2010 February

A boy with post-mononucleosis depression

by Alex Leupen

Henk is 18 years old when he comes in November 2005 for the first consultation. Four months earlier, he had mononucleosis. He is still very tired, feverish and ‘flu-ish’, and sometimes has a sore throat. He lives at home and did not manage to finish high school. He went on to do an electro-technique apprenticeship but has stopped this temporarily. According to his mother, he is depressed; he lies in bed and sleeps a lot, wanting to be left alone. His mother has to bring food to his room, since he will not come to the table. He is thin and eats irregularly. He becomes irritated with his mother if she becomes concerned about him. He has two older brothers, 26 and 24 years old. His older brother became depressed and reclusive when he was 17. 


Desires: cheese sandwiches, red bull drink, chocolate, cauliflower, broccoli, pasta. 

Aversion: meat. 

He drinks a lot. 

He quarrels with his parents about food because of his refusal to eat many things.


His mother felt “super”. She desired bananas and biscuits and had an aversion to fried meat. Henk was born early, his birth went quickly. His mother bled heavily and almost went into shock; like Henk she has a shortage of Von Willebrand factor. Henk was hypothermic and spent the first four days in an incubator. He was bottle fed with his mother’s milk because she was already completely exhausted with two sons at home.


Walking at 12 months, talking at 2 years. At 8 years he became over-active, which improved by curtailing his sugar intake.


His mother describes Henk as a “visual thinker”. He is always ready to help others but refuses help for himself. He has a fear of failure and has failed his driver’s license three times. He is sometimes irritable and angry. As a child he has been teased a lot.

At 16, a friend of his was murdered at a train station while he was present; he had refused to hand over his mobile phone and was then stabbed to death. Henk never told his parents about this, they heard it later from a cousin. Since this incident he has changed considerably; he has become suspicious and doesn’t trust people anymore.


The most noticeable aspects in this case are the tiredness and the listlessness, the poor appetite, and the fact that he has become withdrawn, aspects which partially improved with Natrium Muriaticum, Alfalfa (family of Fabaceae/Leguminosae), and Ytterbium Phosphoricum (stage 16 of Lanthanides) but there was no real breakthrough. Most remarkable still, was the death of his friend in front of his eyes and the fact that he said nothing about it at home.

Sankaran describes the Umberlliferae (Apiaceae) with the following sensations: “Sudden unexpected violence or attack. Accidents. Blows; preparing for a blow. Riots. Stabs, Wounds. Followed by numbness, stupefaction, dullness and sleep.

aethusaFinally, Aethusa was chosen as this remedy covers the eating disorders and the tendency to retreat into seclusion. Aethusa withdraws from the world and mistrusts his fellow humans. Sometimes this is accompanied by a love of animals more than of humans, though this is not always the case. Often, we also see undernourishment or poor absorption of food.


After a few doses of Aethusa, Henk literally came out of his room and ate with the others at the table. He resumed his apprenticeship. His energy returned and two years later he had a girlfriend.


Reactions: a.leupen@planet.nl   

Keywords: mononucleosis, depression, reclusion, aethusa
Remedies: Alfalfa, Natrium muriaticum

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