March 2009 – A girl of 15 came to my practice with her mother. The girl’s problem was her difficulty in mathematics. A few years before she was admitted to hospital for bursting headache, which was later cured with homeopathy.
She said, ‘I could solve the test papers in class and get good score but when it comes to annual exam, I could not remember formulas and get only 4 or 10 marks out of 80. I am getting good marks in other subjects.”
“I like mathematics but my only problem is in recollecting formulas. The math problems, which are not based on formulas, are for me to solve.” She is not getting good sleep at night, which ultimately causes headaches the next morning. She has neck pain on bending forward.
Her menarche was at 13 years of age. She had only one menstrual period in a year for the last two years. She was given allopathic medicine but without effect.
She lost her father two years ago. She said that after his death, her uncle and his family keep on tormenting her and her mother. The family environment is very unhealthy.
She said- ‘I could not bear someone torturing my mother like this. I am very much angry with them but mom says not to fight, so have to suppress anger. My cousin teases me a lot but I try to ignore him. I do not share everything with mother, a few things I keep to myself. I have the courage to take a stand but mother never allows me.
How do you feel when you suppress the anger?
Pt: Lot of thoughts in mind; want to go away from family. I do not know where but want to go away from everyone.
Do you want to move to a hostel?
Are you more comfortable with your mother or alone?
Pt- I am better when alone. Mother keeps on releasing her frustration on me.
It seems you are being teased and tormented but you are suppressing anger all the time.
Me- How do you express your suppressed anger? Do you shout at your brother or mother?
Pt- Sometimes! Otherwise, I cry.
Me. – So you cry but not speak?
Me – tell me about dreams.
Pt- I see my late father calling me in heaven.
Me- Do you ever think about suicide?
Pt- I want suicide but could not leave my mother alone.
Please tell me what the problem is with math.
Pt- I have interest in math. I can solve questions well in class, but the only problem is the annual exam. I read the questions, solve easy problems and as soon as I face a difficult question, I forget the formulas! I cannot recollect anything!
The girl’s mother stated, “She is very hot tempered, aggressive, starts quarreling with her uncle and his family. I have to stop her to avoid complications. She always thinks about me and has a fear that I may be injured. Her teacher suggested we keep her in the same standard as she failed math. It will spoil a complete year of life. Doctor, please help us in this matter.”
I first observe the journey of disease.
H/O-Headache, sudden death of father, suppression of menses (not sure about suppression due to grief). Humiliation / insults, suppression of anger, detachment with surroundings, fear and anxiety (about mother), confusion
She is a flower developed on unhealthy soil. She likes math but is not able to solve those questions which are based on formulas; it is about geometry, not about Algebra!
The following rubrics were considered.
Nat. mur, Staphysagria, Ignatia, Nux vomica, Sepia and various remedies came up.
I verified all remedies with materia medica but could not find a satisfactory match.
I again look in the rubric Mind – Mathematics – inability for – geometry
Alum. Ambr. calc. caust. con.
In this case Calcarea, Causticum and Conium were not indicated. Ambra was there but the characteristic symptom of shyness is missing. Finally I decided to go with Alumina. I gathered some points from Boericke, Phatak, Bailey, Frans Kusse, Vermeulen and Farrington’s materia medica about Alumina.
Here are the excerpts:
Alumina patient is physically thin, with bony facial features, and wrinkled brows and mentally unstable, with a tendency towards hysteria. Such patients often have a history of unstable childhood circumstances, including a family history of mental illness, father rarely available in home (in this case- father died) and mother is quite detached (in this case- busy in fighting her own front), a reflection of the syphilitic miasm in the family. They do not have any role model in their lives.
Alumina struggles to build a separate identity. The first impression that the Alumina patient often gives is usually one of confusion. In many cases, Alumina’s mental confusion is present from childhood. She can be sluggish in the way she thinks and acts, as though her muscles are weak and inflexible.
She needs all her attention to perform a single task, and finds it difficult to do two things at once. She likes everything to proceed at her pace and in her own way. The Alumina child has difficulty learning, especially with regard to speech and writing.
It becomes more obvious when the she tries to cope as an adult in the world. She then begins to feel overwhelmed, and incapable of making decisions and looking after herself. This generates anxiety, which reduces her self-confidence, making her thinking even less clear and resulting in irresolution. Due to her weakly developed will, she easily becomes a victim of strong willed people.
There is inability to think and to use correct words while talking. Hence, we have ‘Inability to follow a train of thought’, ‘makes mistakes in writing and speaking’, were rubrics in Alumina.
Alumina is prone to powerful emotions, particularly despair, anger and anxiety. The mood often alternates between despair and a relatively contented state, changing several times within a day (rubric: ‘Mood changeable’). During depressive moods Alumina will feel hopeless.
There may be a great deal of weeping, or the patient may not weep at all, but simply withdraws into silence like Natrum and Aurum.
Alumina is predominantly a female remedy, and there is often a marked increase in moodiness before the menses. Both despair and aggression may increase at this time, along with the fear that the patient will hurt herself. Some Alumina patients want company when depressed, whilst others avoid it. She may be subject to sudden bouts of rage, although often she will not take out her rage on others, but rather slams doors and smashes things, or curses out loud (Bailey).
If you ask specifically about impulses, she will confirm her impulse about suicide or homicide. Alumina is an extremely anxious type, prone to panic attacks and phobias. Alumina’s fear often leads to insomnia. She will lie awake at night obsessively worrying about how she will cope with the next day. (In this case- how will I face math?), or with some anticipated ordeal in the near future (in this case-they will hurt my mother)
Alumina’s hurriedness is often accompanied by a feeling of wanting to get away, to escape, although the patient has no idea where she wants to go to.
Prescription and Result;
March 2009 – Alumina 10M one aqua dose was given at
May 2009- Slight improvement in anger. Menses did not appear. Sleep pattern was same.
July 2009– Anger control improved. Fear reduced. Now sharing her feelings with her mother. Menses did not appear. Mathematics is still a problem. Alumina 10 M one aqua dose was repeated.
September 2009- Menses appeared but insufficient flow. Sleep is sound. Spending good time with family, enjoying talks with mother. Anxiety about mother’s security was there. Status quo about mathematics!
I felt to put some intercurrent remedy or to repeat Alumina but remember Organon Aphorisms 245 and 246 introduced the “wait and watch philosophy” which is a manifestation of the principles of minimal intervention and the minimal dose. If the client is improving after the administration of the first dose of a remedy, all repetitions of the dose are completely counter indicated.
November 2009 – Menses regular with adequate flow. Conflict with mathematics was better; still facing the same issue. Alumina 10 M aqua dose given fortnightly for 2 months.
February 2010 – Everything was fine except the anxiety about exam (exam was due in March 2010.) Just counselling done.
Placebo given to take 4 globules before mathematics exam.
May 2010- She did not come for follow up.
June 2010 – Scored 32 marks out of 80 in mathematics. Obviously not good; but better than before.
I guess, if she would have visited me earlier, homeopathy could have saved her from repeating the year.
It was not about the problem with mathematics, it was about her personality. She was not able to follow formulas. What are formulas? A fix protocol, a mandatory rule to be applied. Alumina not only solved her confusion but also made her calm and confident. Menses are regular.