In this last group of drugs i have tried to include all the outstandingly nervy children, and I think the key to the whole group is ARSENICUM. I think the Arsenicum children are possibly the most attractive children that you will come across. They are always very highly strung, usually finely made, finely built, very often with a very fine skin, fine hair, delicate looking kids. They are always very nervy, they are very easily scared, very easily frightened, anything unusual will frighten them, they are afraid of being left alone in the house, afraid of going out alone, terrified of the dark, and they always have a very vivid imagination.
You get all sorts of stories of night terrors, the kid waking up in the middle of the night, terrified, jumping out of bed, wandering through the house to get somebody to talk to, and it is always the feeling of some horrible occurrence hanging over the kid, very often she does not know what it is and is just terrified. As a rule if they are comforted, consoled, they quiet down and go to sleep again, particularly if she is taken into the parents bed and has somebody about and had the feeling she has got somebody there.
Then, in spite of their delicate appearance, you will find that these Arsenical kids are always restless. They are always doing something; you never see them sitting about just looking at their fingers. They are very liable to take up one thing, do it for a little, and go on to something else.
When they are nervy you find them often going from their mother to their father, from the father to the nurse, and back to the mother. Each one gives them a certain amount of comfort, but not for very long; they push on to somebody else.
Then the next thing that you pretty constantly get about them is that they get completely exhausted. And very commonly you get the story that, in spite of their restlessness, and in spite of their activity, the child is all right for a couple of hours, busy, happy, occupied, a bit on the restless side, a bit too mentally active, then it suddenly gets completely exhausted, gets pale, tired, lied down, very often depressed, and in that state is liable to get nervy, frightened, feels that it is going to be ill, wants to have somebody about.
Then, another very common story that you get is that these kids are inordinately tidy. A small girl with a number of dolls, she keeps these dolls in a most astonishingly tidy condition. Even the small boy who breaks his toys and leaves them lying about on the floor, the Arsenicum kid puts them away and is distressed, not because the toy is broken but because it is in a mess. You often find them very distressed if they spill jam over themselves and get into a mess, they are distressed out of all proportion to what has happened.
Then the next thing that is very definite about them is that they are very liable to catch cold, particularly from exposure to cold, and their colds are fairly typical. They usually start as an acute coryza, with a watery, excoriating discharge, with very violent attacks of sneezing, and with a tendency for the cold very rapidly to spread on to the chest. These Arsenicum kids, you will see them in 24 hours with the history of acute coryza developing into a rapid bronchitis. That is one type, and with that extension you will practically always in the Arsenicum kid get a history that the child has become hoarse in between the development of the coryza and the onset of the definite bronchitis.
Then you will get the other Arsenicum type who get a very mild coryza of the same type; without any hoarseness at all, without any sing of bronchitis, they suddenly develop an acute asthmatic attack. And the asthmatic attack in the Arsenicum kids is very typical, because it is usually a very tight, dry, spasmodic asthma. And it is always in these children accompanied by acute terror. It is rather terrifying for a kid to get asthma, but these Arsenicum kids are almost beside themselves with terror.