Translated by Katja Schuett and Alan Schmukler
Children form according to their reaction to their family atmosphere and environment. Organic manifestations may form due to emotional experiences that disturb the vital force, and which may cause a clinical well differentiated pattern, be it acute or chronic. Some clinical cases are described demonstrating that adequate case taking and especially consideration of the leading mental symptoms, is important for the resolution of the patient’s morbid process.
Key words: Homeopathic medicine, children, mental symptoms, psychic conflict, acute cases
A child is an innocent and defenseless being that is imprinted with the pattern of its ancestors, which during the course of the first years, forms their body and mind, following their example, because the parents are considered to be the most important and only models in these years of innocence.
But, in this perverse and inhuman society in which we are immersed, this model can easily turn out to be unpleasant for the child. It might be transformed into an unhappy or ill child, full of insecurity, anxieties and fears, with restlessness, violence and aggressiveness, with a mind imbued with aggressive thoughts, hate, always with the fear of failure, and without daring, without expressing their feelings, but sunken into docility and sadness as shown by its weeping, the only available weapon for defense.
For some children this already begins before they are born, when they are conceived without love, their arrival not desired, or if they are the result of a violent act, or come from depraved parents who were tainted by alcohol, tobacco or drugs. Or, if they are marked with the signs of disease, their essence impregnated with the terrible, destructive miasm of syphilis or the sycotic stigma of gonorrhea.
Later, the phases of development and formation continue the drama, which will indelibly mark their footsteps for the rest of their lives. It begins when the mother, pretending to love the child, refuses their primordial food, the product of their breasts, which is not only the most powerful nutrient and most adequate means for defense, but which also transmits the mother’s feelings and sensitivity.
Then, there are physical punishments which might be inhuman, because the parents vent all their own inner bitterness on the child. So the little one continues to grow up, being ignored in his own home, and lacking caresses and play. His world becomes dark while he continues to develop without affection and without living the normal phases of childhood. He is overwhelmed by the cries, insults, threats, humiliations, blows and prohibitions of an ignorant, cruel or unhappy mother, or a drunken father who rumbles like a rhinoceros, confronting his wife and innocent children with all his rage and helplessness that accumulated during his miserable life.
HOW SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN EXPRESS
In our practice these ill-treated children do not present psychic diseases as these are completely ignored, but rather a series of physical ailments like asthma, rhinitis, adenoids, tonsillitis, otitis, or meningitis resulting from their psychological trauma and disturbed psyche. These are usually terrible, restless, furious and aggressive children. They are horrible, bad-mannered, dominant and impulsive, rebellious, and negative. They suffer from learning difficulties, insecurity, insomnia, nightmares and pavor nocturnus. The children might be depressive, sad and nostalgic, extremely submissive, and craving for love. Or, they are easily frightened, unsociable and fearful of people, timid and crying.
These frustrated children present a range of symptoms reflecting their psychological disturbance and unbalanced vital force. The psychological symptoms usually go unnoticed because they are thought to be normal during childhood. But these are the ones the homeopath is interested in, and which reveal themselves during the homeopathic anamnesis, even if the child consults us because of asthma, rhinitis, recurrent respiratory ailments or anorexia, or with vomiting, colic, dermatitis, enuresis nocturna, epilepsy, speech disorders, lacking performance at school, which are all but somatized manifestations of the suffering.
These are the complaints for which parents of such children come to consult us, and which traditional medicine is unable to cure. Only pure Hahnemannian, and correctly applied homeopathy can solve these cases. Here, problems for the physician begin when he remains stuck in materialistic concepts and just tries to give a homeopathic remedy in a more allopathic way to rapidly eliminate the troubling symptoms, without considering homeopathic principles and that these symptoms only constitute a part of the whole, internal disease. Before prescribing the homeopath must first understand the internal disease, because it is the internal, psychic suffering which reveals the miasmatic background and is reflected in their physical symptoms. It will not be cured radically unless the internal disease is removed. Somehow we have to forget all the organic symptomatology and look for the psychic symptoms of the child, because this is how we can make a reliable prescription with a subsequent, rapid disappearance of all morbid symptoms. Let’s remember that THERE ARE NO DISEASES BUT ONLY ILL PEOPLE.
HOW DOES THE DISTURBANCE BEGIN?
The human drama begins at birth when the child comes from the womb into a hostile environment that generates insecurity in one who knows that he was born in order to die. This is the fateful EXISTENTIAL ANXIETY which will accompany the human all his days, and which might be silent or latent, but which will develop further from the circumstances the he has to face in life. The human is a weak and insignificant being which is subject to minor or major difficulties during his existence, and can either be healthy or very ill. The human is mud, corruption and animality and he is also heaven and angel. That is, he is a mixture of greatness and misfortune, half angel and half animal. This is why he is subject to disease and pain, but he can also transcend and elevate himself towards the infinite.
The human is matter, soul and spirit wherefore he is, even if thinking to be free, linked not only to the special laws of nature but also to universal laws which he has to obey and subrogate in order to survive and to be happy… and to move towards transcendence, whose contrary would be a poor being. Childhood holds the future for the human and it is the traumata of childhood that influences his existence. This is why, contrary to the anatomic structures and psychological mechanisms which science gives such importance to, homeopathy values the human’s life, the processes in which these structures and mechanisms are no more than a trampoline in the relationship between their internal world and the external environment, following the rhythm of the universal law. The person who follows Adamic, knows that he has to descend from paradise and to suffer the consequences of his bad thinking and actions. From this moment on he is subject to the circumstances of the environment like every mortal, and this subjection causes his anguish, which will determine, during the course of his whole life, whether he will enjoy health and happiness or become ill and unhappy. Everything depends on his ancestors and the environment in which he lives. THIS IS WHY OUR WONDERFUL HOMEOPATHY IS SO IMPORTANT IN CHILDHOOD.
The adult human bears the burden of the hereditary effects, of the mistreatments during childhood and the traumata he suffered during the course of his life, and which are excited during the morbid processes that he brings since his birth, and which aggravate and block the vital force during each trauma, giving rise to psychic or mental manifestations according to the predominating miasm. This is why patients since childhood present wrong sensations and actions towards life but with different behaviors.
This is where homeopathy acts, not to remove the tumor, itching, inflammation or ulcer directly, but to CHANGE THE RHYTHM OF LIFE of the subject which misses the meaning and purpose of life and is therefore blocked on his path. Homeopathy acts to normalize him, so that he can recognize that his biology is neither the purpose of life nor the only vital sense.
Children and Homeopathy
Especially in children, homeopathy finds a broad field for action because mental symptoms which the homeopath needs for a correct prescription, are most easy to find and in abundance at this time. An early homeopathic intervention is most desirable to rapidly correct the child’s mental state before it manifests severe somatisations.
Eventually the child suffers physically, insistently expressing general and local symptoms which certainly cannot be rejected. The homeopath always considers the law of cure to know whether cure is truly achieved and so the symptoms are not despicably suppressed.
Without ignoring the physical symptoms, the homeopath is looking to find the AUTHENTIC PSYCHIC BACKGROUND which confirms the correct prescription, giving us the certainty to prescribe on the totality. The symptoms which are considered to comprise the patient’s totality indicate the correct path to a good prescription. But, for the homeopath the preclinical diagnosis and how the child’s psyche developed during the course of the disease, is more important than the clinical diagnosis.
Two cases that demonstrate the procedure
The first case is of a 10 year old girl who suffers from a fever of 40/41°C, accompanied by severe prostration and somnolence during which she perspires on the head and has her eyes half open and who salivates. There is restlessness and the sensation of internal heat, with the desire to uncover. Intense thirst. Involuntary evacuations during sleep, of fetid matter. She talks while sleeping and mentions an intimate girl friend. The physical examination only reveals a rigid nape.
The following symptoms were repertorized: Internal heat, thirst, talking while sleeping.
Sleeps. She is sleeping with half open eyes, salivation during sleep. Involuntary evacuations during sleep. Prescription: SULPHUR 30C. No reaction. SULPHUR 200C and 1000 without results. 24 hours later the symptoms are worse, the nuchal rigidity has aggravated and the spine indicates positive Kernig and Brudzinsky’s signs, indicating the clinical diagnosis of meningo-encephalitis and a lumbar puncture is done.
The symptom picture gets worse in every aspect. Whilst delirious, the patient talks about an intimate girl friend with whom she is doing sports in a club. She screams “be careful”, “run”. “This boy is looking for you to go to bed with you. “Take care of you!” Run, run, run!” “Don’t let happen again what happened yesterday,” She is screaming and frightened. With that the idea of an ailment caused by fright came up, and that the symptoms are the somatic expression of this fright.
This is the leading mental symptom which is repertorized with the other symptoms: intense fever with stupefaction and unconsciousness, burning fever with unquenchable thirst, burning fever with thirst for cold drinks, involuntary diarrhea during sleep. PHOSPHORUS was prescribed which ameliorated within a few hours.
The second case is about Juan Carlos, an 11 year old child who suffers from a fever that oscillates between 38,5 and 39,5°C and from cough which is worse during sleep and which wakes him up. He suffers from these symptoms for 10 days along with lack of thirst and appetite. The mother has given him antipyretics and antitussive medicines and upon our telephone consultation administers a dose of Lycopodium 200C. During the consultation the child is pale and miserable, the skin is dry, and he perspires on the head at the beginning of sleep. He is bad tempered, does not speak, and only answers monosyllabically. We hear rhonchi on pulmonary auscultation, the body is hot but there is no thirst. He is irritable with the family if someone contradicts. His attitude does not allow us to stay with him, yet he does not want to be alone which he fears.
The following symptoms are considered: fear of being alone, intolerance of contradiction, no thirst, paleness during fever, sweat on heat during sleep and sweat at the beginning of sleep. Lycopodium 1000 is prescribed without any results. The symptoms get worse, he is irritable, intolerable, intolerant, and disrespectful. He is pale, and has no thirst.He is weeping and says that he does not want to be cured, arguing “why should I be cured?”. He wants to stay ill. “My mother does not love me”, “nobody loves me”.
Inconsiderate, arrogant, intolerant, domineering, which still seems to be Lycopodium. On further questioning the mother reports that whilst she was pregnant with J.C. the father did not want to recognize this. During these days J.C. got closely attached to the dog whose name is “water”, the maternal and paternal family name. When the father came he did not speak much with J.C. as his work at college was of more importance to him. The child retreated and wept when alone. He did not want consolation and said: “Papa only loves mama”, “my father is like waste, I don’t want him anymore in my life.” When hearing this his father screamed “this is stupid”, which only aggravated the child’s feeling of pain and his weeping, and the child said: “I’m silly, stupid, and don’t serve to anything.”
After this scene the feeling of the child of being ABANDONED and unwanted developed, which he expressed by means of irritability, pride, intolerance, indifference, jealousy and resentment.
Considering the abandonment as the leading symptom, combining with the other symptoms to consider the symptom totality, SEPIA 1000 was prescribed which restored health.
This demonstrates the importance of the preclinic and to consider mental symptoms, which are of primary importance during the development of physical ailments. This is what homeopathy considers and what makes it different from other materialistic types of medicine where all febrile diseases are labeled as infections, blaming viruses and bacteria to be responsible for their occurrence. Oh, how pediatricians are so satisfied when discovering the responsible germ!
HOW DOES THE HOMEOPATH APPROACH SYMPTOMS?
As homeopaths we know that there might be important psychic conflicts during childhood which lead to physical diseases. This means that we can confirm that that the body has the ability to make sacrifices for the soul.
A child’s path from his illusions into the adult’s world is difficult. The way is paved with psychic damage and emotional disturbances in dependence from the miasmatic heredity of their parents and the psychological traumas suffered during education and the pathological heritage of an inhuman society.
According to Hahnemann, the physical disease serves as a safe conduct for a suffering psyche. For the child the physical disease does not only serve to prevent severe psychic crises but also the transformation of the whole infantile personality.
We know the beneficial results from eruptive diseases in schoolchildren, which free them from the trauma that facilitates the new time of schooling.
It seems that the child’s skin is the first to sacrifice itself when fighting for the development of their “I” and where disease develops first. If skin eruptions are allowed to develop freely, besides the change of skin, then the adaptive change to reality can also succeed. But, if suppressed the child’s psyche recedes, causing subsequent ailments the child suffers from on its path to adulthood: rhinitis, adenitis, otitis, tonsillitis, asthma, etc.
The psychic suppression is also important and happens frequently due to the parents ignorance and indifference. Society, that never seems to understand children, also adds to suppression by provoking inhibitions and frustrations that block the free flow of the vital force through the subject’s body and mind.
The psychic suppressions that are linked to the biological factor shape the predisposition to neurosis in adolescents and adults. The repression of controversial emotions causes anxiety, restlessness and depression which the vital force tries to externalize naturally to defend the interior and mind of the child by means of discharges and affecting less important exterior organs. This is where we find the innumerable diseases children and adolescents suffer from in result of their defense mechanism and attempt to maintain their equilibrium. An equilibrium that is unstable because the miasmatic disturbances does not disappear by themselves, always requires the intervention of the indicated dynamized remedy.
For example, it is no coincidence that the depreciation of the Silicea child starts to manifest when attending school and causes symptoms to appear like behavioral disturbances or other clinical disease entities. It is not surprising that Apis or Nat mur children suffer from nephritis or meningo-encephalitis due to the birth of their sibling which caused jealousy, given the fear of losing the love and protection of his parents, whom he considered to be his property. It is also possible that a Phosphorus child enjoys being ill and is smiling while being red from fever and full of joy when retaining his mother’s company and caress.
We know that all the diseases a child has suffered from during his life are no separate episodes but successive aspects of the same miasmatic state that develops when triggered by morbific agents, be it microbes, traumas, alimentary, climatic or emotional challenges. Therefore, it is necessary to differentiate between the child’s chronic and acute state.
The principal processes that represent the chronic state are known and generally curable with the frequently used polychrests: Arsenicum album, Aurum metallicum, Lachesis, Lycopodium, Natrum muriaticum, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, Phosphorus, Sepia, Silicea, Sulphur, etc.
There are a great many diseases which can be cured with the different potencies of these remedies: eczema, asthma, rhinitis, adenoitis, otitis, tonsillitis, bronchitis, diarrhea, cystitis, to mention a few.
When using homeopathy for chronic prescribing it is necessary to know the child’s temperament, character, state of mind and constitutional predisposition by means of examining their biography, blows of fate suffered during childhood and adolescence, and their actual relationships, which in many cases is provided by the mother. Besides the physical symptoms it is necessary to know the mental and general symptoms as these hold the key to the curative remedy. We can only speak about a cure when the mental symptoms also have disappeared because we have to cure the ill person and not the disease.
In acute cases we have to sharpen our senses to detect the most strange, rare and peculiar symptoms. Prescribing success depends from how the totality is approached. This requires a detailed investigation of what the patient expresses, and to investigate the meaning of his words meticulously.
Let’s see the following sub-acute case:
10 year old child suffering from chronic otorrhea that does not respond to treatment. Pale, very weak, gets tired easily, chilly, cold feet, slim. The otorrhea has a green discharge and there is much cerumen. Increased irritability, he does not want to be spoken to. He fears being alone and thunderstorms. Thirst for cold drinks and frequent epistaxis.
The detailed investigation reveals the following: otorrhea is green and purulent; there is excessive black cerumen, epistaxis with black blood, and what seemed to be fear of thunderstorms is rather the fear of rain. This lets us think of Phosphorus or Silicea, the repertorization considers the following symptoms: fear, rain, of; fear, alone, of being; lack of vital heat; green otorrhea; purulent otorrhea; epistaxis, blood, black; irritability; irritability with himself. ELAPS CORALINUM emerges from repertorization which is rarely used in clinical practice.
The physician depends much on his experience, which has to be completed by using the repertory, studying the materia medica, and forming pictures of patients in his mind.
The following example is to demonstrate how to arrive at the required remedy in acute cases:
12 year old girl with an acute asthma attack. Intense dyspnea, pale, bilious vomiting, thirst, circles around the eyes, yellow coat on tongue, gets angry when examined and requires to find her remedy rapidly. She is repulsive, contemptuous, perspires, her temperature is 37,5°C. She continues to perspire, yellow color of sweat.
Considering the following symptoms the remedies Arsenicum and Ipecacuanha emerge: Vomiting during fever; Vomiting of bile; Sweat does not ameliorate; Yellow color of sweat; Breathing difficult, Paleness. But when only considering these symptoms we only treat the lung and merely focus on the organ. The biography has to be investigated further. The significant fact was discovered that during religious education she was told that a sinner could have limbs amputated or be burnt by the eternal fire which caused her to be frightened and terribly humiliated.
Considering the symptom Ailments from indignation and what was observed during consultation, capriciousness, impatience, contemptuousness, distrustful, Ipecacuanha emerges which ameliorates as it covers the totality of symptoms.
To find the remedy is important for the homeopath. For the patient it is even more important that the homeopath has understood the underlying conflict which forms the base for the drama that expresses itself by means of symptoms and whose secret is kept in the child. Symptoms always find their expression on the mental plane because the predominant miasmatic disturbance not only expresses on the physical but also on the mental plane.
“We shall, therefore, never be able to cure conformably to nature – that is to say, homeopathically – if we do not, in every case of disease, even in such as are acute, observe, along with the other symptoms, those relating to the changes in the state of the mind and disposition, and if we do not select, for the patient’s relief, from among the medicines a disease-force which, in addition to the similarity of its other symptoms to those of the disease, is also capable of producing a similar state of the disposition and mind.” (§ 213 Organon)
Kent,, J. Doctrina Homeopatica. Ediciones de la Biblioteca Central de Venezuela. Caracas, 1987
Paschero, T. Homeopatia. Edicion Argentina, Buenos Aires. 1991
Vinoovsky, B. Materia Medica. Materia Medica Homeopatica. Tomos I, II, III, Buenos Aires, 1980.
Lathoud. Materia Medica. Editorial Albatros, Buenos Aires, 1988
Kent Materia Medica Homeopatica. Editorial Albatros, Buenos Aires, 1981
Hahnemann S. Organon. Organon de la Medicina Homeopatica. El arte de curar. Ediciones de la Biblioteca UCV. Caracas, 1983.
@ This article was first published in the homeopathy journal “Gaceta Homeopatica de Caracas”: Rincón, Guillermo Enrique. La homeopatía en el infante. Gaceta Homeopática de Caracas, Dic 2007, vol.15, no.2, p.13-19.