2009 November

Helleborus for a boy with sexual guilt

by Dr. Manish Panchal

Aphorism 214 mentions that mental diseases are to be cured in the same way as all other diseases, namely by a remedy which produces a picture similar to that of disease to be cured.

Mental disease can be classified into 4 types :
1. somato - psychic….. most common.
2. acute mental disease.
3. psycho – somatic.
4. due to faults of education, bad practices, ignorance.

I had an opportunity to treat this case as a resident house physician in government homeopathic hospital in 1992.

The case is as follows:
A young boy, 15 years of age, was brought by his father due to some change in his behaviour. He was to give his class X final exams in a week. He was admitted for observation under my care.

The boy was staying in a joint family which included his uncle’s family and their daughters besides his parents. He grew up with cousin and they all played together during his growing up. Once, he was masturbating in his room when one of his cousins happened to enter the room. He apparently felt that he was doing something bad. From that time onward he stopped talking with all his cousins, with everybody in his house and he would also evade looking in their eyes ….. probably suggesting a feeling of guilt about the act that it was bad, shameful.

During the case-taking interview the boy never spoke a single word. He never looked up even once during the entire interview. No amount of questioning was making any impression on him.

He appeared as if he was thinking something in his mind, but there was a dull, vacant look. With nothing available, I was waiting for any possible clue for the remedy. It was then obvious to me that there was:
a) constant frown on his forehead as if he was trying to think.
b) motion of tongue from side to side.

The important features of the case were:
1. Sexual guilt which was so strong and intense, making him evade eye contact with family-members and the physician.
2. Dull, vacant look with absolutely no response to any questions.
3. Frown on his forehead.
4. Motion of tongue from side to side.

In symptom number 3 & 4, Lycopodium and Helleborus are the only remedies in common.

When we see Helleborus as one of the remedies, everything else seems to fall in place. The case which appeared seemingly difficult, opened up with the help of objective
symptoms; namely frown and motion of tongue. These are small symptoms, but enough to lead us to a remedy.

Phatak writes:
Generalities: Helleborus affects the mind and brain whereby the senses become blunt and responses sluggish.
Mind: Believe she has done wrong, just sits and says nothing, does nothing.
Eyes: stupid, staring look.

Remedy: Helleborus 1m, single dose.

Response: Immediately the whole demeanour and behaviour of the boy changed for good.

He started talking with doctors, other patients in the ward and also his cousins. He responds and replies when you ask him now. He returned to his original normal self, laughing and talking with his cousins. He was discharged in 3 - 4 days so that he could appear for his final exams, which before the father doubted whether he would be able to
take. He no longer avoids eye contact when talking with the doctor and his family members, suggesting he has overcome the feeling of sexual guilt. No dull and vacant look on his face.

This case can be classified as belonging to mental disease arising due to fault in education, bad practices, ignorance, and superstition. The act of masturbation being taught as something bad, shameful. Ignorance regarding it in the boy as well as his family gave rise to this peculiar mental state.

This type of mental disease can be improved by:
Sensible, friendly exhortations, consolatory arguments and sensible advice according to Organon aphorism 222. Exhortation means to encourage or to urge to do good deeds.
I never knew how to advise the patient/ family members so decided to give the remedy Helleborus.

Understanding Helleborus:
Kent writes:
In all the complaints of helleborus stupefaction occurs in greater or lesser degree. Sometimes it is a complete stupor, sometimes a partial stupor, but it is always stupefaction and sluggishness.

The patient lies on the back, eyes lusterless, staring into space. Staring at the individual talking, waiting a long time to answer or not answering at all.

There is more stupefaction, more ‘do nothing’, more ‘say nothing’ than delirium. Yet there is evidently confusion of mind, he cannot think. He will act stupid as if he were attempting to think, as if he were attempting to answer, to move. But he simply stares at the doctor with eyes partly open, dazed expression.

Like Aurum, she believes that she is doing wrong, that she is committing an unpardonable sin.

Helleborus patient is benumbed everywhere. The whole sensorium is in a benumed state, a stupefaction, a blunting of general sensibility. Hence indifferent to all external impressions.
Rarely disturbed by being touched or by being covered at all. He does not seem to be sensitive to heat or cold or pricking or handling or pinching.

Dr Manish R. Panchal
Dr Phalguni M. PANCHAL
Centre for Homeopathy, India

Categories: Remedies
Keywords: helleborus


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