|Aconitum - Fears, Baby and Child, and Generalities|
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Aconitum - Fears, Baby and Child, and GeneralitiesIndex
1. Aconitum - The Essential Homeopathic Features, Anxiety Attacks, Sympathetic Element
2. Aconitum - Fears, Baby and Child, and Generalities
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The Fear of Closed Spaces
Aconitum also produces claustrophobia; it can arise in a crowd, a train, an airplane or a bus. If the weather is dark or cloudy, the claustrophobia will be aggravated and may eventuate in a panic attack. Fear of the dark, fear of suffocation and, especially, fear of crowds are characteristic of this remedy. Aconitum patients will not participate in a demonstration which would necessitate their being in close proximity with a large number of people. A characteristic case I once saw illustrates the possible intensity of the claustrophobia and the fear of crowds. The claustrophobia was so strong that with only six or seven people in the room this patient would have to leave the room. As a consequence, she could no longer invite all of her relatives to the house on the same day.
In theatres they may sit in the rear so their exit will be made easier if an emergency arises. There is also a fear of suffocation, especially in warm, closed places and when they are caught in traffic jams, where panic may overtake them and force them to leave their car or the underground train. Sometimes, interestingly enough, one will encounter exactly the opposite sensation — a fear of open spaces. They cannot drive on open highways, yet they will have no difficulty driving within the city. They are paralyzed with fear the minute they enter a highway. But they can also have a fear of going out of the house or crossing a street.
The Fear of the Dark
These patients often can not sleep with the lights off. Darkness is aggravating, producing a feeling of suffocation; there is also fear of ghosts. They will not go through tunnels (dark and closed places), nor will they take the elevator lest the electricity goes out, leaving them trapped in a "closed and dark place" where they might suffocate; they would rather walk up five stories than enter an elevator. The same fear precludes their riding in an airplane. A fear of accidents can be so prominent in Aconitum individuals that they refuse to drive an automobile alone; they need someone to accompany them.
The Fear of Diseases
They also have a fear of diseases, of impending disease, brain stroke and heart disease — a fear that their heart will stop beating and that they will drop dead or that their heart will explode. It appears that these fears are usually dormant, but with the least provocation they surface with an impressive intensity. All such symptomatology surfaces quite readily in our modern cities with their inhuman aggressiveness and violence; consequently, this remedy will be required increasingly often.
Some Aconitum cases bear a strong resemblance to Lachesis by virtue of a peculiar nocturnal aggravation: after having gone to bed and having slept for ten or fifteen minutes, they suddenly awaken with tremendous fear and jump up in a panic. The difference is that with Lachesis the fear is not a fear of death; it is rather a fear of suffocation because they cannot breathe. It results from a momentary paralysis of the vagus nerve as they were falling asleep. Aconitum has a fear of death that occurs ten to fifteen minutes after falling asleep. Pay special attention to these differences because one can easily confuse remedies with similar symptomatology.
In Aconitum the subconscious fears surface as sleep removes the control of the logical mind. Aconitum has a subconscious mind loaded with fears. These fears surface suddenly with such an intensity that the person jumps up from bed "in a panic," trembling and anxious, feeling that he is about to die. Another possible explanation for this symptom is that since Aconitum has an aggravation from heat, the panic state is provoked as the person becomes warm in bed. Sometimes these fears will appear as nightmares — awful nightmares — instead of the symptom just described. Another condition that can be encountered in Aconitum is a state of paralysis on waking (Phosphorus, Lachesis, Sulphur, Medorrhinum); they are unable to move their extremities and subsequently become extremely panicky.
The Fear of Earthquakes
Aconitum is the remedy most affected by earthquakes, and it is an interesting and very apt simile that the internal state of Aconitum is like that of an earthquake. The internal circulatory system is in such a turmoil that it is as if an earthquake is occurring inside the body. Sometimes the sensation of an internal earthquake is so strong that these patients may wake up from sleep with a feeling that there is an actual earthquake taking place and that the ceiling may fall on them. There is a tremendous commotion inside these patients; it can be so intense in the chronic Aconitum patient that it becomes terrifying for the practitioner to behold.
The Fear at Twilight
I have seen Aconitum cases that have suffered a state of agony every evening at twilight. They would experience intense fear and would sob so intensely that the sounds resembled the barking of a dog. One case I encountered was so terrified that she was unable to voice any of her feelings during the crisis because of her anxiety; she could only sob and sobbed so loudly that she could be heard in the neighbors' apartments. One such crisis was actually witnessed as it occured while her case was being taken; it was a terrifying experience. One of the times of aggravation for Aconitum patients is twilight, and the aggravation may continue until midnight.
The Aconite patient will complain that ideas haunt him, and that he cannot get rid of them. His mind is veny active, but he will say that his attention is distracted while reading, and that thought seems to cease. He cannot finish a half-written idea without great effort. On attempting to think of one thing, another intrudes, followed by another and so on. There may be a stupid feeling in the head, as if there were a board before the forehead; or he may say that he cannot think, that ideas seem to come from the stomach. Such patients suffer from diminished intellectual power, and cannot perform even light mental work. They can also suffer from weakness of memory. They may feel that what they have just done was a dream, and be scarcely able to recall what it was. The inability to continue long at one thing may be accompanied by impatience; the patient throws himself about, constantly changing position, unable to think or perform even the slightest mental labor, with an unusual distraction of ideas.
The Alternating States
The Aconite mood can alternate between laughter and crying; at one time he is gay, at another gloomy; he may be excited, or sit buried in thought; at times he seems to weep, and at times he sings. Now he is perfectly conscious, now raving. There may be alternate attacks of opposite moral symptoms. The patient sometimes doubts he will recover, while at other times he is full of hope.
In Aconite the delirium is characterized by worry, fear, raving, and sometimes unconsciousness. In this state the Aconite patient may cry out, with a staring look, with convulsive motions, with great heat in the face, dilated pupils or convulsions, speaking in a childish, nonsensical way and being extravagantly gay or talking about death. At night he raves, springs out of bed and may imagine that he is driving sheep. He may be quarrelsome, with constantly varying delirium, imagining his thoughts come from the stomach or that parts of his body are abnormally thick. There is the feeling that what has just been done was a dream. Insanity and maniacal delirium follow. During the convulsions there is loss of consciousness. The delirious patient lies in a stupid condition, with eyes closed and twitching of the facial muscles, while the mouth is tight, without power of speech. Comatose states may also be found in Aconite.
The Aconite individual may have an angry disposition, be quarrelsome, morose and peevish and desire to be alone. She makes reproaches, takes every joke in bad part, is irascible and fretful, and inclined to be irritated over trivial matters. In this state she shuns people, dislikes to talk and answers laconically yes or no. She has no affection for anybody, is morose, misanthropic, peevish and of a malicious mood. Such an individual may also have anthropophobia.
The slightest noise is unbearable, and the irritability may be accompanied by over-sensitiveness to light and touch. For instance, in cases of otitis, the patient does not want to be touched. He screams with pain at slightest touch. In cases of depression the patient will not be touched or uncovered.
It is apparent that Aconitum states can include a wide range of symptomatology. Symptoms can vary from relatively mild tachycardias, arrhythmias, numbness, tinglings, etc. to fears, phobias, tremendous panic and, finally, coldness, extreme prostration and collapse with blueness and coldness of the whole body.
The Aconite Baby and Child
A few observations about Aconitum children may prove helpful. They can be subject to sudden anger, fits of rage and nightly enuresis, this occurring if one or both of the parents behave aggressively or if the child has a fright.
Aconitum can also be helpful in convulsions after a sudden nervous shock or in convulsions of teething children with jerks and twitches of single muscles, high fever, hot and dry skin; the child gnaws its fists, frets and screams and cries violently,with convulsive twitching of the facial muscles
The remedy is often used in newborns for asphyxia, apoplectic symptoms, hot, purplish, pulseless breathlessness; icterus; ophthalmia; vomiting of blood, with bloody stools; retention of urine from the shock of birth or the sudden coldness of the new external environment. When suffering painful affections, Aconitum children will feel the pain so intensely that they tend to protect the painful part with their hands. During a cystitis for instance the children reach with their hands to the genitals and cry out. The whole body is sensitive to touch; the child will not allow itself to be moved; it whines.
It is important for the student of homeopathy/ to understand that a case that needs Aconitum will be cured in an impressive way only by this remedy alone; no other remedy can replace it, be it an acute or a chronic case. Do not hesitate to prescribe it if the symptoms agree in any case no matter how severe its pathology may appear to be. I repeat, the information given by old masters that Aconitum is indicated only in the beginning stages of acute conditions is totally misleading.
Characteristics of Aconitum as they appear in the General Systems
Some general remarks: It is important to understand the remedies in their general action upon the human organism and apply this understanding to the diseases being treated. One should avoid the trap of getting stuck on little details and instead try to perceive the general image of the patient, then prescribe correspondingly. The student of homeopathy should make sure that he knows a wide range of homeopathic remedies before attempting to make a differential diagnosis; otherwise he will tend to see in all of his patients the characteristics of the few remedies he knows.
Physical and mental restlessness. Most of the symptoms are accompanied by shivering and anxiety. Nervous excitability. Trembling and tendency to palpitation. Aconite will be indicated in cases of epilepsy or convulsions when you see a picture like the following: loud lamentations; body rigid and bent backward; fists clenched across throat; gnashing of teeth; eyes drawn up spasmodically under lids; the limbs are distorted with spasms; jerks of left leg or arm, grinding teeth; comatose; restless, moaning. Convulsions of whole body worse towards noon time. Sudden and great sinking of strength. Great muscular weakness, weariness, prostration, almost total inability to stand. Feeling very drowsy, languid and unable to rise from couch; obliged to discontinue all work; system feels prostrated with sense of inward fever. He loses his ability to stand, must sit down. Numbness, tingling more on left side. Numbness and tingling over the body. Faintness on attempting to sit up. Pains intolerable; more so at night. Stitches in the forehead, back, sides of chest, back of hands, and other parts, as if he stood on the isolated plate of an electrical machine, and one took sparks from him. Very fine stinging, or stinging burning pains in many parts, as if seated in the skin, sometimes combined with a sense of heaviness, numbness, or swelling. Tearing, cutting, wandering pains. Burning through all the mucous membranes. Neuralgia with congestions, from dry cold air or checked sweat. Pains are intolerable to the extent that they drive him crazy. As if bruised or beaten in different parts. Has but little effect on disorganized blood-globules, hence seldom useful in true typhoid states. Acts more on arterial system. Plethora; active capillary congestions (from overactive serous membranes). Local congestions and inflammations. Neuritis, with tingling. Complaints in joints: shooting, cramp, cracking, loss of power; drawing in joints and aponeuroses. Acute rheumatism, much fever, restlessness and anxiety; swellings of joints which are red and hot or pale; shifting from one point to another; especially if caused by suddenly checked sweat or by dry cold air or winds. Common colds with high fever in the very beginning. Muscular rheumatism with high fever. Palpitation of the heart and anxiety, and increased heat of the body, especially in the face. Palpitation of the heart with great anxiety; oppression of the breathing and great weariness in all the limbs; it rises from thence into the head, and she is as if stupefied from flying redness in the face. Wounds painfully sensitive after surgical operations; fever. Shock from injury or surgical operations. Children's diseases; with high fever. Contraindicated in fevers which bring out eruptions, unless there is agonizing tossing with dry skin. Tendency to apoplectic congestion; plethora. Sensitiveness to fresh air. All the symptoms of having caught cold. Remarkable degree of sensitiveness to the least draught of cold air. From a fall or concussion; face pale or red, but no stupor. Apoplexy or apoplectic congestions. Head feels dull, stupefied. Dull, stupid; pressure outwards, aggravated on sitting up; with anxiety and fear of death. Alternate stupefaction and restlessness, with mild delirium twitchings, starts as in a fright, pulse frequent. Stupor, with cold feet.
Aggravations and Ameliorations: Anxious restlessness, finding no comfort in any position. Worse from dry cold or from becoming overheated. Worse from motion, like Bryonia, but in Aconitum the restlessness usually reigns and forces the patient to move despite the fact that he is aggravated by motion. Better in open air; worse lying on affected side, from music, from tobacco-smoke. Worse at twilight and in the hours following until 11 or 12 midnight; also worse from 10 P.M. until 4 A.M. Worse after fright. Worse from touch, especially in fevers where the whole body is in pain. The patient has an aversion to being touched and is aggravated by touch because of the pain. There is decided relief from any kind of discharge; such as, vomiting, diarrhea, perspiration, free flow of menses, leucorrhea, etc. … …. …. …. Missed pages ……
Anxiety states. Common colds. Inflammatory conditions. Measles.
Encephalitis. Meningoencephalitis. Endocarditis. Pericarditis. Acute arthritis.
Neuritis. Pneumonia. Peritonitis. Pleurisy. Gastritis. Conjuctivitis.
Fear. Fright. Chill. Cold, dry winds. Heat, especially of sun. Injury. Surgical operation. Shock.
Compare Aconitum with Belladona, Coffea and Lachesis. Compare also with:
Aconitine - Heavy feeling as of lead; pains in supraorbital nerve; ice-cold sensations creep up; hydrophobia symptoms. Tinnitus aurium 3x. Tingling sensation. Aconitum
It is complementary to Arnica, Coffea and Sulphur. Arnica can complement its action, especially in injuries.
Similar to Belladona, which can be antidoted by Aconitum, if one is not careful.
When taking Aconitum, vegetable acids and wines, as well as other alcoholic stimulants, should be avoided.
It is antidoted by Acetic acidum, Alcohol, Paris quadhfolium, Belladona, Berberis, Coffea, Nux vomica, Sulphur and Vinum.
It antidotes Belladona, Chamornilla, Coffea, Nux vomica, Petroleum, Sepia, Spongia and Sulphur.
Aconitum seems to be active in all the potencies from the very low to the very high. In the Centre of Homeopathic Medicine in Athens experience has shown that the very high potencies act well and for long periods of time, especially in chronic cases and cases of anxiety neurosis.
According to Hahnemann: "In measles, in purpura miliaris, and in the acute pleuritic fevers, &c, its curative power is marvellous, when, the patient being kept rather cool, it is given alone, all other medicinal substances, even vegetable acids, being avoided, in the dose of a thousandth part of a drop of the decillionth development of power. It is seldom that a second similar dose is required thirty-six or forty-eight hours after the first."