In this paper I am presenting, in my humble way, some strict Homoeopathic Therapeutics in the disturbed mental states of childhood, which has been one of my hobbies for over forty years. In these days, the care has passed very largely into the hands of education authorities, psychological investigation and a specialized system of education is attempting to remedy the defects and has been met with some success ; there is however among the more intelligent workers, a feeling that they are not achieving the success they expected from their methods.
The subject matter placed before you, in this paper will suggest that anything which accepts the extrinsic factor as of final etiological importance, must fail or be very limited in its application to treatment. The diseased mind presents a diseased individual for which the cure is only completely made by a prescription based upon a sound therapeutic law. The results of Homoeopathic treatment suggest that the Hahnemannian doctrine is sound-that an intrinsic factor, an inherent potentiality to diseases-“The Miasm”- plays a very important parts as an etiological factor in the causation of amentia.
As I am not a specialist in psychiatry or psychology, but just a plain honest disciple of Hahnemann, I have left the diagnostic work to these specialists and when they came to the end of their mission, I attempted, by the most scientific therapeutic method that I know to find the curative remedy, if it was available ; and the results, that have so surprised those concerned with these cases, has been the motive for writing this short paper.
I cannot include complete histories or recite some wonderful recoveries, as time will not permit, but I do hope it may inspire those interested in the disordered mental states of children, to seek help from the simillimum after the psychiatrist or psychologist has prescribed his nonmedicinal training measures, etc. The Homoeopathic remedy so often is of positive value in the neuropsychiatry of childhood from the milder to the more severe types including hysteria, neurasthenia, the psychoses, neuropathic or psychopathic personalities, temper tantrums, etc., and special mental disabilities.
I am still believing, as the older school physicians did, that heredity is a strong factor in the production of disease, mental and physical. Particularly is heredity an important factor in the production of amentia, because most of the case I have worked with, I have found the parents to present neurotic tendencies and surely we must come to believe that “The child can but assume the type of the soil upon which it is made,” that is, the diathetic taints or miasms must and will show up in the child sooner or later in life.
The first case I want to present in abstract, I think, will bear out this point : Miss C.W., was first seen by me, August, 1921, when she was 9 months old (I am taking this case because I have had this patient under my care for 17 years). Her chief complaint was a high grade malnutrition, intestinal dyspepsia and fermental diarrhea.
Family History : Father died of tuberculosis a month before child was born, he was high strung, taciturn type in disposition, and his widow says he was called neurotic. Mother very nervous due to death of husband.
Past Personal History : Natural birth but slow, mother was in labor for 30 hours. Patient has been difficult to feed since birth-present weight is ten pounds, one ounce, having gained only four pounds since birth-now nine months old and has no teeth.
History of Present Illness. Represents one of number of similar attacks since birth. Patient is an emaciated baby, restless, apparently hungry but vomits sour curdled milk. Also has a thin yellow watery diarrhea, a sour odor with curds or else is constipated, sweats about the head, abdomen is distended, feet cold and clammy. The previous diet was : boiled skim milk and barely eater mutton broth, cod liver oil and yolk of soft boiled egg. The latter she would always take even though she refused the formula.
For this picture, the child received Calcarea carb., which in due time completely cured the disordered digestion, and seemed to start the child on the road to complete recovery when it was put on the full orthodox diet for its age. I did not see the child then until three months later when it had its first digestive upset, which consisted of a very foul dark watery diarrhea and the aspect of the child was bad. It presented a dirty looking yellow skin with excoriations about the ear. Here, Psorinum promptly checked the diarrhea and cleared the skin condition.
I did not see the child again for four months when the mother became anxious because the infant, now past 14 months, neither talked or made any effort to walk, and did not grow, but developed some cervical adenopathy. Here, Baryta carb was used for two months, with some improvement particularly in growth, but the child was very much under weight, and as soon as the patient improved the mother would discontinue medical treatment and took the case in her hands.
I did not see the patient again until she was two years old, and her chief symptoms were emaciation, enlargement of the submaxillary glands, spells of irritability with crying and screaming. Mother said child would scream and cry when the pet dogs came near porch, also the child made no effort to walk or talk. Taking into account the history of the fathers health, I prescribed Tuberculinum, which completely removed the adenopathy and the child made a slow progressive gain in weight- this improvement continued for 6 months, and then she began to make efforts at walking and began to articulate in single syllable words.
I then lost sight of the patient until two years ago, she was now past 16 years of age, when the mother returned to the city with a neuropathic daughter. She told me she had been under continuous medical care in Kentucky, at the home of her grandmother, and was told she ought to be placed in an institution for care and treatment. Her mental and physical condition presented the following picture.
A sallow anemic girl, 17 years of age, with a thin wrinkled neck. Her chief complaint was headache and weakness. She wanted to be alone, quite melancholy weeps frequently and does not wish to be talked to, for weeks would not leave her room, marked hysterical weeping alternating with laughing-prolonged spasmodic laughter followed by weeping-great sadness- joylessness. She weeps over nothing or old unpleasant circumstances are recalled ; she grieves and weeps over them until she would walk the floor in a rage, she would apparently then make a bid for sympathy and then get mad when it was given.
This had been going on for two years according to the mothers statement. Her first menstruation, her mother says, was brought on when she was 16 years old, by some endocrine injections. Since then she has changed her affections and could not control them as she fell in love with the colored chauffeur. This gave her dignified southern mother great concern and when her mother would reprimand her, her emotional nervous system would get all in a fret and irritation. This present picture coupled with the symptoms complex of her childhood, the late learning to talk, led me to prescribe Natrum mur.
Two months from the first dose of Natrum mur., the whole family relationship were amazed. The disposition began to change, her bodily nutrition became better and she began to gain in weight. At the end of the fourth month, she had normal menstrual flow although not mentally on an even keel. She voluntarily told me, some months after taking Natrum mur., that she was so sorry she showed affection for the chauffeur, she knew it was unwise, but could not help it. She looks back now and wonders why she was so silly.
I am thoroughly convinced that Natrum mur, turned her mind into complete order and rejuvenated her prostrated mind. It is now over three years and she is mentally alert, very happy, is in her second year of College and in sports, because of her much improved mental and physical condition. I met the psychologist who treated her while she was in the Kentucky home, my second visit to the patient, and he told me that no medicinal substance could have any effect upon the working of the subconscious mind, that I could not remove mental fears, etc., with my Homoeopathic medicine.
I leave the proof of the cure before him !.
Considering the family history in this case, is it not the basis of our Hahnemannian doctrine-the Miasm- a constitutional state recognizable as a clinical entity, and transmissible from the parent to child by direct inheritance ? The actual existence of a neuropathic state is generally admitted as factor in amentia, while the Hahnemannian Miasm, “sycosis,” has been shown to be the one where such evidence is easiest of observation.
Another case in short abstract.
Leo J., male child, 6 years of age, the oldest of three other children who are apparently well-all have had normal births. The parents both living and well but very excitable and impulsive.
Past Personal History : Apparently was a well nourished baby at birth, but has staring spells, did not talk until past two years of age-no acute disease.
History Present Illness : Began about 32 year ago, mother thought child was deaf, would only stare when his mother talked to him. Occasionally would awaken parents with a groaning noise and stare, could not be made to understand or answer parents. About 2 years ago, he began drooling at the mouth, and sat apparently listless when he would take a convulsive seizure-at times without loosing consciousness.
These increased in frequency until they reached 20 to 30 a day, when they came on like a shot and he would dive to the floor. He was frequently taken to the Jewish Hospital in Philadelphia to have a suture put in chin, face or head. The mother said this was done probably 20 or more times. Then he would lay for a day or two, fairly stupid after a bad day of convulsive attacks. I was asked to see him about 3 years ago, when he was in a very bad condition. He had several previous medical advisors, and had been fully dosed with bromides, luminal, etc., with no apparent benefit. I could get no more history from the parents, than I have related here, nor any direct history of traumatism to account for the symptoms.
The neurological findings were very uncertain as occasionally there would be positive Koenig or Babinski. Never any cervical rigidity, reflexes sluggish at times. I did a spinal tap with clear fluid under much pressure but the laboratory report was negative, two cells, no globulin, normal sugar reduction. I began the case with Nux vomica because the child had been drugged and there was no complete symptom picture for me. After seven weeks on nux vomica the child became very restless jumping up and down, moving about and would hide for no apparent reason, at times, he would destroy things.
The type of convulsions had not changed and as it always is better to do nothing until you are satisfied that you are doing what is right, I made no prescription until made a careful repertory analysis which gave me Tarantula hisp., all other medication was stopped. Needless to take up time and space in writing a long clinical history, it is sufficient to say that a slow but progressive improvement was established with lessening of the severity of convulsions and symptoms.
He is now attending school regularly, mentally alert, is happy, plays with the other children at school, occasionally has very mild petit mal condition developing for a few minutes, but during the last year, has not had the signs of one of the original type of convulsions. Tarantula hisp has been continued for at least sixteen months in potencies from 30th to the 1000the repeated as needed.
The benefits of the homoeopathic remedy in this case, cannot be expressed in words as interested neighbors and relations believed this child was doomed to institutional care. Many cases could be cited but time will not permit, but I have tried to show the usefulness of Homoeopathic in my meager way, in some of the neuropsychiatric diseases of childhood. I feel sure that many neurotic children could be made more useful, self-dependent and of less care to their parents by the timely use of the properly prescribed remedy according to the law of similars.