Clinical Cases

A Child with Intense Fears

child fear

Homeopath Anke Zimmerman presents a case of a four year old girl with intense fear of dogs.

I first saw Grace, a very pretty and lively four-and-a-half-year old girl in September 2011 for intense fears of the dark, water and dogs.

“She absolutely hates getting her face wet”, the mother reported. “Even as a baby. And she is just terrified of dogs.” From infancy she would scream and cling to her mother if she saw a dog. She is also scared of cats, if a little less so. Interestingly the mother reported that she herself also had a strong fear of dogs and of the dark as a child and still does to this day if a bit less so.

Grace has a history of bad dreams and will often come to her mother in the middle of the night. In fact, she has many sleep issues which are disrupting the family. She is very sensitive to noise and wakes easily from it. She has difficulty falling asleep and the parents have to adhere to a very strict bedtime and sleep routine or else Grace becomes extremely hyper, silly and over-stimulated.

An Excitable Child

Meanwhile, Grace and I are playing with a rabbit in a hat puppet and she was becoming more and more animated, intense and silly, laughing and giggling like mad! She was making all kinds of noises and sounds and was jumping about my office like a grass hopper. It was very entertaining, but she was definitely a real handful.

She looked highly intelligent and had a wonderful imagination. She told me that she has many imaginary friends and then proceeded to tell me all their names. She was also making up names for all of the dolls and stuffies in my office and telling me all kinds of complicated stories about them. I felt amazed that she was only four.

Inside a Wolf

She also told me that she has bad dreams in which something is chasing her. Her mother told me that Grace often liked to pretend-play that she was inside a wolf, as in Little Red Riding Hood, then would ask the mother to cut the wolf open to get her out.

I ask Grace about this and she proceeds to demonstrate the operation with my stuffies while laughing and bouncing around some more.

Asking the mother if this was how Grace behaved at home, her answer was affirmative, which might explain why the mother, also a patient, felt so tired all the time!

Physically Grace suffers from stomachaches due to gas pain, sometimes causing her to writhe in pain. She was a colicky infant.

Family History:

The mother was also under my care, so I was already aware of the interesting remedy connection to come. She suffered from several health issues, including chronic weakness and fatigue.

Ever since childhood she has suffered from very violent and disturbing dreams. As a child she dreamt that she was diagnosed with cancer, that she would die, of bodies floating in ditches, decapitated heads and someone attacking her with a knife. She was terrified to go to sleep at night. Her current dreams aren’t much better.

“I saw a wolf or dog running towards me; it looked like it was going to devour me, but there was actually an animal standing behind me, which it attacked.”

“In another dream I was sitting in a restaurant, and someone gave me a letter describing my demise via torture in great detail. There was nothing I could do. I was in that restaurant and I knew what they were going to do to me. Torture and kill me! I was totally helpless and woke up horrified.”

She has an exaggerated startle reflex with a feeling of someone coming up behind to attack her.

Difficult Teen Years

Grace’s mother had lived through difficult teen years with depression, intense aggression, suicidal ideation, cutting herself, acting out, shoplifting, and belonging to a gang. She was afraid of going insane. Her parents knew none of it, and she still managed to get straight A’s in school.

Her father was a very angry, authoritarian and controlling man as well as physically and verbally abusive to the family. Now, one might think that this woman’s nightmares and fears were perhaps the result of her father’s abusive behavior, but I had an additional idea.  I asked her if she knew of her parents or grandparents having been bitten by a dog and/or ever having had a rabies vaccine. She offered to call her parents right there in my office and her mother immediately denied it.

“Your mother answered too quickly” I said. “Go home and ask her again please; really ask them both. Make them think about it.”  This was something I learned from Dr. Andre Saine, ND twenty some years ago and have always remembered. If the patient answers too quickly, be suspicious, ask and ask again. The next day I received an email: her father had been badly bitten by a dog in his early 20’s and had been given a rabies vaccine before having children. Voila!


What does all this have to do with rabies? Rabies used to be referred to as “hydrophobia”, fear of water. An affected animal or person can develop a strong aversion and fear of water, even to drinking it. Rabies is transferred through an animal bite, nowadays usually from a wild animal like a fox, raccoon or bat. But it used to be common in dogs before widespread vaccination and still is in some parts of the world. In Germany, where I grew up, I was often warned about rabid foxes and saw signs with rabies warnings in the local forest.

One of the first symptoms a person infected with rabies experiences is intense fear and apprehension, followed by excitability, restlessness, loss of muscle function and ultimately insanity with extreme terror and violence, and ending in death.

As an aside, a bite from a mad or angry dog, cat or other wild animal can apparently have similar dynamis-altering-effects to that of an actual rabid one. In this case, it may have been the actual bite, the rabies vaccine or both which started the whole process, or at least contributed to it.

Rabies is a terrible disease and the vaccination has certainly saved untold lives, however, as with other vaccines, in some cases they may leave energetic (or maybe epigenetic) imprints on the organism, disturbing it indefinitely and allowing the taint to be passed on. This should be food for thought, especially in cases of serious mental illness with rage and violence.

Repertory Analysis:

Mind, fear, of the dark

Mind, fear, alone, of being

Mind, fear, water of

Delusions, imaginations, attacks and insults, imagines himself

Mind, fear, animals, of dogs

The main remedies were Lyssinum, aka Hydrophobinum (a homeopathic preparation of rabies), Stramonium, Hyoscyamus and Belladonna.

A Dead Giveaway with a Twist

Most homeopaths, even complete beginners, might have been able to solve this case easily based on the three main fears the child had, namely water, the dark, and dogs. A simple case, really. What I find it is so interesting and charming is that this little girl enjoyed playing Little Red Riding Hood and even asked her mother to cut her out of a wolf’s stomach.

I am also glad to be able to pass on to you Dr. Saine’s words of wisdom.

A Possible Remedy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Lyssinum is one of our great homeopathic remedies for torture victims. Torture creates an intense feeling of apprehension, abandonment and fear as the victim knows what is coming at them but can’t get away. Often the result is post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. One dream the mother reported was of being a torture victim, exactly that feeling.

Lyssinum was introduced and proven by Hering in 1833, fifty years before Pasteur’s experiments. Apparently his proving of Lachesis was the inspiration for it as he realized that Lachesis might be a useful remedy for rabies.

He bravely set forth to find a rabid dog and in short order proved the remedy on himself. Hering ultimately was prevented from continuing his proving of Lyssinum “by the most terrible feelings of apprehension.”

Allen’s Materia Medica of the Nosodes1 contains a wonderful description of the history of the remedy and good proving information. Here are some relevant quotes:

“Could not get rid of the indescribably tormenting feeling that something terrible was going to happen to him.” “Imagine that they are being abused, and energetically defend themselves against attacks and insults, which in reality are products of their own fancy.”  “Fear as if he cannot physically endure his fears much longer and shall be compelled to go to an insane asylum.”

Joyful Excitability

Additionally illuminating, here are more relevant quotes:

“Most commonly the mental faculties are in a superior state of excitement, shown by quick perception, amazing acuteness of understanding and rapidity with which they answer questions.”   “Exhilarated, felt as if he had received joyful intelligence.” “Memory for single words much improved.” “Thinks he is a dog or a bird, runs up and down chirping and twittering until he falls down fainting.”

Grace was exceedingly bright, bouncy and excitable and loved to make up unusual names. Interestingly, these quotes matched her state, but joyful excitability may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering Lyssinum.


Lyssinum 200CH, single dose

Follow-up December 2011

Grace had received another dose of Lyssinum 200CH in November 2011 during a visit with her mother only. Grace is sleeping much better and is not nearly as afraid of the dark. She is less afraid of dogs and no longer so fearful of water either.

Follow-up March 2012

Grace is much less hyperactive and no longer afraid of dogs. She is even approaching them now. She is sleeping much better.

I haven’t see Grace again, but the mother reported during a November 2012 follow visit that all was well with her.

The mother also improved from this remedy in regards to her weakness and fears. Most of all though, she was greatly relieved that all her fears, nightmares and teenage troubles could possibly be related to a rabies vaccine that her father had received rather than a deficiency within herself.  Ultimately, she was comforted in knowing that her daughter wouldn’t have to suffer the same torments that she did all her life.


[1] Materia Medica of the Nosodes, Henry C. Allen, Jain Publishers, 1910, reprinted in 1988.


About the author

Anke Zimmermann

Dr. Anke Zimmermann, BSc, ND, FCAH, is a naturopathic doctor specializing in homeopathy. She also has a special interest in childhood developmental disorders and CEASE Therapy. Dr. Zimmermann has been in clinical practice for 23 years and works and lives in beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada. Visit Dr. Zimmerman at her website:

1 Comment

  • The case is quite interesting and analyzing process is very very interesting. In our society I am seeing such persons but such a type of analysing and clinical therapy is very rare. Thank you very much. I am much more satisfied.

Leave a Comment