We have found homeopathy to be consistently effective in treating mental and emotional problems. When there is a combination of mental, emotional and physical symptoms, as if often the case, all three spheres should improve with the simillimum (the exact remedy needed by the individual). Because all symptoms result from an imbalance of the vital force, one it is brought into balance with the correct remedy, the result will be balance on all levels. Not only will the specific symptoms improve, but so will the person’s energy and overall sense of well-being. Such is the case with Greg whose case follows.
Greg, age 40, first came to see us for homeopathic treatment two years ago. “I have blood sugar problems (3). I had two grand mal seizures in 1989 and 1990. I’ve been on Dilantin 100 mg tid since my second seizure. During the first few months after starting Dilantin, my right foot started to drag. That lasted eight months. I also had some slurred speech. My blood sugar has been up and down ever since I started the Dilantin. It’s been really bad during the past six months. I’ve been on a hypoglycemic diet, but it hasn’t helped much. It’s possible I’ve had this my whole life. When I was younger, I became easily wound up. I’d lose my temper for unexpected reasons. It would blow over in a minute or two. As a teenager, I’d eat pancakes Saturday morning then go back to sleep for three hours. I worked in Indonesia for 15 years teaching sports to teenagers. I came here when the job possibilities there ended.
I experience a lot of nervousness (2). If I eat any sugar, I feel grumpy 30 minutes later, then a loss of energy (3). I can feel my heart react to food or lack of food (2). It’s a battle to keep on an even keel (3).
I have mood swings (3) in which I fall apart (3) and can’t think clearly (2). I think everything’s going bad (3). Sometimes I an cry when I feel this way.
I’m up and down (3).
The nervousness is present most of the time (2). If I don’t take Chromium, I can’t calm down at all. [We noticed that Greg’s answers were a bit disjointed.] I feel hectic (3), stressed (3), short-tempered (2). I’ve had a reputation as a friendly, upbeat person with a temper (2). I get very wound up (3). It’s a struggle to control my franticness.
The fear snowballs. A lot of it has to do with a relationship which I’ve been in on and off over the past couple of years. What am I doing in Seattle? Where am I going to live? I have imagined stresses (3).
In 1987-8 I noticed about 20 episodes of being unable to speak. It happened once a month for two to three months. Jogging made it worse. It even happened once while I was in a raft giving instructions. I couldn’t get any clear words to come out. My first grand mal seizure resulted in a hospitalization for six days. I fractured one of my upper vertebrae when I fell. My back was sore for six months afterwards. I would get cold, wet, tingling spots in the middle of my back.
I moved to Seattle in 1990 to be with my girlfriend, although there were no specific plans for the relationship. I didn’t get much sleep as I was preparing to leave Indonesia. I arrived in Seattle the day before the huge snowstorm. We were without power for six days. I ate a huge Christmas dinner and a lot of chocolate chip cookies. Then I had another episode of aphasia and another grand mal seizure.
My relationship was up and down. I did odd jobs. Then I started to notice real blood sugar problems. [Greg apologized here for skipping around.] I would become lethargic after eating. I passed out for two to three hours. I ate a high sugar diet without realizing it. I became depressed, up and down, cried. I decided to move to Montana. [Greg’s eyes darted around the room as he spoke.] I’m working now doing deliveries. It’s very hectic. Definitely a job I shouldn’t do. I have to work twelve hours a day because I commute. I have to calm myself down before stressful situations like work.
I lack self-confidence (2). When I returned from Singapore after 15 years, I feel like a hit a wall. I procrastinate (2). I get interested in one thing for awhile, then I’m off to something else.”
When we asked Greg whether he was open or reserved, he replied, “I tell people more than they need to know about my feelings. I can overreact to things and make things worse than they are. I’m very trusting.” Upon inquiring about his childhood, he told us it was great.
“I’ve spent the past year and a half analyzing myself… my faults. My girlfriend hasn’t been able to connect. I’ve gotten over her ten times. I live by myself in a beautiful place but I don’t know anyone there.
My whole life I’ve had allergies, hay fever and sinus congestion.
I get a rash on my forehead when I’m nervous. My hair thinned for six months after I took chloroquine to prevent malaria. My mouth is dry (2). My lips get chapped (3) and I get cracks at the corners of my mouth (3). I get palpitations on and off (2). They’ve been worse recently.
I had an ulcer in 1975. So did everyone else in the office. I choke on food. The first bite gets caught. Once I almost died choking. Recently a zinc tablet got caught in my throat for twelve hours. It scares me to death (3). I’ve been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, but my digestion is fine. Lately I’ve experienced an odd pain in my left upper leg and tingling in my left arm and armpit and the tip of my little finger. I’ve had EMT training so I’m worried about it.”
Greg was warm (2). His sleep was disturbed the past few months.
“I get wound up late at night (3). I find twenty projects to do. My minds starts going. My mind’s constantly overactive (3). It’s hard to calm down. I take calcium tablets and valerian tea, but they don’t help much. I sleep on my right side (1). I used to sleep on my back before it broke.”
Greg liked Mexican food (2), cheese (2) and yogurt (2). “They calm me down. I used to eat salty nuts and chips. I also used to crave peanut butter, but now it makes my eyes dry up.” He was very thirsty for tap water (3). “I used to hike eight hours, eat a bar of chocolate, then pass out. As I kid, I’d get very nervous and aggressive after granola bars. I snack all day long in the car. I don’t gain weight. I can just nap if I don’t force myself to eat. My energy is up and down from hyperactive to lethargy. I use to look at a map and I couldn’t read it or concentrate. I sometimes have to eat something before I look at a map (2).”
Now, study this case and turn to page ____ for the case analysis.
What is Ralph’s main problem? His anxiety. His mind went too fast, which caused him to sleep poorly. He worried all the time. He had frequent heart palpitations. He suffered from an extreme case of hypoglycemia. He had been unsuccessful, and at times unrealistic, in intimate relationships. He had few friends and felt very discontented with his job, his relationships, his living situation and his life. Overall, Greg was very unhappy.
This is not a case for which we consulted the repertory. This is unusual for us. We generally analyze the case carefully, select key elements and the rubrics which fit best, than choose the one remedy which matches best. Greg’s symptoms seemed to us to clearly fit the remedy Argentum nitricum (Silver nitrate). We began by giving Greg a potency of 6C three times daily because he was taking Dilantin 100 mg three times a day due to the seizures.
At his first follow-up, one month later, Greg was feeling better. His gas, which he had not mentioned in the first visit, was improved. “I’ve felt a while lot more relaxed. I’ve had hardly any instances of rapid heartbeat. I’m calmer, not shakey or nervous. I’m handling my work stress a lot better. I can’t muster the energy to get stressed out about it. It’s not as important. I don’t pee at night anymore. I reach a level of sadness, but it only goes so far. It doesn’t snowball like it used to. I haven’t had to desperately monitor my eating. I still eat regularly, not I’m not as affected when I don’t. I’ve almost completely cut out my Chromium. I’ve had no problem choking on food. The corners of my mouth are still cracked.”
We continued to give Greg Argentum nitricum in increasingly high potencies with less frequency. By six months, he was taking a 30C potency as needed. He had gradually decreased his Dilantin, and was now taking one dose every four days. He felt very strongly about getting off his seizure medication and we felt that doing so very slowly was best given his history of anxiety and severe hypoglycemia.
He has continued to do better and better. He changed to a job he loves and feels much better about himself. It is now two years after he began homeopathic treatment. He was given one dose of Argentum nitricum 200C eleven months ago and two doses to hold as needed when he left for seven months abroad. We saw him again recently. He feels really well. He can no longer remember most of what bothered him before. He felt extremely well during his trip except for a bit of traveller’s diarrhea. Despite travelling in rigorous conditions, his hypoglycemia was fine. He had a satisfying romance during his travels. He was just beginning to have some ups and downs again, so we gave him Argentum nitricum 1M.
Argentum nitricum is an excellent homeopathic remedy for people who are extremely anxious. They are usually open, outgoing, talkative, and very likeable. They sometimes have so much mental energy pouring out that they find it difficult to not say too much, as Greg described. They often have a very strong desire for sweets and can have a terrible aggra-vation after ingesting them. They can have considerable anticipatory anxiety, fears about their health, and often (though Greg did not) extreme claustrophobia, fear of elevators, bridges, high places, and corners.
Rajan Sankaran, in The Substance of Homeopathy, discusses the metal aspect of Argentum nitricum. These people are performers, especially in times of crisis. They are very afraid to be late and often feel a need to confirm their appointments several times. They are often singers (“a silver tongue”), orators or writers and may suffer from laryngitis or throat problems after performing. Remember Greg’s problem with choking.
People needing Argentum nitricum are generally quite warm, like Greg. They tend to love sweets, salty foods and fats.
Some of you may wonder how it was possible for Greg’s hypoglycemia to improve so much despite his discontinuing Chromium. From a homeopathic perspective, any symptom, including hypoglycemia, is a result of the imbalance of the vital force of the individual. When the organism is restored to balance with the correct remedy, most or all symptoms, depending on the individual circumstances, will improve. We often use nutritional supplements as an adjunctive treatment to support the person physiologically, but they are not necessary. In fact, there are some homeopaths who don’t even allow their patients to take vitamins, minerals or other supplements while they are being treated homeopathically. Because we are naturopathic doctors, we do recommend a multiple vitamin and mineral and sometimes a few other supplements for the whole person. We do not, however, recommend specific nutritional supplements to eliminate particular symptoms. This we leave to homeopathy and we do not want to mask symptoms because it will make it more difficult to evaluate the success of the homeopathic treatment.
Drs. Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman are board certified diplomates of the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians. They are instructors in the Professional Course of the International Foundation for Homeopathy, of which Judyth is President. They teach and write widely. They are completing their first book, The Patient’s Guide to Homeopathic Treatment. They can be reached at The Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine, 131 3rd Ave., North, Edmonds, WA 98020. Tel: (206) 774-5599. Fax: (206) 670-0319.