Clinical Cases

Utility of Dreams in Homoeopathic Practice

Written by Rajiv Peres

Rajiv Peres shares three cases in which the patient’s dreams played a part in finding the simillimum. Magnesium carb, Veratrum carb and Natrum carb were remedies revealed dreams.

Case # 1  – Irritable bowel syndrome

On 2nd June 2020 A 31-year-old unmarried woman, Chef by profession, came along with her mother at the correct time of appointment (dressing was also very proper) and presented with complaints of severe dysmenorrhoeas since about 2 years. She experienced this ever since she got a uterine clean up done for her uterine polyps.

She had menses for 24 days and endometriosis and her sexual drive vanished. A USG done in 2013 confirmed a few endometrial cysts and endometrial polyp. She was also diagnosed recently with I.B.S.

Her dysmenorrhoea began on the day of ovulation with unbearable abdominal pain every hour. Nothing helped. Her menarche was at 12 years but she always had profuse menses lasting for 8 days.

Her haemoglobin used to be low in childhood and 9mg/dl was the highest recording. She became sexually active at 12 years of age. Her mother said that the daughter always had love relationships and was a rebellious child. The mother described the patient’s adolescence as a problematic one.

She hardly attended classes, was always busy with boyfriends and relationships. She often cut her wrist due to disappointments in relationships. She could hardly concentrate on studies as her moods were changeable.

She failed her I.H.M course exams several times and wanted to pursue modeling, however her mother objected. Her father supported her and brought her on track. She never listened to her mother.

At 22 years she got pregnant and had advanced into the 5th month. Her parents were worried about their name in society and warned her that her career will be over if she continues the pregnancy, so she underwent an abortion.

It was very painful physically as well as emotionally. Till today she cannot forgive herself for allowing that abortion. She doesn’t want to get married nor have children as she feels God will punish her with a deformed child. However, she loves children and will entertain and play with her friend’s kids.

She cannot bear to see injustice done to anybody’s children. She will go out of her way to help them and spend any amount of money to see them happy. She will not tolerate injustice done towards animals and was reported to have punched some boy for throwing stones at a dog.

She is also overprotective about her younger sister who is 5 years younger. Her sister studies in Pune and when she returns to Goa she keeps a close watch on whom she is dating. However, Pune is out of her reach to do surveillance and so the patient feels helpless.

After the abortion she became serious and her teachers forced her to appear for exams which she passed. Today she is well placed in life and has achieved a lot. Her mother calls her an exemplary child now.

She has fear of being alone and getting rejected. Hence, she gives her very best at everything. She always feels that her mother, although a teacher, never expressed love towards her. Her mother by nature was unemotional towards her but very kind and patient towards her students at school.

Her mother would promise her that if she spoke the truth she would not be punished.  But when she spoke the truth, her mother gave her severe punishment. Thereafter she began telling lies.

Her mother didn’t like hugs and kisses, but when her sister was born, she observed that her sister was given much affection. At that time, she believed she was an adopted child and used to get dreams that her real family is coming to take her.

She felt that something was wrong with her because her mother didn’t give her love.  Her mother would leave her in the neighborhood and go to teach school. At that time her neighbor, a woman, molested her. She didn’t tell her parents since they would never believe her, but to this day she sees that woman interacting with other children and worries about their safety.

Most of the time she spent with her grandmother and she is more attached to her father. When her grandmother was sick, she took care of her bedsores and sacrificed many things happily to provide service to her. Her mother requested her not to put her in an “old age home”.  The patient promised that she will never do such a thing and would always take care of her.

She has fear of people going away from her, (presently her boyfriend) but this originated in her childhood. Her father once had an affair and she remembers her parents fighting and her father telling her that she might have to be away from her mother.

She has been with this boyfriend for 10 years now and the last two years he fights with her for sex but she cannot satisfy him because of her bowel pains. They are so intense that she can hardly sleep. In her childhood till the age of 22 she could never sleep before 2 am.

Since the time of the abortion, she over thinks whenever she has to make a decision. The abortion made her emotional and she breaks into a cold sweat from every part. When she gets angry with others, she is patient but when she fights with her boyfriend, she physically assaults him and then she regrets behaving that way.

At such times she fears he might leave her and go away. She doesn’t mean to hurt him but her anger is so violent that she may even punch the wall. She wants a peaceful mind because presently she is thinking of the worst case scenarios. She wishes that she communicated better with her mother, however she feels her father is more broadminded. Her mother has fixed ideas about what is right and nothing beside that exists.

The biggest regret for her is that she got pregnant and that she had the abortion. She loves going for nature trekking and for road trips where she can experience nature’s beauty. She enjoys thunderstorms.

She is thermally chilly, thirstless and sleeps in the foetal position on her left side. She can sense if a person is genuine and guided her father on whom to rent his shop to. She loves reading books because they take her into an imaginary world.

She seeks refuge in her phone to divert her mind and her boyfriend complaint that she is paying more attention to the phone. She likes music when she is sad but not otherwise.

Family history: Her father had bipolar disease and hemiplegia at 50 years due to aneurism, Type 1 D.M and HTN. Her maternal grandmother suffered from Parkinson’s and D.M. Paternal grandmother also suffered from Parkinsons. Paternal grandfather also suffered from cerebrovascular accident at 45 years but survived till 80 years.

1st Prescription Colocynthis 200, 4 doses (Acute prescription) June 2nd, 2020

Colocynth was chosen based on sudden, violent cramping, being sleepless and restless with pains. Also, concomitant of irritability and painful breasts during menses

Follow up after 15 days – After the remedy she felt very relaxed and would not fester her brain with over thinking like before. On 6th June she got her menses but unlike earlier there was no breast tenderness nor irritability.

Everything was going fine until two days before ovulation and suddenly hunger increased, and she was constipated and restless. Then she complained of terrible gripping infra-umbilical continuous pain, as if squeezing a knot in the intestines. It was >lying in bed with something hot on her tummy, hard pressure helps, going out and walking helps (gentle motion).

After the pain subsides, she needs to eat something which is followed by bloating of abdomen then she feels tightness, no energy to do anything and anxiety about things out of her control in general.  Amelioration after stool, although not easy and >after flatulence. Since the pain has returned, she believes the old medicine will not work.

Colocynthis 1M, 1 dose given. Immediately pain disappeared within 2 minutes. Advised SOS dose with succussion.

Follow up after 28 days – Pain in abdomen reappeared around the time of ovulation. When Colocynthis 1M was taken it immediately resolved it. Overall, pain lasted only for 2 days and this time it was bearable. Usually it would go on for many days.

Follow up after 1 month– Pain in abdomen reappeared around the time of ovulation. Intermittent pain returns after 3-4 hours. Two days before the pain appears she gets bloating of abdomen and bit usually she has a flat tummy. Also she becomes thirstless 2 days before pain comes, which results in constipation.

Appetite increases during pain and is aggravated after eating. Overall she feels less tired, not overly stressed out and has peace of mind. Colocynthis settled the pain 60%. Overall this pain’s frequency has reduced a lot in the last 2 months and it comes only 3 times a day.

Also the intensity has reduced, now only on the first 3 days the intensity is more and needs Colocynthis every 2 hours but doesn’t seem to help. Before the pain would last for 5 days.

Mag-Carb 1M,  single dose was prescribed as her constitutional remedy-. July 2nd, 2020. Magnesium because of dreams (that her real parents are coming to take her and also dreams seen as remedy response) and also due to repressions.

Here the pathology of spasms >walking in open air and neglected feeling is again indicative of magnesium. The centre point or nucleus of this case is love and care.  On one side she is impulsive and on the other side uncommunicative and going into a shell. The whole range of responses revolves around love and care (available or not).

This remedy is not conscientious but rather has an emotional mind. Intense, deep, thoughts, very difficult to remove from mind (cannot forget memories good or bad), one side retaliates and other side withdraws e.g. after abortion. Oscillating between pain and pleasure. Hypersensitive, hyper reactive and the tubercular miasm is dominant.

The central idea of Magnesium-carb from Materia Medica is, the lack of care, protection and nourishment as a dependent infant. This is confirmed through her dreams: dreams of being lost in the forest and dreams being lost at home.

Forest is a fixed symbol of danger. A place inhabited by ghosts and dangerous animals and the place where mysterious things happen like in fairy tales as well as lost in the magical world of the unconscious. In this case the dreams were indicative of Magnesium Carb.

Follow up on 5th day – The first two days she was very emotional and had dreams which she never normally gets. Then from the third day onwards she observed that she is sleeping better and her pain disappeared. She is feeling much calmer and not so anxious. She is greatly appreciating homoeopathy.

Follow up after 15 days – Also after the remedy she got certain unusual dreams as if she is in a third degree competition on stage and has to answer certain awkward questions on stage. She woke up disturbed and for the first time could discuss her dream with her boyfriend.

She has changed from introvert to someone who is able to speak up. For the first time she refused and said no to do things because she was already tired. Usually, she would do things because she felt too guilty to say ‘No’.  She was also able to talk to her Mum with ease on issues like suicide.

She as fewer fights with her boyfriend and had sex with him which she just didn’t feel like having before. Overall 90% better. Felt immense peace and realized that she never desired to be a chef but her mother showed her that line. She only wanted to be happy and give others happiness which she already has and that it’s not necessary to be perfect to impress her family.

Follow up after 4 months– No recurrence of complaints. No new complaints. Treatment stopped.

Note:  In this case the dreams started only after the prescription of Magnesium. This is because often repressed feelings, as we see characteristically in Magnesium’s, will surface only after taking the remedy. Hence the dream is confirming that the simillimum is correct and acting.

Case #2 – Eczema in a Woman of 40

Rajiv Peres

On 6th July 2020 A 40 year old married women who was trying her best to conceive presented with severe skin eruptions all over her body along with horrible itching since last 2 months. The eruptions were also on the scalp which prevented her from sleeping.

She would also suffer from headaches on and off. One year ago she had received Medorrhinum 200, 1 dose for left ovarian cyst producing menorrhagia and even allopathy was not helping. She was a shy housewife, very religious and spent her time in taking care of her mother- in-law and husband.

There was deep seated sadness since she had not been able to bear a child. Also there was worry about constructing a new home. but funds were not sufficient. She was a hot patient who was thirsty for hot drinks and desired for sour food stuffs. When she developed some bloating of the abdomen, she perceived it as if she had become pregnant until a scan cleared that delusion.

She had a very persistent dream of cats pursuing her at least 8 times a month. There was no special fondness for cats in real life. There were no special characteristics in this case. But the dream was a strange one. I looked it up under the rubric dreams of cats pursuing him (Nux-v, Sil, Verat-Alb).

At this point I also checked the craving for sour things and everything made perfect sense because Veratrum Alb has the symptom “delusion she is pregnant/fancies herself pregnant and that she will be delivered soon”. I prescribed Verat-Alb 200, 1 single dose.

Follow up after 15 days– Felt a lot of peace on the first 4 days of starting the medicine. Skin eruptions improved by 65% one the 3rd day. Also, the headaches that would occur completely disappeared. She was well for 7 months at one stretch.

Case # 3 – Swollen Ankles in a Woman of 32

A 32 year old woman recently married, presented with complaints of swelling in both ankles and extreme tiredness since last 3 months. For the last 3 months she had been running around to get arrangements for her wedding. She was under tremendous pressure due to non-cooperation from her siblings, two brothers. She had to work twice as much each day.

She is a teacher by profession and has to stand for long periods. Due to tension she ate more and her weight increased considerably. Also, she is prone to ankle injury, twisted while dancing.

Angered very easily especially with her siblings and with her brother who always discouraged her and a certain girl friend who criticized her. By nature she is sensitive to rudeness and weeps quietly.

She is not basically a fighter but rather a family type of girl. Very caring of her brother’s and family’s honour. Of late her digestion is not good and she suffers from diarrhea easily. Bloating of abdomen.

Appetite- good. Craving for sweets. Thirstless. Thermal-Chilly patient

Stool- Not well formed, like pulp of fruit

Sleepless till 1 A.M. due to thoughts of unpleasant events of past. Falls asleep while travelling to work.

Dreams- Repeated dreams of going on a journey at least thrice a week with family members around and wakes up with the dream in the morning.

On Examination: Eyes- Pallor+ Blood Pressure- 120/80 mmHg

Anamnesis of case:

Boenninghausen’s Therapeutic pocket book was consulted: 1)Dream of Journeys. 2) Dreams constantly ongoing after waking. The only remedy covering both these rubrics; Natrum-Carb.

Phatak mentions under Natrum-carb great debility from exertion, anemia, irritable and occupied with sad thoughts. Anxiety, fearfulness and gastric weakness by slightest errors in diet further confirmed the remedy. Prescription made on 9th January 2020 Natrum-Carb LM1, 1 Single dose. Advised to take iron supplement and later resume exercise once she feels stronger.

Natrum carb is mainly indicated in cases of psychological and physical exhaustion because it has a big effect on nerves and digestion. Another striking feature is that Natrum-carb needs to have something in the mouth, and the distended belly is better after diarrhea.

Although Natrum carb lives through periods of sadness and depression, it can be happy too. Mood can be changeable, suddenly happy and suddenly angry and aggressive. And they dislike certain people like Sepia and Ferrum.

Follow up after 30 days– Swelling in ankles reduced over 75%. Feels less tired as compared to before and can sleep much better at night by 12am.   In daytime she doesn’t fall asleep while traveling. Last night she got a dream of returning home after travelling and saw her late mother and late grandmother receiving her at home. Thirst has improved. Less irritable than before. This is a case where the prescription was based on a dream since in this one-sided case nothing else was characteristic.

What are Dreams?

Freud claimed that the dream is a façade of psychic phenomena behind which its meaning lies hidden. It’s a meaning already known to the dreamer on some level, but maliciously, so to speak, withheld from consciousness.

Dreams are not disturbers of sleep, but rather its guardians against disturbances. Dreams are the most common and the most direct expressions of the unconscious psyche, providing us clues in cases where there is an apparent paucity of mental/emotional symptoms.

All dreams are not equally important. The big ones often remain with us for a lifetime: ‘I will never forget this dream’. Just as no two people are alike, no two people dream the same dream exactly for the same reason.

The key to find its usefulness is to understand it. Even when the homoeopath does not understand a dream, it can still be effective as a form of compensation for the patient. Many things, including homoeopathy can be effective without fully being understood.

Dr N.M Choudhary opines that a special study of dreams is essential because dreams are as guides for a homoeopath which specify a particular deviation of the individual from the normal.

Important cures have been recorded based on dreams alone. Hence a homoeopath needs to apply the full armory of our art to understand dreams. For example, we can see in the Staphysagria dream fights, battles, wars, telling her to finally stand up to the perpetrator.

They reflect the dreamer’s anticipation of future alterations of consciousness. Take Sepia for instance, who initially loves and is dedicated to her family. Yet she can have dreams of killing her family members or of running away from them to find peace –even of killing her newborn baby.

For a long time, these patients can consciously suppress these feelings, but their dreams may reveal much earlier their inner self. Or the Carcinosin patient, who dreams about failure in examinations since he is ‘not allowed to fail’, a condition imposed by his parents or self-imposed.

Even when a dream is not found in the proving of a remedy, it still can relate to the essence of that remedy as evident in our 3rd case in which she was feeling deserted by two of her brothers, thereby taking a flight into fantasy in the form of a journey which helps to get totally disconnected from her forsaken environment.

About the author

Rajiv Peres

Dr. Rajiv Rui Viegas Peres M.D(Hom) Assistant Professor, Dept of Organon of Medicine, Aarihant Homoeopathic Medical College, Bhoyan Rathod, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Pin 382721 Received Best Teacher’s Award 2010-11, Received Hahnemann Award 2018, Received Excellence in Homoeopathy Award in April 2022, Active Member of H.E.R.I Mumbai.

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