Date of consultation: 20th December 2018
The patient is a nine-year old boy. I have been the family’s Homeopath for several years and the mother contacted me as her son was experiencing anxiety. It had been going on for a couple of months and had gradually increased to the point where he was becoming all consumed by it, especially at night.
The patient explained that he starts to get anxious just before bedtime as he fears being alone. This causes him to break down in tears and he only feels better if he goes downstairs with his parents where he falls asleep on the sofa. However, when he is in bed in his own room, he feels alone and isolated, which makes him extremely anxious and tearful. He experiences an overwhelming desire for company so he gets up and goes into his younger sister’s room to sleep.
He also fears that his parents will go out whilst he is in bed, and that something will happen and they won’t return. He fears he will be abandoned. He knows this is an irrational fear as his parents have never left him alone and they rarely go out in the evenings. On the odd occasion that this does happen, his grandmother with whom he has a good relationship, comes to stay. His mother explained that sometimes she goes upstairs to find him asleep at the top of the stairs as he can only fall asleep when he can hear his parents downstairs.
When I enquired where he feels the anxiety, he pointed to his stomach and added that he experiences an aching pain in his stomach when he is worried. This also tends to be aggravated in the evening. He is a polite, engaging, open child who is easily able to express his symptoms and emotions. His mother told me that he is quite a gentle and sensitive soul. She also explained that he was clingy as a young child and has always suffered from mild separation anxiety which is ameliorated by receiving reassurance. He is also an affectionate boy.
I enquired what was happening around the time the anxiety started but despite extensive questioning, neither the patient or his mother could think of any particular triggers. The family generally have a happy and stable home life and he enjoys school. I observed that he seems to have a close relationship with his mother which they both confirmed. However, his younger sister is quite a fiery character which can result in some friction in the household and his mother wonders if this affects him subconsciously as he is sensitive to emotional upset.
Physically he had a loose cough which was aggravated in bed, lying on his back and when stooping. His mother adds that colds always go to his chest. Other than that, he is generally well, although he has suffered from some digestive issues in the past which responded well to Lycopodium.
He is slim with blonde hair and pale skin with a few freckles.
The repertorisation was very close between Phosphorus and Pulsatilla. However, I felt that the patient was more independent than a child needing Pulsatilla would be. The current loose cough and modalities also pointed to Phosphorus.
The following symptoms are found in The Homeopathic Treatment Of Children by Paul Herscu N.D:
“The Phosphorus child appears bright, answering questions quickly…”
“They fear being alone in the house”
“The children do not like to go to sleep alone”
“…often creep into their parents’ or a sibling’s bed. The sibling does not need to be older than the Phosphorus child to make him feel secure.”
Also, in the Concordant Materia Medica by Frans Vermeulen we find the following symptoms for Phosphorus:
“FEAR SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN”
“Fear arising from stomach”
“Anxious, fears being alone”
20th December 2018 – Phosphorus 200c twice daily for 3 days
The patient’s mother got in touch after about a week to let me know that just after finishing the remedy the anxiety had totally disappeared. Both she and her son were delighted.
27th May 2019
Just over 5 months after taking the Phosphorus, the patient’s mother contacted me again as the anxiety had returned. She had already given a repeat dose of Phos 200c twice daily for 3 days and had waited for 3 weeks. There had been a slight improvement but this time the Phosphorus had definitely not had the same deep healing effect as before.
As it had been 5 months since the last consultation and repeating the Phosphorus had not produced any significant effect, I asked some further questions. I discovered that the symptoms were much the same as before but since returning, the anxiety now also occurs during the day. For example, if the teacher needs to leave the classroom the patient feels anxiety as he feels the need for a responsible adult to be there.
As the school day starts to come to an end, he worries that his mother might be late to pick him up from school, even though she is always on time. In fact, the anxiety is now so intense that he cannot cope with being alone in the car, even if his mother parks directly outside a shop and pops in for just a couple of minutes.
He mentioned again the strong fear of being abandoned. I asked him what scared him most about the thought of being abandoned, and he replied that he was worried about how he would cope if he was on his own. He thinks of all the scenarios that would happen. For, example, how would he make his own meals or get himself to school? His mother observed that he is restless when he is feeling anxious.
I asked again if there was anything they could think of which may have triggered this situation. His mother replied that she had been thinking about this and a couple of years ago both of the patient’s grandfathers died so perhaps there was a subconscious grief response.
The lack of reaction on repeating the Phosphorus suggested to me that there may be a block requiring a miasmatic remedy. I thought of Carcinosin as it is closely related to Phosphorus and it features the following rubrics (found in Carcinosin, A Compendium of References, Compiled by R.D Micklem):
Fear, abandoned of being
Abandoned, forsaken feeling
Fear, alone of being
Alone, aggravation when
Fear, happen that something will
Anxiety, late, when others are late for an appointment
It is interesting that Carcinosin has the symptom “responsibility, burdened with, at too young an age”. Although the patient is not currently burdened with too much responsibility, this is what he fears.
27th May 2019 – Carcinosin 200c twice daily for 5 days.
Follow Up 7th August 2019
The patient’s mother advised that he is considerably less anxious. He still needs reassurance when going to bed that his parents will be staying in the house all night but he has not had any episodes of intense anxiety and tears. The patient told me the anxiety is still there but much better. What is bothering him the most at the moment is feeling anxious about his mother picking him up from places on time. He worries about what will happen to him if she is late or doesn’t turn up.
I felt that Carcinosin had worked well but it had not had the same complete healing effect as the very first prescription of Phosphorus. I felt, however, that it had removed a block so that Phosphorus could continue its profound effect.
August 7, 2019 – I prescribed Phos 200c twice daily for 5 days.
The patient’s mother contacted me on 14th October and this was her message:
“ My son has been so much better since the last Phosphorus which is brilliant! He has even been taking himself off to bed or I have left him reading and he turns his own light off and goes to sleep by himself! These are massive steps for him, so it’s great news. I’m amazed at how the remedy has helped him. I can’t tell you how lovely it is not to have him upset, so thank you.”
Carcinosin, A Compendium of References, Compiled by R.D. Micklem, Third Edition, 1998
Paul Herscu, N.D., The Homeopathic Treatment of Children, Pediatric Constitutional Types; 1991, North Atlantic Books.
Frans Vermeulen, Concordant Materia Medica, Millennium Edition 2000, Emryss bv Publishers