In April 2011 a mother came to me about her 8 year old son who wouldn’t accompany her. I was very dubious that I’d be able to prescribe for him but she gave me a full and rich case and the prescription was able to change the whole family’s life. Here is the case given my his mother:
Most of his problems are anxiety related. He’s always been a bit anxious but now he’s much worse. He’s now on treatment with CAMS (Children, mental health).
He has hallucinations – very negative, violent, nasty demonic. A voice telling him to kill himself or his family, or saying ‘you’re ugly’… He sees creatures with red horns, small ones, the size of your hand. He sees people’s faces change, get horns. Even my face can change.
He’s always afraid something bad is going to happen, he feels he’s followed by a shadow, he thinks that everybody’s a robber.
Why does he think people are following him?
It’s a shadowy image. Sometimes it tries to inflict pain on him.
He’s depressed. He’s on anti-depressants now. He wants to stay at home all the while; its fear rather than apathy. He does try and enjoy things, laughing after everything he says, the way depressed people do.
When did this start?
The medical people have tried to work out what caused it. They’ve come to the conclusion it’s me having 4 kids! I don’t agree. He adores the baby, but even he can take on a demonic face too. He can be overly protective to him, and that’s sometimes dangerous – like lifting him out of his cot because he’s crying or giving him what he wants to eat.
Yes, that’s coming out more in an attempt to get what he wants. He’s worst about going to church, he just doesn’t want to go – he thinks there’s a man that follows him at church and at school. The anger then turns to tears. We had one bad episode where he was smearing himself with coal, throwing eggs and he broke the shower.
He has been suicidal – hanging out of the window… other times he’s fine, playful. He’s coping at school. The teacher says he’s stony faced, but he can function normally.
His birth was a planned caesarean but a few minutes after he was born he was quite ill. Some sort of infection they think, but he was put on antibiotics (which he responded well to). He was taken away from me and had some quite invasive tests including a lumbar puncture.
Pregnancy was emotionally good – fine.
He’s very self conscious – if he loses a game for example he feels he’s no good at anything. He’s embarrassed – even at things we do as a family – thinks people will look at us.
He has very low self esteem. He hears clear voices like ‘go and get a knife and kill your family’ and has negative thoughts too. He can’t talk about it – hates going to the doctor, says he wishes he’d never mentioned it.
What stops him doing the things the voices tell him?
He’s done a couple of small things to see if the voices would stop. He says he would do it to himself, but not to others. He just seems to know it’s wrong.
Does he change the subject a lot?
Is there any jealousy?
I’d say no
Any dyslexia or learning difficulties?
I’ve wondered if there was at times, but he seems to be doing OK at school so I don’t think so.
Any involuntary movements?
Everything’s gnawed, his whole bed post is gnawed away – but that’s not what you mean…. Nothing involuntary.
Is he OK with water?
There’s a bit of anxiety, he has glue ear so water gives him pain in his ears. He’s anxious with deep water.
How is he with nudity?
He’s obsessed with his willy at the moment, he’s always exposing himself and he thinks it’s funny to catch his older sister in the toilet.
Prescription: I chose to give Hyoscyamus 1M because of all the psychotic symptoms, the embarrassment and lack of confidence. His mum’s last comment confirmed it nicely for me, though I struggled to formulate the question to a mother who took her family to church when I really was wondering if he had a tendency to masturbation!
Phone consultation two months later:
I didn’t actually give him the dose until last weekend because he was seeing doctors and consultants and I didn’t want too many things going on. He was really going downhill so I gave him the remedy. First of all, all his anxieties were heightened, wanting to be dead, hearing voices etc. He managed reasonably well because we had friends round for a barbecue. Night times are very hard, hallucinations… he’s still scared. We’re slowly taking him off the anti-depressants. They said they would try him on them for 4 weeks and re-evaluate him. He’s been on them for 4 months now and we’ve seen no improvement. I’m so scared of doing the wrong thing.
One month later:
We’ve had a few rough weeks – sometimes we think he’s much better and then he’s the worst he’s ever been. Everything’s heightened for him. The auditory and visual hallucinations are the same.
Prescription: Hyoscyamus 10M
Telephone consultation: After I’d given him the dose there was an aggravation but on the whole he’s done well with it. There’s still some anxiety but not as bad. He says he does hear some voices but he doesn’t mind as much. He used to always be afraid something would happen but that’s so much better – much, much better. He’s been much more positive about himself, much better, but a week or so ago I started to see the signs that things were going downhill again. His voice is much louder, he’s started talking negatively about himself again, ‘I’m a slug’, and ‘I’m ugly’. He’s been going backwards. I repeated it on Monday as you said – he still had a bit of an aggravation but seems to be getting better now.
Prescription: repeat Hyos 10M in about 1 month and speak in a couple of months.
He’s been up and down – I’m concerned about him again. He’s been much, much better on the remedy. I’ve repeated it monthly – the psychotic stuff has gone, the auditory stuff is occasional. His agitation levels are quite high again and his suicidal talk is back.
There are some changes: he now has an OCD thing – he’s very stressed by untidiness or if there’s dirt on his brother’s face for example. He’s very compulsive about things like if the curtains are open and he’s watching TV, or if the door is open and he doesn’t want it.
He’s very self conscious about his clothes – or even about what I wear. He wants nothing on show to others, he’s embarrassed. He’s very aware of other people’s thoughts – even what I put in his lunch box, if it’s ‘childish’ he won’t take it out of his box in front of others, he leaves it in.
He thinks there are robbers everywhere. He’s uncomfortable, stressed with teenagers. There’s still a lot of anxiety.
Prescription: Hyoscyamus 50M
He’s much, much better – all the sycotic stuff is gone, that went soon after the last remedy and has never come back. His anxiety is still high. He’s starting a new school soon.
What sort of anxiety?
Turning around to see if I’m still there, if we are in the park – or if he goes into toilets and he thinks I might not be still standing outside, calling out to me to check. He’s anxious about teenagers, people who look threatening.
Better there, even at night time he’s not always asking if all the doors are locked. He’s more self aware now – he had some art therapy which seemed to help him too.
He’s doing really well; I’ve repeated the remedy once since we last spoke because his anxiety got a bit worse after he started school. That psychotic stuff, the voices have never returned. He’s not at all depressed anymore but I’d say he’s still an anxious child. He’s doing well at school – better than ever.