Clinical Cases

A Case of Anxiety and Insomnia

Written by Ann Brabant

Homeopath Ann Brabant uses the sensation method to solve a case of anxiety and insomnia.

The patient is a 37 yr old professional. Sarah ( not her real name) was an extroverted, articulate woman who came to see me with “overwhelming” anxiety and disturbed sleep. She was a solo mother with a new relationship , a thesis to write and a responsible job. Life was giving her many changes and she had deadlines for post graduate research. Usually light hearted and optimistic , she had recently felt dull and gloomy. Her mind was so active with her many projects that she found it difficult to get to sleep, and when asleep, she was awakened by the slightest sound. Even her daughter walking outside her door would wake her up.

Making decisions had become hard, such as which clinic chair to sit in or which car lane to choose. But despite these problems she fervidly needed a stimulating life. She said;” I am overwhelmed with projects but if I am not doing something , it is SO boring. I usually have a lot of things on the go that involve plans, goals and  projections. If I don’t do this then it feels like a waste of a day. I MUST be actively doing something even if it is taking a walk.”

Her hectic life style was tempered by doing meditation and Reiki but her impatience meant that one hour was often too long for these practises.She was also suffering from shallow breathing.

Her intake of coffee had trebled to keep her going and she sometimes gulped water from her drink bottle as she was in so much of a hurry. Sarah insisted her physical health was good . She had fractured her right ankle the previous year. She occasionally felt right- sided kidney pain when she was stressed; her menstrual history was unremarkable and her pregnancy had been normal. Labour had been protracted but she had loved the process. She said “ It was amazing. I was exalted, best thing ever.”

I thought that this was a straightforward case of mental over-activity and stimulation and she was unable to give me any concomitants at this time.

RUBRICS : ( Schroyens)

MIND, ACTIVITY, desires : Coffea, Valerian, Phosphorous, Opium

SLEEP, LIGHT, (disturbed) : Coffea, Bryonia, Lachesis, Helleborus, China, Phosphorus.

Hears every sound: Coffea, Belladonna, Mercury, Sulphur, Phosphorus, Valerian

MIND, EXHILARATION, Coffea, Lachesis, Opium, Phosphorus, Valerian.

Coffea is in the Rubiaceae plant family. Tubercular miasm.


People in this plant family need stimulation and then can become aggravated by overstimulation. There is a hunger for stimulation with many desires and ideas. (Sankaran.) He states they are often making plans and creative pursuits but can have a passive reaction of fatigue and they can compensate by longing for tranquillity and meditation.

I gave her Coffea 200c . Four days later she phoned and told me she had experienced an immediate result of physical tiredness as if she had “done a round of boxing.” She slept well for two nights and then her sleeplessness returned. I repeated the Coffea 200c but this time it did not even help her sleeping and she returned to see me two weeks later with reports that she had not improved on the mental or emotional levels. She had also developed new symptoms of pain in her front teeth especially when she drank cold water. Although she thought this was due to emotional causes, I considered this was a symptom of the remedy and concluded it was the wrong remedy.

Retaking the case

At this consultation she opened up and went deeply into her emotional state She seemed to swing between two extremes of being. “I have a lot of stamina but I can get overwhelmed and paralysed by some situations.” “I want to be the centre of attention and then I get overwhelmed by the attention and want it to stop.” “I feel that I am hanging on; I am grasping at a cliff edge.” “When I get overwhelmed I can’t support my body; will I tip over the edge? My partner is the only one to see these problems.” “I find myself taking deep breaths and sighing.” “I want to move forward and finish my thesis but my body feels heavy, not light or optimistic.”

Then she opened up about an undisclosed fear of the dark which she could not explain or connect to childhood.Every night she sleeps with the curtains open as she does not like the dark. She was perturbed about a rat she could hear in the ceiling. Her dreams are vivid but don’t have a particular pattern. She is often trying to figure something out to do with work and she is not supported. In her childhood, her parents fought and her father was abusive towards her mother. She thinks she was neglected by both parents .

In her generals she can sweat on her forehead and upper lip “.It smells like cat’s spray.”

She used to experience a metallic taste in her mouth after sex with her ex-husband.

She definitely feels better for motion especially in the outdoors.

So, the next remedy was clear.

Fear of darkness

  • Open air, motion

Sudden gushes of sweat on face

Very changeable disposition

Also the old ankle injury fits this remedy picture as it has affinity for the Achilles Tendon.

I gave her Valeriana 200c – a plant remedy.

This remedy is known for its extremes of emotions passing from one to another, impatience and impulse to move (Vermeulen). The symptom “fear of the dark with illusions of smell and taste” were confirmatory. Incidentally cats and rats are attracted to the plant.

She immediately felt calm and “balanced.” But this effect was wearing off two weeks later and because her vitality was high and I had good confidence in the remedy, I gave her a 1m potency of Valeriana. Plant remedies can have an immediate effect but sometimes need more frequent repeats.

She was pleased with her progress. Her partner said she was calmer. Her dreams were “more memorable and in them she was figuring something out and managing things and people.”

“I feel fine about the dark now. I have not heard or seen the rat since the remedy.” (However the rat does exist and they later do pest control to rid their house of this pest.)

Her sleep improved and she was breathing with deeper breaths. She continued to do well for two months and then returned for a follow-up. She then told me that she was not overwhelmed but frequently crying over her relationship with her partner with his lack of support and the constant arguing. “He is not responsive to my needs. I love him but he is being an arse.” “After our last fight I was so angry with him. He is unwilling to be kind. He says mean things. When I was on the island by myself last weekend, I loved the natural things and the birds.”

Her anger patterns are connected to her childhood experiences. Her father was very abusive towards the mother and there were constant fights. Her mother was exhausted with four children and Sarah felt neglected .

She says to me, “Who do I want to be? I want to get back to the girl I was when I met him. I don’t want these arguments and the crying.”

She had developed a return of an old symptom which was sharp pain in the right kidney area. The pain did not radiate, was like a cramp and better for warmth.

The previous night she had a dream where she was putting ideas into a line and her transcripts into a chapter. “These things are so intense, my relationship, my work. I must work through the process. I must stop being such a child. These are growing pains. Communication problems.”

Sarah is such an articulate woman that she gave a very clear picture of what her next remedywould be. Her issues had become focused on the personal with her feelings of lack of support and the struggle with her thesis.

Sankaran says this about Magnesium Phosphoricum ; The person from whom I seek care and nourishment to survive is indifferent, unloving , uncaring and unaffectionate towards me.

She needs a mineral remedy of the identity line, the third row of the periodic table. Incidentally the plant Valeriana is reported to have a good source of magnesium phosphate. (Prisma, Vermeulen)

Rubrics Generals: motion amel

Generals: air, seashore air, amel

Abdomen: hypochondrium, right, lying on right side when,> warmth

Mind : weeping ;sobbing; weeping with.

Mind: fear, genera, happen, something will.

Mind: discontented, displeased, dissatisfied, everything , with

Her childhood history also supports the remedy. A child with quarrelling parents who fears the anger and violence.

She was given two doses 200c one week apart and in the following week was offered a new job after speaking about her thesis before an audience. Six weeks later she was still feeling good and sleeping well. She and her partner were planning to move to a provincial town and start a family at the end of the year.

Her improvement continued for four months and I last saw her for a relapse on 12th of November. At this time she was dealing with work responsibilities that were not of her making. “I am not being supported with these things.’ “Why me; why am I the first port of call.”

The kidney pains had not returned with the stress but interestingly she had experienced darting and stitching pains in her right ankle which was the site of her old fracture. She had also felt spasms in her abdomen when she thought of the family suicides back in India.

A repeat of Magnesium phosphorium 200c gave her back her equilibrium in one day. She felt calm and able to cope but this state was tested when two weeks later she flew with her daughter to America to be present at her maternal grandmother’s death. I saw her one week after her return and the old feelings of being totally overwhelmed and the sleeplessness had returned.

I gave her some flower essences for grief and then repeated the Valeriana 200c .

My strong reason for giving the plant remedy this time was her inability to make decisions. This state was unusual in a young woman who was assertive and achievement orientated. This indecisiveness had been a strong feature when she first came to see me. I felt the trauma of her grandmother’s death and the custody battle with her ex- husband had created an acute episode for her which needed a plant remedy response.

The only physical sensations she experienced were pressure pains in her heart area and solar plexus area. This prescription helped her sleeplessness and inability to decide between two extremes. She felt more in balance although in the near future she may need another repeat of her current mineral remedy.

About the author

Ann Brabant

Ann Brabant has been a registered homeopath since 2006 with a private practice in Auckland, New Zealand. She specializes in classical homeopathy and has gained a deeper understanding of remedies from the work of Sankaran and Scholten. She is a retired general nurse.

Leave a Comment