Mental health is a growing area of concern in our society and times. It needs to be understood and treated on an individual level. Every person is unique and has his life story full of joys, disappointments, and vicissitudes of life in some shape or form.
Homoeopathy is defined as a system of drug-therapeutics based on the law of similars. This law states that ‘a drug, acts as a curative agent when it is capable of producing in a healthy person a diseased-state exactly similar to that observed in a diseased person.’ As drug provings show that the actions of a drug manifest themselves on the body and the mind. So that, in every fully proved drug picture, there are corporeal symptoms along with alterations of thoughts, feelings, affections and intellect, memory etc.
The successful application of law of similars depends upon the concept of individualization and susceptible constitutions. The concept of individualization takes into consideration the total response of the organism to the unfavorable environment.
This unfavorable response is seen through signs and symptoms on three planes: Emotional, Intellectual and Physical, where the life force manifests itself.
On this emotional level arise anxiety, anger, anguish, irritability, fears, phobias, depression and many emotions. Emotionally disturbed states tend to revolve around the issues of personal comfort, personal survival and personal expression.
Emotions as maintaining causes
When a patient has some harmful emotions, these emotions may act as maintaining causes for illness. The homoeopathic medicines boost the energy of a person to adapt with the energy of his own emotions and as a result to cope with varying types of environments.
The physician is the best person for this because the patient can talk freely with the physician. Also the physician can better understand the emotional problems and co-relate them better with the physical problems. The physician also has to evaluate that whether the anxiety is reasonable to circumstances or the patient is over-anxious.
General treatment of mental diseases
During Hahnemann`s time, mental asylums were usually run in connection with prisons. The mentally ill were crowded in close quarters with insufficient food, were chained, flogged and teased for the amusement of visitors. The physicians also abandoned them believing that insanity was contagious.
Hahnemann founded an asylum in Georgenthal where Duke Ernst of Gotha put one of the wings of his castle at Hahnemann`s disposal in 1792. He had only one patient Klockenbring from the beginning to the end. Klockenbring was cured of his illness. Hahnemann evolved a humane approach to mentally sick patients. He advocated unchaining of the mental patients. His principles for treatment of insane were new to the psychiatry of that time, but are today universally acknowledged as the chief factor in the treatment of insane. He introduced treatment to the mentally sick patient with kindness.
While describing his experience on the treatment of insane, he writes – “I never allow any insane person to be punished by blows or other painful corporeal inflictions, since there can be no punishment where there is no sense of responsibility, and since such patients only deserve our pity and cannot be improved, but must be rendered worse by such rough treatment.”
He further instructs the physicians attending the mental patients as – “The physician of such unfortunate creatures ought to behave so as to inspire them with respect and at the same time with confidence; he should never feel offended at what they do, for an irrational person can give no offence. The exhibition of their unreasonable anger should only excite his sympathy and stimulate his philanthropy to relieve their sad condition.”
Ahead of times, as Hahnemann was, he has coded some ethical approach to mental patients, which he describes in § 228 of the Organon.
Herein, in addition to Antipsoric treatment, he stresses upon psychotherapy with regulated mode of life and instructions for a good behaviour towards the patients by physician and attendants as:
▪ Raving madness should be met by calm fearlessness & firm
▪ Painfully disconsolate melancholy should be assuaged by silent
compassion expressed through gestures and looks.
▪ Loquacity should be listened to in silence.
▪ Indecent behaviour and obscene languages are to be totally ignored.
▪ In destructive mental tendencies, things should be kept out of reach of the patient to prevent mischief.
▪ Absolute avoidance of torture and other corporeal punishments.
▪ All exciting factors, which may influence the mind of the patient, should be removed.
▪ Contradiction, arguments, rude correction etc. are to be avoided.
▪ The physician and the attendant should pretend to believe the patient in everything.
In the footnote to § 229, Hahnemann also recommends that the treatment of violent insane maniac and melancholic patients can take place only in an institution specially arranged for their treatment, but not within the family circle of the patient. He believed that the patient must be left alone and must not be excited or distracted by other people; as this hindered his recovery.
Hahnemann on mental diseases
Hahnemann describes mental diseases under One-sided diseases.
In §172 he writes, “A similar difficulty in the way of cure occurs from the symptoms of the disease being too few – a circumstance that deserves our careful attention, for by its removal almost all the difficulties that can lie in the way of this most perfect of all possible modes of treatment (except that its apparatus of known homoeopathic medicines is still incomplete) are removed.”
Mental diseases are one-sided diseases affecting the whole psychosomatic entity where the symptoms of derangement of mind and disposition are increased while the physical symptoms decline.
§ 210- 230
The § 210 to 230 of the Organon describe in detail different types of mental diseases and their treatment.
In §210, he attributes Psora as the cause of one-sided diseases and mental diseases are also a part of it. He stresses for psychic condition of the patient to be noted along with the totality of symptoms in order to treat these successfully with homoeopathic medicines.
In § 211, he stresses the importance of the psychic condition of the patient in selection of a remedy, putting them as characteristic symptoms and these cannot remain hidden from a careful physician.
In § 212, he highlights the fact that medicinal substances alter the mind and disposition of the provers during its proving and every medicine does so in a different manner.
In § 213, he advises to pay attention to mental symptoms even in acute cases and that unless the mental and emotional picture does not match with the remedy, positive results are not possible.
He explains this in the footnote of § 213 as “Thus Aconite will seldom or never effect either a rapid or permanent cure in a patient of a quiet, calm, equable disposition; and just as little will Nux vomica be serviceable where the disposition is mild and phlegmatic, Pulsatilla where it is happy, gay and obstinate, or Ignatia where it is imperturbable and disposed neither to be frightened nor vexed.”
In § 214, he starts to tell us that a patient with a mental-emotional disease must be perceived the same way as other patients i.e. with a remedy, a disease agent capable of producing in body and psyche of healthy people symptoms as similar as possible as those of the case.
In § 215, he specifies that most mental and emotional diseases are extensions of physical disease. So in the mental disease it starts on the physical level, and then slowly it progresses into the mental level until you have almost no more symptoms of the physical level and finally the disease transfers itself (almost like a local malady) to the invisibly subtle mental and emotional organs.