Healing Through Homeopathy: Schizophrenia:A Case of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is considered by most physicians to be very difficult
to treat. Psychotropic medications may suppress the frank psychotic symptoms,
however they create additional problems due to their many side effects and most
patients need to remain on these major tranquilizers indefinitely. Both of us
worked extensively on psychiatric wards prior to becoming naturopathic
physicians and wanted very much to find a more natural effective form of
treatment for schizophrenia. We have found homeopathy, at least in some cases,
to be the answer we were seeking. Many homeopathic physicians, however,
discourage the use of homeopathy to treat psychosis. Although we agree that
such cases can be very difficult to manage outside of an inpatient psychiatric
setting, we have had some real successes, of which this case is one. We have
found , as is true in orthodox medicine and other areas of holistic medicine,
that patients in their first or second psychotic break, especially those who
have not been hospitalized for their schizophrenia, are those who respond best
to our treatment.

We also want to emphasize that, although the remedies mentioned in this
case were of considerable benefit to this patient, homeopathic treatment is
highly individualized. Another patient, experiencing his or her own form of
psychotic symptoms, would need entirely different remedies. We presented this
case recently at the annual case conference of the Homeopathic Association of
Naturopathic Physicians in Seattle and hope that you will find it as
fascinating as we do.

K.S. was a 35 year-old woman of Japanese, French, and German descent whose
stated chief complaint was difficulty losing weight. However, as soon as the
interview began, she reported being in the middle of a “nervous breakdown”,
diagnosed by her psychiatrist as “brief, reactionary psychosis” for which he
had given her Navane l0 mg h.s. When she began to develop torticollis, he
added Benadryl and Cogentin. She had been on the medications for less than a
month when she came to see us. She felt “like a zombie” with the drugs and
complained that the Navane had also made her jittery, anxious, and fearful at
night. She had decided on her own to discontinue them them the day before she
came to see us (which made us somewhat nervous but made it easier to treat her
homeopathically). The psychiatrist had offered her a psychiatric
hospitalization, but did agree to try to treat her as an outpatient.

She had begun hearing voices two months prior. The voices invited her to
join the man she’d had a crush on in the past and his girlfriend in sexual
intercourse. As an aside, she mentioned having been sexually abused for a
number of years as a child. One week prior to her breakdown she had visited a
clairvoyant who told her he opened her psychic abilities. The voices increased
after that. She tried to ignore them, but they continued to test her and she
felt the devil was trying to “take her”. She was tormented by a constant
stream of obscenities and the voices instructed her to masturbate frequently.
She feared her soul would be lost. She also experienced burning of both inner
canthi which the voices told her was a “devil’s stye”. She had experienced
depression since age l9, during which she lost track of time, and was
prescribed antidepressants. She always had problems with low self-esteem,
described herself as oversensitive to criticism, and had difficulty with being
too empathetic to others’ problems. She also complained of being impulsively
generous, easily influenced and manipulated by others, and socially
awkward.

In asking about any physical symptoms, present or past, she reported
having had herpes zoster on the right ear a year earlier which developed into
Bell’s palsy. She was treated with Prednisone, after which time she developed
an intense rash and fungal infection. She also reported an extreme sensitivity
in the past to poison ivy.

She had suffered from severe laryngitis at age 20 which prevented her from
speaking for a month. She had not been sexually active since age 22 and had
only two sexual relationships in her life; in both cases she felt she was just
a sex object. She shared that her mother had a history of psychiatric
hospitalizations starting at age 34 (probable diagnosis of schizophrenia) as
well as breast cancer.

In the homeopathic pharmacopoeia, there are numerous remedies for mania and
psychosis. In this particular case, we chose initially the remedy Anacardium
orientalis because of her long history of low self-esteem, conflict with the
devil, and severe past sensitivity to poison ivy. She took the remedy daily and
returned two weeks later reporting that she felt a lot stronger. She was not
hearing voices, but had mild visual hallucinations for two hours the night she
started the remedy. She was no longer bothered by obscenities or burning eyes
and had lost the inclination to masturbate frequently. Her memory, which had
deteriorated during the recent psychotic episode, was now improving. She still
felt her nerves were “somewhat fragile”. She experienced a slight chest rash
from the sun since the remedy. She had not resumed the Navane. Because of the
improvement in her mental state, we assessed that the Anacardium was a correct
prescription. The worsening of the hallucinations briefly upon beginning the
remedy appeared to be a homeopathic aggravation, generally an indication of a
correct remedy. We interpreted the rash from the sun as a likely return of old
symptoms, particularly interesting because Anacardium is also a common remedy
for poison ivy.

When she returned three weeks later, she described her mental state as
improved, her energy was higher, and she was “more me” (a description we often
hear after a correct constitutional homeopathic prescription). She had suffered
from a “terrible cold” for one week with copious sinus drainage, a wart on the
bottom of her foot had peeled, and she had experienced briefly an unusual
outbreak of acne of her face, first one side, then the other. She was clearly
continuing to improve mentally. When we questioned her further about the nasal
discharge, she said she had been treated at 22 with antibiotics for a severe
sinus infection. This sounded like a possible return of old symptoms. The
peeling wart appeared to be another good sign following Herring’s Law, which
says that cure generally occurs from the inside out, from top to bottom, and in
the reverse order in which the symptoms appeared. K.S. continued to improve
steadily for the next nine months, during which time the remedy was continued
on a daily basis.

Then, while at a homeopathic conference, we received a phone call from our
office that K.S. was in a state of severe mental distress. We interviewed her
in hotel where the conference was held and found her to be extremely anxious,
restless, and confused with tangential thoughts. She had been acting out
others’ thoughts recently. It was as if her father and brother were inside
her body. The only thing that helped was long hours soaking in a hot bathtub,
which she felt compelled to do. She told us she was “spacey”, had forgotten to
eat much in the past two weeks, was hearing voices, and couldn’ t tell what was
real. She had been calling people in the middle of the night and sleeping only
two hours a night. She talked to herself a lot and was very bothered by energy
flooding in through the top of her head and coursing through her. She felt
herself laughing inside. At the end of the interview she sharted that she had
the feeling of leaving her body at night and was seeing spaceships. We went
with her immediately to our office and started her on C. indica daily due to
her inability to distinguish reality, distorted body sensations, and extreme
confusion. She was definitely improved within three days and no longer seemed
a high risk for psychiatric hospitalization. Ten days later she was considerably
more able to function, no longer restless or drawn to long baths, but was
beginning to worry seriously about her finances and wondering if she should
declare bankruptcy.

Three weeks later K.S. came into the office complaining of forgetfulness
and fuzziness of mind. She had taken a cashiering job but quit after a day
because her concentration was scattered. She complained again at this time of
having difficulty distinguishing reality and felt that everything was too much
for her. She was more loquacious than usual, complained of her moods being up
and down, and had “lost track of time”. She was even more impressionable than
usual and would follow through on whatever anyone told her to do. She even had
a hard time catching the right bus. She misread or mistaked what she heard and
complained of a constantly vacillating mind. Her judgement was quite impaired,
and her behavior erratic. At this point we changed her homeopathic
prescription, feeling that the C. indica had helped but she had reached a
plateau. Because of her loquacity, poor concentration, misjudgement, and
inappropriate actions, we gave her Hyoscyamus, again daily.

By the time of her next visit, two weeks later, she was dramatically
better. Her concentration and memory were significantly improved, her behavior
was more discreet, and she was starting to read again. She had secured
unemployment compensation and felt she was taking more control over her life
again.

That was nine months ago and K.S. has been steadily progressing ever
since, despite some fairly stressful events in her life. She has not taken any
homeopathic remedies for her mental functioning for six months, but was treated
successfully with homeopathic Silica acutely for a dental abscess . She is
working part-time, thinking of going back to her previous full-time
pharmaceutical sales work, and goes to folk dancing regularly. She reports that
she feels herself again and, during the last visit, said she is involved
sexually with a men for the first time in fourteen years. We will continue to
follow K.S. closely over time, and she will likely need more constitutional
prescriptions. Allopathic medicine would have treated this patient with
psychiatric hospitalization and psychotropic medication, perhaps for the rest
of her life. It is very exciting for us, as avid and serious believers in
homeopathy, to see that homeopathic medicine can be an effective, powerful, yet
non-toxic alternative in at least some cases of schizophrenia.

Dr. Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Dr. Robert Ullman are licensed
naturopathic physicians and are board certified in homeopathy. They are
President and Vice-President of the International Foundation for Homeopathy
where they teach homeopathy to licensed health care professionals. They
practice in Edmonds, WA at 131 3rd Ave., N., Edmonds, WA 98020 and can be
reached at (206) 774-5599.

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Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND MSW Written by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND MSW

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