Trauma – a Cause of Mental Illness

Homeopathy Delaware held its first public meeting of 2023 at the Newark, DE library.

Our presenter, Elle, spoke to an attentive audience about trauma as an underlying cause of mental illness and about what most mental illnesses have in common, including ways and means to improve and heal one’s life.

It was very helpful to have Elle give a definition of mental illness and then outline and explain several categories.

Personality disorders, depression and anxiety, PTSD and dissociative disorders, eating disorders and addictions are some of the named mental health problems which Elle spoke about as often being linked to trauma. Some mental illness is likely to be genetic, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or autism.

Awareness of one’s state of mental health and wanting to take steps to improve one’s life is necessary to feeling better.

Physical Problems Manifest

Physical complaints are common in adults and children who have suffered from trauma, just one incident of a stressful event or a chronic pattern of incidents.

As we know, symptoms are the result of an attempt of our mind -body consciousness to externalize the impact of ‘illness’, moving it as far from the core of the person as possible. The healthier the person is, the more peripheral the symptoms.

It is not unusual for the child or adult who seeks help through homeopathy to be in other wise good health but suffering from an intractable misunderstood physical complaint. Psoriasis, eczema, asthma, stomach aches, diarrhea along with some nervous system symptoms like stammering, automatic motions of the extremities, and tics are examples.

Personal Stories and Homeopathic Medicines

Aconitum napellus

A 50 – something man came to see me for Bowen therapy (a physical therapy which among other things addresses the autonomic nervous system) at the recommendation of a friend.

He was suffering from randomly occurring chest pain that mimicked the experience of having a heart attack where he feared he would die. He was under the care of a primary care doctor, a cardiologist and even a psychologist.

He had received the appropriate tests, taken a few prescription drugs, all with no help. He did not have high blood pressure or other illness. Although, when he told me his story, I did find out he had excessive perspiration which was accompanied by a free -floating anxiety.

He received one session of Bowen therapy and returned in a few weeks to report that he had experienced no chest pain until recently – the first time he had been free of the episodes for a very long time. He did not have the same good results after the second Bowen session.

Sensing there was a past trauma contributing to his problem, I suggested a homeopathy case taking. In telling his story, he related a mountain hike he and a few of his young friends took years ago where sudden bad weather quickly paralyzed their descent, leaving them to huddle together for warmth and safety. He recalled the shocking suddenness of their predicament and his fear of not living through it.

As he talked, he realized his sweating had started about that time, but it wasn’t until more recently, what was now several years later, that his chest pains started. He had accompanied his son and friend on a hike in the mountains where they pitched tents and spent the night, during which a very strong wind made for anxious sleeping. All was normal as the sun rose, but he was bleary- eyed.

I spoke with him about the homeopathic medicine, Aconite, and how it matters not if the trauma was old or recent. I explained, if the medicine is similar to the state of fear he is being held in, the medicine, when taken in the best potency, will be slightly stronger in energy than his symptoms and thus will gently guide him back into balance – body mind and spirit.

As it turned out, Aconite was just the trauma medicine to heal him. After one dose of a high potency, he found his chest pain was less frequent and less intense, finally disappearing. It took a second homeopathic medicine more suited to his whole constitution to resolve his excessive perspiration and what remained of his anxiety.

We often think of Aconite as being used primarily for acute conditions arising from shock and or exposure. But George Vithoulkas M.D., internationally known homeopath, pioneered its use in more chronic conditions such as deep phobic states, panic disorder and anxiety neurosis.

In the acute conditions the complaints come on suddenly, intensely. In both acute and chronic disorders there is great anxiety and fear of death. The homeopathic medicine, Aconite, does have an affinity for the heart and can be used during angina or myocardial infarction while waiting for emergency medical assistance.

Stramonium

A mother brought her 3-year-old daughter to see me for what the mother described as outbursts of unprovoked violence toward her 9-month-old sister.

As an example, she said the 3-year-old could be sitting next to her infant sister and suddenly turn into a raging demon -like child attempting to strangle or hurt her sister.

The episodes would come on suddenly and end suddenly with the 3-year-old seeming to have no recollection of her terrorizing actions – an outburst without premeditation, almost convulsion like activity. The 3-year-old was also afraid of the dark and had a fear of dogs.

She had been evaluated by her pediatrician and a neurologist with no problem uncovered. The doctors suggested the parents seek a child therapist.

Upon seeing her for the first time, she presented as a beautiful 3-year-old girl, well behaved, very quiet disposition. Hardly the energy type one might expect from her mother’s descriptions.

There was one striking unusual aspect about her appearance which could be described as an exaggerated egg-shaped head. A more graphic description – it was as if I were viewing the head of a prototype drawing of an ‘alien’. It was startling.

Her mother told her story – the mother’s story and also her daughter’s. When she was nearly 9 months pregnant, she was in a severe auto accident that caused her more fright than it did physical injury. The doctors decided to induce labor and allow the child to be delivered early since the fetus was showing signs of distress. All in all, things turned out ok – mom and child both stabilized with no lasting physical trauma. The baby was breast fed for several months.

The mom related how she was not able to shake the fear and the memories of the trauma she and her unborn daughter had experienced. Three years later she was much better but often found the terror coming back as if a wild animal had ambushed her and she could not free herself.

We began treatment with an initial Bowen therapy session for the little girl. I noted that the back of her head and her occiput area felt unusually shaped. She was very quiet and cooperative during Bowen. At the end of her treatment, I asked her how she felt. She told her mother and me that she was alone in a very dark cave, and she wanted her mother to find her. And she told me that when I touched the back of her head it felt good.

I decided not to give a remedy just then but asked her mother to return with her in one week. I wanted to see how deeply Bowen would help her. One week later I saw her again and was really startled to the point of doing a double take, to see that her head did not look formed like that of an ‘alien’ but looked to be of more normal proportions. No homeopathic medicine had yet been given.

She had had one violent outburst during the week, directed towards her sister. What was new and exaggerated was that she wanted to wear black clothing and hats and use black crayons and paints to do artwork. All her symptoms were pointing to the homeopathic medicine Stramonium.

She and her mother both took a high potency of Stramonium. The child’s violent outbursts diminished and faded away. Her mother no longer experienced violent fearful memories of the accident. The fear and terror of the accident had affected both mother and child and had extended into both their lives through their maternal child connection.

Stramonium has over the years become an ever more common homeopathic medicine in our culture, especially in children. In the early stages of needing the medicine, the adult, or child, may present with only hints of violence or fear. But whether early or advanced, all through the pathology we find tremendous energy and intensity. (The 3-year old’s mother had described her as having a ‘tarentula syndrome’, referring to her intense energy at home!)

Stramonium is mainly a remedy of the nervous system. Individuals with epilepsy, sleep disturbance, ADD and even schizophrenia may heal with Stramonium if their totality of symptoms are similar enough to those of the proving symptoms of the homeopathic medicine, Stramonium. This points to the fragility of the nervous system.

Summary

Both these cases underline the importance of questioning the patient regarding what was happening in their life about the time they first noticed their symptoms, whether they be physical or mental emotional symptoms.

Understanding the causality or ‘ailments from’ can put us on the path to helping people with homeopathic medicines, where the root cause comes from trauma and where the manifestations of trauma come through on the physical plane as well as through the nervous system.

Often, even after we experience healing for ourselves with homeopathic medicines, finding a psychotherapist to help us understand our compensated behavior and to help us release old patterns no longer needed, can be just what will help us to the fullest.

In all cases of severe symptoms after any trauma, do consult a professional homeopathic practitioner or other medical provider.

In all cases of chronic patterns of trauma, do consult a professional homeopathic practitioner or other medical provider.

References

National Center for Homeopathy http://www.homeopathycenter.org

Desktop Guide to Keynotes and Confirmatory Symptoms Roger Morrison, M.D.

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