Sometimes there is a clear history of a complaint starting after grief, fear or other emotional upset. The lists of remedies clinically associated with such precipitating causes found in Kent’s Repertory and elsewhere may be valuable in giving confirmation to an individually chosen remedy.
A boy of fifteen years had suffered from enuresis since the age of two and half. He had been day at eighteen months but reverted to bed-wetting when his mother was admitted to hospital. Many treatments had been given in vain before he came to homoeopathy. The boy was grossly overweight and had other symptoms suggesting Graphites, which is one of the remedies known to have “the effects of grief.” He was given Graphites CM.
There was an aggravation for a week or so then a remission for some months, when he had a slight recurrence. Graphites CM was given again, and he had been free from bed-wetting for over a year. Of course, he might have “grown out of it” but the case illustrates the way in which knowledge of the precipitating cause may help to confirm the choice of a remedy.
Many years ago I saw an excellent example of the use of Opium for the effects of fright, or to be more accurate, the value of Opium for a patient who reacted to fright in the Opium way. A woman developed exophthalmic goitre which came on suddenly after a severe fright. Dr. Tyler elicited the characteristic Opium fear symptoms which is that when the frightening incident is recalled, the patient experiences fear long after, may be months or, in this case, years after. Opium CM cured her.
Very occasionally Opium is useful post-operatively when an old fright is presumable re-stimulated by another frightening experience. A boy of eleven years was extremely ill, for no obvious reason, after an operation designed to reconstruct a badly injured shoulder. On the strength of this possibility I gave Opium CM and the remedy had a very beneficial effect.
A boy of six years developed a temperature of 103 degree F. after removal of tonsils and adenoids. A course of antibiotics was given by the house surgeon but the temperature was unaffected. I saw the boy, and prescribed Sulphur 200 on “absence of prescribing symptoms,” again without result. The on re-examining the boy in case something had been missed, my attention was drawn to a large burn scar on his abdomen. There was nothing else to go on and I prescribed Opium CM.
This was followed by a drop in temperature overnight. Afterwards I questioned the mother who said that the boy had screamed every time anyone touched his tummy from the time of the burn at eighteen months till he was three years old-a typical Opium symptoms. Quite often other remedies are of course required for after-effects of fright. A girl of nine years developed psoriasis in the form of small rounded areas less than a centimetre in diameter after a fright. Opium CM was prescribed over the telephone, but without any apparent benefit.
When the mother brought the girl to see me it was obvious that in this case the remedy was Aurum met. which also has “the effects of fright.” It was given in the 200th potency. This was followed by an aggravation, then the psoriasis cleared up for a few months but returned. Aurum met. 10M was prescribed and the psoriasis disappeared and has not recurred during the past two years.
A girl of three and half years was admitted to hospital with a temperature of 105 degree F in a drowsy delicious state. Her blood count showed 38,000 W.B.C., mainly polymorphs. The only positive finding on clinical examination was evidence of sinusitis accompanied by large tender cervical glands. The child was dangerously ill. Her face was hot and flushed. The pupils were pinpoint. She was muttering about “flies” although there were none in the word, and she was obviously frightened but not from any apparent external cause.
I ordered an antibiotic and Opium CM to be given hourly at first. That was at 1-30 p.m. At 4-30 p.m. she was sitting on her mother’s lap watching television. The temperature had fallen to 102 degree F. and by 8-30 p.m. that evening the temperature was 98.4. There was a slight return of fever the following day which subsided next day, and the blood count came down dramatically. She made an uneventful recovery. The antibiotic had not been given, and was never needed. The cause of such a high temperature and much raised white blood count was never satisfactorily explained. On questioning the mother she said that her child had been frightened by a wasp three week before, which might conceivably have explained the “files” but one cannot be sure. However, she was apparently “stuck in fright,” which is another way of describing the Opium fear reaction.
Sometimes an emotional upset may apparently occur prenatally. A girl of sixteen years of age was slow in recovering from influenza. Thinking back over the twelve years I had looked after her, this was the usual pattern; there was sluggishness in recovering from every acute illness for no obvious reason. Going back over the history I discovered that the mother had been frightened by a doctor during pregnancy on being told that she might lose her baby. She said “I felt the shock go right through me.” The girl was given Opium CM and made a quicker recovery, but not only that, she became physically more robust and her ability to study increased quite definitely.
Staphysagria is well known for its effects when there is a strong sense of injustice. A number of remedies have this-listed in Kent’s Repertory under “Mortification”-but staphysagria is most often needed when this is a leading symptom, in my experience.
As a rule children greatly prefer to be in the ward with other children rather than in a cubicle. One little boy, however, objected strongly when he was admitted to the general wards. Everything was wrong and he insisted he be put back in his cubicle. The ward sister detected a strong sense of injustice, and gave him a dose of staphysagria 200. She told me that within ten minutes he was delighted to be in the ward and everything was fine! Sometimes there is a prolonged feeling of injustice. Dr. Tyler quoted a very typical case of an army officer who had been passed over as regards promotion during the first world war and came back into civilian life generally unwell and disgruntled. He was given staphysagria in high potency with excellent results.
Causticum is sometimes indicated after acute fright or prolonged anxiety. In 1939 a man of fifty-two came to the hospital suffering from loss of voice. He was distressed because he was foreman of a factory which was closing down and he had to given notice to his men, some well on in years, who might find difficulty in getting other work. Causticum is worth trying for loss of voice whether from psychological or inflammatory causes, when there is little on which to prescribe accurately and, of course, it covered his sympathetic nature.
The interesting thing about this man was that he had been buried alive during the first world war and when rescued, it was discovered that his hair had fallen out. He had been almost completely bald since 1916. He was given Causticum 200 and his voice returned soon after. About two months later he said that his wife and daughter had noticed that his hair was growing in. A fine downy fluff, about a quarter of an inch in depth, covered that bald patch. I saw him after the war and there was no further growth if hair even with higher potencies of Causticum, and other remedies. The remarkable feature was that Causticum apparently had caused such an effect after twenty-three years.