2013 June

Peeling away the drug layer

by Patricia Maher

In September 2012, I saw a patient named N., whose main complaint was depression and anxiety. This 47 year old woman came to the appointment along with her husband. She had a stunned expression and it was difficult for her to make eye contact with me. In fact, she could barely answer my questions and she repeatedly zoned out in the middle of her sentences, and her husband had to fill in the blanks.

Over the next two hours, her husband helped me piece together her story. A number of months prior, she had experienced insomnia due to some stresses concerning her elderly parents and the death of her mother-in-law. She had, however, a long history of depression and had been on a variety of antidepressants for 10 years, although she stayed on no single pharmaceutical for more than a year because they all “stopped working”. At the time of this interview, she was weaning herself off of Effexor, Xanax, and Latuda.  Both she and her husband worried that she was drinking too much alcohol and smoking too much.

Several months back, she had seen a psycho-pharmacologist who had prescribed the pharmaceutical Geodon to address her sleep issues. Both N. and her husband stated that she had changed dramatically once she started taking Geodon; she became “flat and emotionless”.  She did not feel like doing anything, and was not in tune with her family.  Her husband described her zoning out in the middle of dinner with their children.

Recently, she had gone to her primary care physician to get help with stopping the Geodon. The doctor stopped the Geodon but put her on Latuda, a pharmaceutical that is closely related.

Although I was able to glean a bit of information about N.’s life from the interview, it was virtually impossible to assess what was really going on. I realized that the effects of the Geodon and Latuda were clouding the picture and that I would not be able to prescribe a constitutional remedy until I could see the woman behind the blank stare.

Upon researching these pharmaceuticals, I discovered that Geodon and Latuda are anti-psychotic drugs. In fact, they are prescribed to deal with symptoms of schizophrenia. Although I am no psycho-pharmacologist, it made no sense to me that this woman was prescribed these drugs.

Unable to locate a homeopathic version, I contacted a psycho-pharmacologist I know and obtained some pharmaceutical Geodon. I triturated it to a 3C and using the Korsakoff method potentized it to a 15C. I asked N to take a daily dose of it. I urged her to speak to her primary care doctor about stopping the Latuda.

After two weeks of the homeopathic Geodon, she reported that she was becoming more herself but she was still struggling, more anxious than depressed. She continued on the daily dose until I saw her again one month later.

At that interview, she was completely different – I could see N.’s actual personality. She had a spark – in the midst of her tears and distress, I could see her wry sense of humor and her warmth. No longer zoned out, she was anxious, crying and upset but this time, she could tell me why. She was able to tell me more of her story in her own words, without her husband having to speak for her.

As her story took shape, it became apparent that this devoutly Catholic mother of six felt forsaken by her own parents – “It doesn’t matter what I do, I can’t get my parents’ love.” – and perhaps more importantly, forsaken by her God. She used to go to church on a daily basis and pray, but she felt abandoned by God and now hardly ever prays. The last time she said the rosary, she threw up because she was going through Xanax withdrawal.   She felt tremendous guilt because before the birth of her last child, she had had an abortion. At the time, she felt she could not physically handle the pregnancy. After the abortion, she described herself as a wreck, and she was not able to stop crying. She had been raised as a strict Catholic and continued to be a practicing Catholic as an adult. She had terrible regret about the abortion and it was at this point that her doctor started prescribing anti-depressants. N. said that she felt she had sinned, although she had been to confession about it.

Prescription: Kali bromatum 12C daily

I await the details of N.’s story to unfold. I suspect there are more remedy states to be revealed. 

Photo: Wikimedia commons
Martine Bijl; TROS

Categories: Cases
Keywords: depression, anxiety, anti-depressants, pharmaceutical drugs, flat, emotionless, forsaken, god, guilt
Remedies: Kalium bromatum


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Topanga Bird
Posts: 1
Peeling away the drug layer
Reply #1 on : Mon June 03, 2013, 05:43:52
Trained as a psychotherapist, and training as a homeopath, I often find myself stressing the need to "see behind the medication." The psychotropics are specifically designed to distance the patient from their symptomology (whatever it may be). But they also "distance" the patient from emotions, reactions, and just about every occurence of daily life. The distancing can easily be seen in their almost "vacant" facial expressions and flat affect. The greatest problem with dealing with psychotropic meds - especially anti-depressants - is that a person "coming off" anti-depressants is at an extremely high risk of suicide. This is also true, to a great extent, to anti-anxiety drugs, such as Xanax.
Interesting remedy - hope you keep us up to date on how it worked.