, treatment of hay fever (1929), The importance of chemistry and toxicology in the indications of Phosphorus (1931), and Homeopathic Medicine for Children (1931). He also wrote several short pamphlets, including What We Must Not Do in Homoeopathy, which discusses the logistics of drainage and how to avoid aggravations.

He was an opponent of Kentian homeopathy and a proponent of drainage and artificial phylectenular autotherapy as well.