Copyright © 2002 by Raymond J. Pataracchia B.Sc., N.D
Homeopathic medicine is sometimes employed and cited in literature as an important part of therapy for severe mental illness including schizophrenia. Anecdotal evidence over the past two centuries leaves us supportive evidence in favor of using classical homeopathic therapy for people with schizophrenia (Frei & Thurneysen, 2001; Chapman et al, 1999; Davidson et al, 1997; Cook, 1992(~); Saine, 1997; Perez & Tomsko, 1994; Bohn, 1970; S., 1968; McDonough, 1965; Smith, 1956; Rueckert, 1949; Givens, 1905; Thacher, 1910(~); Cooley, 1898; Talcott, 1890; Worcester, 1881; Jahr, 1855; Hahnemann, 1842).
Controlled clinical trials are lacking in homeopathic literature. However, some research is available for evidence-based appraisal. One study from India reported successful efforts of managing schizophrenia in a 1 to 8 week trial with 70 people with schizophrenia on one of two well-known remedies with psycho-tropic action in high dose. Medicines were chosen ‘classically’ by the principle of ‘totality of symptoms’ and administered in low dose (200 to 1000) homeopathic potency (Balachandran, 1976). These cases were treated in a clinical hospital setting at the Regional Research Institute between 1972 and 1974 in Kottayam, India.
Other supportive evidence comes forth through records of Homeopathic Insane Asylums (The Homeopathic World- editor, 1925). Good examples of asylums in the United States date back to the 1870’s and include the New York Homeopathic Asylum in Middletown, NY, which came under direction of a noted homeopath, Dr. S. H. Talcott, M.D.; and another asylum in Stamford, CT, which came under direction of Dr. Amos J Givens, M.D.; and a sanitarium in Cincinnati, Ohio (Grimmer, 1940; MED INV- editor, 1874).
A review of the 1901 book by Talcott “Mental diseases and their modern treatment” gives a plethora of information on homeopathic usage in mental illnesses (Talcott, 1901). Some presenting symptoms of patient cases described suggest that several people in this account have thought disorder and perceptual changes suggestive of schizophrenia.
André Saine, N.D., D.H.A.N.P., is a renowned master of classical homeopathy (Saine, 1997b). He practices in Montreal, Canada, and has noted success in managing severe cases of schizophrenia (Saine, 1997). His book on Psychiatric Patients is a testament of work, experience, and successful application of classical homeopathy with mental illness (Saine, 1997).
Therapy is not always a smooth process as patients may relapse and remise over the course of a treatment witch may last 2 or more years.
The more aware the homeopath is of the nature of the disease symptoms of schizophrenia (i.e. the natural presenting psychosis) and the actions of conventional medicines (i.e. neuroleptic psychosis) and the influence of the disease on human nature the more likely he or she will be able to determine an effective homeopathic medicine/remedy (Hahnemann, 1842).
The chosen medicine has the potential in high doses to create similar behavior patterns as the determined key elements of the case but in low homeopathic prescription doses has the potential to balance the human vital energy that has somehow become mis-tuned. Low dose medicines are made by careful dilutions and succussions and attempt to ‘capture’ the energy of the substance being diluted. Some scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of low dosage conventional medicine versus high dose (Davenas et al, 1988; Nature, 1988). In classical homeopathy, “the similar remedy, the single remedy, and the minimum dose- is the basis for every homeopathic prescription” (Stearns, 1926; Hahnemann, 1842).
Placebo effect is not the case as recent large surveys of clinical trials support the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines over placebo (Reilly et al, 2001; Linde et al, 1997; New Scientist, 1997; Reilly et al, 1994; Kleijnen et al, 1991).
Homeopathy was developed by a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann in the early 1800’s. He examined the potential of substances to ‘cure’ symptoms that he produced in human healthy subjects (Hahnemann, 1842). These examinations were called provings. Hahnemann thought the body to be intelligent with an innate ability to heal itself. For example, the healing of a cut- and that the best way to heal would be via supporting the vital force of the body.
Remedies can act quick or they can take a long time to take effect.
Homeopathic medicines are suggested as suitable adjuncts to neuroleptic therapy due to their relative safety and absence of side-effects (Hahnemann, 1842; Vithoulkas, 1980).
However, aggravation of any symptom (including psychotic features) may occur temporarily. Theoretically, in severe cases of aggravation and in extraordinarily rare cases, the aggravation could be permanent and perhaps lethal. Aggravations can proceed in a suppressive manner. Anti-doting a homeopathic medicine is not always successful. Aggravations are thought to foreshadow the disease presentation as it would have occurred without the homeopathic medicine. Aggravating symptoms are not new symptoms but rather, they are existing symptoms or a re-emergence of previously existing symptoms in the course of the patients lifetime. True aggravations, according to homeopathic philosophy, after lasting from a few hours to a few weeks, are followed by general amelioration. True aggravations are not unbearable.
How does it work exactly? This isn’t known. Homeopathic medicine works by a mechanism of action that is said to tune the patient’s vital force witch has become mis-tuned as a result of disease. Current theories involve quantum physics or energy at the atomic level. Small changes can be instrumental. “For our concept to approximate atomic dimensions, we must imagine space as being as immensely small as light years represent the immensely great” (Stearns, 1926). The molecular organization of water in the body in the presence of the right homeopathic medicine is proposed to correct the vital force as part of the mechanism of action (Davenas et al, 1988; Nature, 1988).
If you are grappling with these concepts it is important to remember that the exact cause of most diseases are not known nor do they have to be known for practitioners to employ treatments that help (Hahnemann, 1842). Homeopathy is energy medicine that influences the body much the same as Chinese medicine has influence over the energy channels/meridians of the body. It is interesting to note that Chinese medicine had successfully managed severe cases of mental illness well before the advent of the conventional ‘understanding’ of disease. Similarly, classical homeopathy was employed well before medical science had developed medications specific for schizophrenia.
Disclaimer: N.M.R.C. services are not offered as a cure-all replacement for standard treatment. Some patients require conventional treatment, some do better on nutritional treatment, and some require a skilful combination of both. Prescribed drugs can safely be maintained for the duration of all N.M.R.C. therapeutic interventions. Based on signs of clinical improvement, your medical practitioner can monitor drug withdrawal as this becomes another key component to recovery. Information herein is not intended for self-prescription or self-diagnosis and is not intended to replace the advice of a medical practitioner or health-care provider. The N.M.R.C. does not imply cure in any treatment protocols offered. Nutritional prognosis described herein by other researchers and practitioners do not necessarily apply to N.M.R.C. services and are listed herein for your independent appraisal and assessment.