Causticum is a very searching medicine, suitable in old, broken down constitutions, suffering from chronic diseases.
Only occasionally is it indicated in acute diseases. Its complaints are such as are progressive, slow, and accompanying a declining state of the economy.
Muscular power: Gradual decrease of muscular power, a paralysis. Paralysis of the oesophagus, paralysis of the throat, such as occurs after diphtheria; paralysis of the upper eyelids; paralysis of the bladder; paralysis of the limbs, of the lower limbs; great lassitude, muscular relaxation, indescribable fatigue and heaviness of the body. And there is a tremulousness, a quivering, jerking, twitching of the muscles, twitching in sleep.
Tendons: The next most striking feature is found in the tendons, which become shortened, resulting in a temporary or permanent contracture, and the limb is drawn up.
Tendons of the forearms contract, and there is gradually increasing flexion. Sometimes a whole muscle will harden and shorten, so that it can be felt by the hand as a hard ridge. Contractures of muscles and tendons.
Joints: Closely related to this is a rheumatic state of the tendons and ligaments about the joints, sometimes with swelling, but always with pain and ending in a shrivelling of the joint, a tightening up of the joint so that it becomes ankylosed.
Great stiffness of the joints, and while this is going on the patient is growing weaker, is running into a state of melancholy, of hopelessness, anxiety and fear.
Constantly present in his mind is the hopelessness and a feeling that something is hanging over him, that something is going to happen. These are general features of Causticum. They all go to make up one picture, they are inseparable.
Hysteria: Another kind of progressive trouble in Causticum is hysteria. Gradually increasing hysteria. Hysterical cramping. The woman loses all control of herself and says foolish things.
Her nervous system becomes extremely sensitive to noise, touch, excitement or anything unusual. Starting from the slightest noise; starting in sleep; twitching and jerking; the child is easily startled, or acts as if startled without cause.
Rheumatic diathesis: The paralytic weakness is associated with the rheumatic diathesis. The rheumatic states are peculiar. The patient himself can endure neither heat nor cold. They both aggravate his rheumatic conditions, his nervous conditions and himself in general. His pains are ameliorated by heat, but they are aggravated in dry weather.
Great deformity of the joints; they are enlarged, soft and infiltrated, always worse in dry weather; more pains and aches during dry weather. Rheumatism that affects both the muscles and the joints. This patient is also aggravated by exposure to cold, dry winds. Many an individual who has gone from the low lands of the East up into Colorado will come down with rheumatism from the cold, dry winds.
Let such a patient as I have described take a ride in the cold lake wind and he will have paralysis of the side of the face exposed to the wind. A long drive with the east wind coming against the face.
The next day that side of the face will be paralyzed. Such a paralysis will almost always recover under Causticum.
Reading, tearing, paralytic pains; pains that, benumb; pains that fairly take the life out of him, they are so severe. And they are likely to remain in one place for a long time. Causticum has often greatly mitigated the lightning-like pains of locomotor ataxia.
Now, with all these sufferings the patient is slowly growing weaker, till at length he can no longer walk, he can no longer sit up, he is so tired and weak that he must lie down. He is tired in body and mind. It is a paralytic fatigue.
Convulsive symptoms. Cramps, now here, now there. If frightened he is almost sure to have some form of convulsive condition, The woman with tendency to hysteria will have hysterics from fright; nervous girls that are more inclined to chorea, will start with jerking of muscles and will keep it up day and night. Chorea even at night. Localized chorea, jerking of single parts, chorea of the tongue or of one side of the face.
Epilepsy in young persons at the age of puberty, from fright, from, being chilled or exposed to some great change in the weather. Epilepsy, chorea, paralysis, hysteria worse during menses. We see that Causticum is a deep medicine.
Worse from exposure to cold, dry wind. It also has rheumatic complaints aggravated in the warm, damp days, in wet weather, but this is not so striking.
Any one of the complaints that I have mentioned may be brought on by bathing in cold water. A long, dry, cold spell will aggravate the rheumatic troubles, getting wet or becoming chilled by bathing will start them.
Insanity: Causticum has cured insanity; not acute mania with violent delirium, but mental aberration of the passive kind, where the brain has become tired. The constitution has been broken down with long suffering and much trouble, and finally the mind is in confusion.
At first the patient recognizes his inability to do anything and then comes this foreboding that something is going to happen. He is unable to think, and consequently unable to carry on his business. He is going into imbecility. Full of timorous fancies.
“Timorous anxiety,” overwhelmed with fearful fancies.
At every turn there is fear that something is going to happen. Fear of death, fear that something will happen to his family. Always anticipating some dreadful event. That is a striking feature of the Causticum mental state. It is found in old, broken down mental cases, after prolonged anxiety; after a prolonged struggle of some sort.
Anxiety before falling asleep. In addition to this, the Causticum patient lacks balance. Everything excites him. The more he thinks about his complaints, the worse they become. Mental and other ailments from long-lasting grief and sorrow. The injurious effects of fear and prolonged vexation. Tired from vexations of business.
Eruptions: The suppression of eruptions is apt to bring out mental symptoms. Mental exhaustion, hopelessness, despair, appearing after the suppression of an eruption with zinc ointment. He was fairly well while he had the eruption, but when it disappeared his mind gave out.