2007 July

Eating disorders_The empty addict;

by Jenny Tree

The Empty Addict: Eating Disorders in Children:

I notice that few patients bring children because they have an eating disorder, but often for the effects of an eating disorder, or for a physical problem, which in itself presents an eating disorder. The core problem is seldom presented as the main issue.

Causes of eating disorders might be:
1. An emotional state
2. Physical pathology
3. Environmental factors

A Google search for ‘eating disorders in children’ invariably brings up many sites about anorexia or bulimia. This it seems, is confined to children over the age of ten, and is common in teenage girls – apparently one in four – and less common in boys. There are about 60,000 anorexics or buliminics in the UK, of whom 10% are male. [All figures differ widely.]

Doctors differ in opinion as to the causes of the disease. Some say it is similar to other obsessive disorders; others blame depression; others say sufferers are trying to avoid growing up, and some think it is linked to genetic factors, or a brain deficiency. Doctors think in ‘epidemic’ terms, homeopathically speaking, in trying to find the lowest common denominator, and in using the belief system of psychology to answer their questions about the “disease”, rather than concentrating on the individual patient.

Anorexics starve themselves, while bulimics engage in a destructive cycle of starving and bingeing, usually resorting to purging and excessive exercise and/or water drinking. Health problems linked to starvation include heart failure, kidney disorders, infertility and bone deficiency. Anorexia has one of the highest death rates for any psychiatric disorder, with up to 20% of patients dying from the disease.

In two of the cases I have seen, the anorexia started after a severe acute illness. The patients had symptoms that we would ascribe to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME. These symptoms are, of course, extremely similar to the symptoms of starvation – chronic tiredness, exhaustion on the slightest exertion, backache, anxiety, depression, listlessness, indifference, apathy, loss of appetite, palpitations, cramps, hair loss, labile temperature, weak, spotted nails, and amenorrhoea in girls.

 Figure: Typhus-art

One remedy I used was the Typhus nosode, for a girl suffering anorexia since a fever caught at outward-bound camp. Her initial symptoms had seemed to be measles followed by pneumonia, ending in Chronic Fatigue. The remedy brought back the fever for a few days, after which her headaches stopped. I encouraged her to do some exercise. [Rickettsia thrives in CO2 which is the state of the sluggish cell. Introducing oxygen threatens the bacillus.] First of all she did just Vipassana breathing , and then simple yoga. I suggested that she could eat some soup every day, no more than a cup at a sitting, and into this were packed all the nutrition, vitamins and minerals her mother could dissolve.

 Figure: Rickettsia

I also prescribed Avena Sativa 12x three times daily. This is good for improving the strength of those who have been on an inadequate diet for a long time. I think of it for people living alone who can’t be bothered to cook for themselves, and eat out of tins. It also helps a sleep pattern re-establish itself, and soothes the nerves of drug addicts. It makes sense that it is a good remedy for an anorexic too. Cereals contain opioid peptides called exorphins. Similar casomorphins are found in human and bovine milk. When released by protein digestion in the stomach they induce motivation, anxiety reduction and a sense of well-being.

Figure: Avena Sativa

From the work I had done in editing Frans Vermeulen’s Monera, I guessed the patient had had Rickettsia or Typhus. This is commonly carried by fleas and ticks. It also has a serious outcome; in fact a high morbidity rate in the over 60s; but the under 20s tend to survive. In working on Monera, I have come to see that one of the Sensations of the bacterial remedies is that of restlessness, which is why Rhus tox and Pyrogen are so useful in the treatment of bacterial infections. The bacteria and viruses are classed in a kingdom of their own, but it is very difficult to separate them from the animal [human] kingdom. In typhus we might look for an element of the vector [the carrier], too, in the same way that we might expect to see the elements of both cactus and insect in the remedy Coccus cacti. The fact that this patient hated insects might create this link for us.

The vectors for typhus are lice, fleas, ticks, and those insects that live on rats and mice. The bacillus lives in the human blood, from whence a feasting louse collects it, later excreting it in its faeces. The disease is transmitted to an uninfected human who scratches a bite and rubs the faeces into the wound. The incubation period is one to two weeks.

There is a common feeling of disgust for a disease, and this often manifests in disease remedies. [Fear of contamination; Washing always her hands; Cleaning, mania for = all rubrics with nosodes in them.] This girl felt disgust at her inner state – she felt scabby and dirty. Interestingly, Typhus fever is the one that produces black scabs from deep-seated vesicles.

Epidemic typhus is a typical example of a weakening event arising from group emotional stress, due to overcrowding, poverty, poor sanitation or famine. Pandemics often follow in the footsteps of war, ravaging soldiers and refugees, as after the Napoleonic Wars, the First World War, and the Great Famine of 1845-47, which led to typhus being called the “Irish fever”. Hans Zinsser, the American bacteriologist, is quoted as saying, “Soldiers have rarely won wars. Typhus and other infectious diseases have decided the outcome of more military campaigns than all the Generals in history.” Even larger epidemics in the post-war chaos of Europe were only averted by the widespread use of the newly discovered DDT to kill the lice on millions of refugees and displaced persons. Bergen-Belsen, the Nazi concentration camp, where 50,000 died of typhus, was burned to the ground to avert the spread of the disease. Zyklon-B [HCN or Prussic Acid], used in Auschwitz to kill prisoners, was used in other camps to de-louse prisoners. A vaccine was also developed in World War II, and today epidemics only occur in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and parts of Africa where living conditions and hygiene are poor.

The anorexic girl gradually improved, taking six months to gain 14 lbs in weight. She was still suspicious of food, but was prepared to eat what she wanted once the pressure was taken off her to eat. The Rickettsia symptoms subsided. The nosode was repeated weekly, at 30c, going up to 200c once a month after four months.

In Frans Vermeulen’s book Monera, he cites the work of a Belgian doctor, Cécile Jadin, working in South Africa. She reviewed 3,400 cases of Chronic Fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and multiple sclerosis, and felt that after an initial flu-like state, the cases had become sub-acute or chronic, and shared the symptoms of Rickettsia, which we also know as Typhus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Kew Gardens Fever, Mediterranean Fever, Irish Fever, Siberia Fever, and North Queensland tick typhus, amongst many others. The geography of the names shows the worldwide extent of the disease. I am not suggesting that typhus is at the root of all eating disorders, but when the eating disorder has its start in a fever, after which the patient fails to thrive, loses appetite, refuses to eat, it is possible to look here. In homeopathy we know the remedy as Typhus nosode. At the Remedia pharmacy in Austria, it is sold as Fleckfieber nosode.

Another case of an eating disorder in a child is that of David, a child I treated 10 years ago: See next article....

Jenny Tree
Haarlem NL

Categories: Theory
Keywords: eating disorder, typhus nosode, Rickettsia, Fleckfieber, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME, Avena Sativa, Monera, Frans Vermeulen, mania for cleaning, Cécile Jadin


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Posts: 6
Reply #3 on : Tue August 21, 2007, 19:05:43
2 Hi Bonnie - Continued
I would use rubrics relevant to the behaviour of the patient, picking up anything that is strange rare and peculiar.
Eindelijk, I would want the remedy to cover the idea of 'not wanting to grow up', rather than using it as a rubric as this narrows things down too much. We all have different ways of expressing our need or wish to remain in the status quo rather than taking the next step in our lives!
I hope this is useful for you. Thank you for the question.
Warm wishes from Jenni Tree
Homeopath, Lecturer, Editor,Emryss Publishers
Duinoordstraat 78, 2023 WE Haarlem
The Netherlands, +31 23 525 9111

Posts: 6
Reply #2 on : Tue August 21, 2007, 19:04:57
1 Hi Bonnie, Sorry about the delay in answering your question. I have been away on holiday.
You asked what rubrics I might use for 'not wanting to grow up'.
Initially I would not think of looking for rubrics as it is not a symptom, merely my interpretation of the patient's state.
If I felt it was really important in the case, I should look at the behaviour used by the patient to show this idea.
So I might look at rubrics like Naive, Childish Behaviour, Foolish behaviour, Gestures .... Helpless, Desire to be Carried/Held/fondled, Fear New things....., Change, aversion to, Fear of a process, Fear her condition being observed, Desire to play with childish toys, Clinging, Undertaking, new things, cannot; Undertaking nothing lest he fail, Behaviour problems in children
In a teenage girl I might consider Amenorrhoea if her menses have stopped as a result of her behaviour.
It may be that an adult refuses to take responsibility, so maybe this would be a rubric to use.

Posts: 6
Reply #1 on : Fri July 06, 2007, 21:04:24
what are the rubrics you suggest for 'not wanting to grow up'?
thanks ,