By Judy Coldicott ADH RCHom
Homeopathy works well to assist individuals in overcoming a variety of situations which result in emotional distress. Using appropriate remedies can assist the individual from internalising their emotions which, if not dealt with, often lead to more complex health problems.
Just as severe physical pain can cause an emotional response, our system can also respond in reverse. When we experience strong emotions such as overwhelming fear or grief, a traumatic physical disaster or a personal humiliation, our system can respond rapidly and biochemically to express the intensity of that emotion by feeling faint, trembly, nauseous or weak.
Traumatic events may range from a house move, a new school or a child's best friend moving away, childbirth or a natural disaster. What is a traumatic experience for one person may be different for another – homeopathic treatment individualises each unique experience. Increasingly, there are natural disasters, which leave whole communities homeless, grief-ridden, powerless and struggling to cope. The use of some fundamental homeopathic remedies is a great way to help loved ones through such a time.
In the longer term, acute emotional pain can also lead, in some cases, to chronic physical illness. Homeopaths often treat patients suffering years of chronic illness, which began after such an event. Effective and appropriate professional treatment for children or adults in these situations can allow the individual to feel a sense of resolution and peace, assisting them in moving on from repetitive patterns and avoiding the need for treatments such as anti-depressants or anxiety medication. Homeopathic remedies, made from things found in nature, do not contain toxins and have a gentle effect for the person taking them.
While long lasting or serious situations require a visit to a professional homeopath, there are many remedies that can be used effectively to assist a person in the midst of the trauma.
Fright and shock – from any cause
Aconite: Fright is the predominant reaction in Aconite, with shock, panic, anxiety, trembling and restlessness. These people are very obviously severely distressed and require a lot of reassurance. It is common for them to think they are going to die.
Stramonium: Patients needing this experience great fear; their reactions may appear hysterical. Fear of death, as with Aconite, and of violence are intense. The fears of Stramonium, unlike those of Aconite which are immediate, are markedly aggravated at night. There is a fear of the dark. Nightmares & night terrors may surface.
Arnica: The fearful reaction of Arnica, often occurring after a major shock or accident, is submerged beneath a semblance of normalcy. It is typical of someone needing Arnica to protest that they are fine, that nothing is wrong. They may also feel a bit strange, as if they aren’t all present. Fear can arise from their subconscious at night in the form of disturbing nightmares & recurring images of the trauma.
Gelsemium belongs with the group of remedies whose response to trauma is subdued. Gelsemium patients become sleepy, dull, weak and tremulous – in a sense paralysed by the shock they sustained. Their eyes droop. Though fearful and sad, they can’t cry. They are extremely listless.
Phosphoric acid: This remedy, like Gelsemium, reacts to emotional trauma and bad news by becoming apathetic and tired. They lose interest in daily activities and their usual sources of pleasure. Physical symptoms can include loss of hair, dryness of skin and mucous membranes, and marked thirst for juicy, refreshing drinks.
The Ignatia reaction is more one of grief. These people suppress their grief however, restraining their tears when with others and refusing to talk about their feelings. When alone, they may sob hysterically. They are prone to sigh a great deal. The effort of suppressing their grief often causes a marked sense of constriction or a lump in the throat, sometimes resulting in hiccups.
Natrum muriaticum is a remedy that can react almost exactly as Ignatia; at times they can be impossible to distinguish. Natrum muriaticum patients are less prone to hysterical sobbing and are often averse to consolation – they prefer to deal with their grief on their own, seeking solitude. They carry their grief for a long period of time.
Pulsatilla: Very sensitive people who are greatly affected by the moods of others around them. They weep easily and desire comforting. Open, cool air may make them feel better as will the company and sympathy of others.
Cocculus indicus: News of a tragic event provokes great anxiety about others, especially family members, with resultant insomnia. They then become fatigued and mentally dull and slow. Often vertigo occurs, especially when looking at moving objects.
Calcarea carbonica: Bad news causes anxiety and fear for the future and that something bad will happen. Their over responsibility leads them to worry about the state of the world; they become fatigued, sad, and overwhelmed by it all.
Arsenicum album: These people react anxiously, worrying about themselves primarily. They become restless, chilly, and afraid to be alone. Their anxiety might cause them to become very fastidious or irritable with others, which is one way to exert some control over the chaos of the world.
Homeopaths see many patients who have suffered traumatic experiences in their lives. Remedies can be utilised, long after the event, to help stabilise any symptoms that have stemmed from this time, but dealing with the fear and shock more immediately is very useful. Whether you learn to prescribe for situations such as those covered here, or seek the support of a qualified homeopath, alleviating the debilitating reactions that occur from shock, grief and trauma is a great relief for the sufferer, enabling them to continue life with relative ease rather than being limited by their past experiences.