Anxiety and Susceptibility; A Review of Conventional and Homœopathic Theory



Annalisa Percy RN, HOM, DCHM(Hons), CCHM Alumnus 2020

The origin of anxiety as a disease reaches back into a time where medical knowledge was crude at best. However in spite of reading today’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Version 5 {DSM-5} (American Psychiatric Association, 2013)  the interpretation points to the fact that it describes what anxiety is not, more than what it is, hence the purpose of this paper in seeking to understand further what the origins of the conventional diagnosis mean in the context of homeopathic susceptibility, and vice versa.

Where anxiety is not due to situational crises, drug side effects, secondary to another medical diagnosis like an eating disorder or post-traumatic stress or operational stress injury, then it could be termed Generalized Anxiety Disorder. So begs the question where then do we find the origin within the annals of conventional medicine?

Anxiety in and of itself, is excessive concern or worry about the unknown, which recent research (Cosentino 2020) indicates there are differences in our DNA methylation that predisposes some unfortunate people to heightened, idiopathic anxiety. The definition of anxiety is often confused or intermingled with that of fear. In fact the symptoms and sequelae can be very similar.

Fear is thought to be the precursor emotion that can cascade a number of similar chemical and physiological reactions, and for our purposes, can render a susceptibility to anxiety in the more chronic state, especially when suppressed either chemically or physically. Individuals with heritable traits such as impaired serotonergic signaling and increased catecholamine release are much more likely to develop chronic anxiety (Gottschalk, 2017) 

Drawing a parallel to Homœopathic assessment of how anxiety originates has roots in the body’s ability to cache emotional health such that the mental imbalance might become externalized by the body’s astute assessment of where the least damage maybe incurred, often out to the skin as described by Dr Hahnemann (Hahnemann 1992) At this stage allopathic opinion might separate the skin and mental trauma, but recognition of the connections are more intuitive thanks to the discovery of the location of serotonin and dopamine production in the gut. (Steimer 2002) Both homœopathic and conventional wisdom allow fears and phobias can implicate and multiply into chronic anxiety states.

Fear causes anxiety and anxiety causes fear but there are differences in the details, in conventional medicine and homeopathy alike. A search of the Synthesis Repertory (Schroyens 2012 p. 7 to 68 & p. 1445 to 9463) will demonstrate the different remedies a fearful patient would benefit from vice an anxious patient.

Fear is generally from an identified source and anxiety can be unknown and insidious. In this conventional and homœopathic medicine are in agreement.

Speaking from a purely physical point of view, susceptibility, be it conventional or homœopathic, varies in degree from one individual to the next, as optimal function for every organism is specific to each individual life force. It is what defines evolution since we are all, biologically speaking, products of our history. Adapt to survive goes back to Darwin’s teachings (Brummet 2005) We can see how every living species adapted with changes from generation to generation though natural selection and the continuance of superior genetic traits thusly enhancing chances of survival within populations. For example; geographical areas in Africa which are correlated with malaria endemicity, also show statistically high numbers of individuals who carry the sickle-cell trait and are resistant to malaria (Allison, 1954).

Susceptibility, in a word perfect explanation; the Merriam- Webster dictionary (Merriam-Webster.com) describes the medical definition as the state of being susceptible to a pathogen, disease or drug. The defense mechanism would perforce include the balance of mentation and ability to make good decisions in terms of survival thus susceptibility will always influence the whole being, a fact that is agreeable to both homœopathic and conventional practitioners.

Homœopathic miasm theory compares favourably to conventional theory, whereby Hahnemann (Brewster O’Reilly 1996) taught of a deranged dynamis failing to maintain normal function. He recognized and identified the patterns of suppressing the disease and driving it inward such that it affected children through their parent’s illnesses. Conventional practice might agree if one were to regard the example, of a line-up of the faulty DNA from methylation faults due to poor nutrition, lifestyle stress, pollution or heritable chromosome deficit,  as the deranged dynamis then we have both the miasm and the scientific origin of anxiety.

In another point of contention, Kent has the following to say about miasm as it affects emotional health;

Psora...is a state of susceptibility to disease from willing evils.” [p.135] (Kent 1900)

One supposes that willing evils are from inappropriate lifestyle choices since Kent was a devout Swedeborgian and very puritanical, and spoke often of his belief that disease resulted from sin. (Close 1924) He was not wrong since sexually transmitted disease {STD} is absolutely causative in many heritable diseases that we still see today, syphilis in particular, but all STD’s are implicated in statistically significant numbers in Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Magidson 2014)

In an objective review pertaining to susceptibility in the homœopathic sense of the words; the hypothetical Homœopathic Lens, one must not neglect two of the applicable phenomena. Firstly the homœopathic patient’ susceptibility to the stimulus of the remedy which determines the efficacy for that patient, and secondly the susceptibility to an event or pathogen that renders the body vulnerable to being immunologically challenged and thus much more likely to engender a reaction or be triggered into a cascade of reactions seen as symptoms of the vital force being unbalanced. Here homeopathic treatment has a definite customizable advantage over conventional one size fits all medications. Case in point the two pictorials found above, list all the possible remedies which might be useful for a patient diagnosis of anxiety. Not to argue the deficit of available allopathic drugs but to decry the use of large dosages of anti-anxiety meds without taking into account the differences of that particular patient with that affliction. Dr Hahnemann (Brewster O’Reilly 1996) emphasized the importance of the peculiar ( to that patient ) symptoms to really hear how their body is describing the disease. This is certainly one advantageous area that Homœopathic susceptibility will point the astute practitioner to the most similar remedy and the possibility of curing that case using his “similia similibus curentur” (Brewster O’Reilly 1996)

Dr Hahnemann tells us in Aphorism 77 (Brewster O’Reilly 1996) that a practitioner must note the living conditions of the patient with reference to patients who are susceptible to further non-chronic ills simply because they live in damp conditions, eat inappropriate foods/drink or otherwise deprive themselves of health. He termed this hygiene and even today it dictates the intrinsic resources available to the mind and body.

Essentially if the organism is spending energy managing the detrimental effects of the environment, whether it be viral load or a moldy house, then it has less to spend on other trauma, invasive germs or a stressful event like a fright.  This cost to the organism can be far reaching – with the ability to stimulate a change first to the  phenotype of the DNA, and through generations of influence, to further adaptation, the actual genetic coding or genotype. (Meier 2019) Examining how this might be true for the genesis of anxiety is found in layers of epigenetic factors such as lifestyle, stress of pregnancy and birth, childhood diet and genetic modification. Truly the words used are different but the impact on the vital energy and survival of the body is parallel from homœopathic doctrine to conventional practice.  Thus the way the body defends itself against threat to the holistic function of the body, is a significant piece of the susceptibility puzzle because it speaks to the capability of the entire body to either rise to a challenge or to allow the trespass of foreign cells or foreign energy such as a flood of stress hormones from a panic attack.

Looking first through the homeopathic lens and then swinging the end round to conventional gives us a different angle with a view of what is essentially the same scenario, not only with regard to Generalized Anxiety Disorder {GAD} but also most chronic disease. Homœopathic theory of psychosomatic disease also agrees with the origin of anxiety as a genetic /miasmatic disturbance that becomes a mentally disfiguring disease. If we consult the evolution of the allopathic treatment of mental disease however, the progression of treatment trailed behind that of the homœopathic as pioneered by Dr Hahnemann in the well documented history of his years in Geogenthal (Haehl 1922) with respect to his ground-breaking success with Herr Klockenbring in 1792. In fact Hahnemann railed against his allopathic peers for focusing on philanthropic and material views of the time, that actually persisted until fairly recently with the understanding of the chemical changes, occurring in the entire physical body and mind – that allopathically predispose one to mental frailty.

Hahnemann’s Aphorism 215 (Brewster O’Reilly 1996)  is eerily prophetic in describing mental disease as local within the subtlety of the brain but yet encompassed within the holism of the body. How fortuitous that allopathic medicine has finally caught up with the recognition of body -mind psychosomatic causation !

The vital force ultimately decides how much of a reaction or defense to stage, depending on what sort of energy is available to the body. This is true of both the scientific measure of a response to a homœopathic medicine via hormesis (Bell 2013) and adaptive response to intrinsic and extrinsic factors that force the body to make changes in order to protect homeostasis.

Homœopathic susceptibility agrees with the science of hormesis and may have originated with Dr Hahnemann himself, who wrote of the “ Principle of the minimum dose” {p251} (Brewster O’Reilly 1996)  with regard to the sensitivity to a stimulus that is nanoparticle sized such that the body no longer sees it as a threat but can react within its most natural state.

The level of derangement of the body from the anxious mind sees the same mechanism; adaptation in order to restore homeostasis. In order to survive the anxiety and resulting cascade of catecholamines as coping mechanisms the body must adapt, the ability to respond being intrinsic to the vital force of the body. In this, susceptibility belongs to the body and homœopathic susceptibility is no different from the conventional susceptibility.

Suppression is another word with which one should become familiar in the context of homœopathic susceptibility. When a symptom, like anticipatory anxiety, is suppressed the expression of it must change, very often causing an inward progression of something best externalized, as in a panic attack. Another way of seeing this might be to consider a river, whose waters encounter an obstacle such as a landslide or perhaps a new road being built, and must divert in order to continue the flow without interruption. The landscape perforce must change and may look quite different once the river finds a new direction, both weakening the force and creating possible destruction of other structures. So too will the body divert energy when the outward expression is stopped, possibly causing destruction and weakened or stress to other structures. At end of term, Emergency departments are full of students with migraines, skin eruptions and panic attacks from suppressed emotions …just trying to finish the term, everything else gets shelved !

The very basis of homeopathic medicine comprises a sophisticated psychoanalytic framework, homœopathically the emotional disturbance might appear at a superficial level on the skin and, when suppressed would perhaps evolve to chronic disease. This situation in conventional parlance would be seen differently in an evidence based practice; a skin disease would be seen as separate from the anxiety ensuing from the suppression of the original complaint. However the recognition of the chemical imbalance that renders the patient susceptible could well be evaluated and assessed in connection with the skin disease. Many practitioners now do actually recognize the cascade of stress hormones cause gut disruption that in turn causes an imbalance in the gut biome…where dopamine and serotonin are produced. (Steimer 2002)

So as mentioned, today’s practice may actually gravitate back in time to follow the natural laws that Dr Hahnemann pioneered.

An unbiased quantitative measuring tool that had the capability to record levels of anxiety before and after taking a well indicated remedy would be a wonderful thing, bridging the gap between homœopathic and allopathic treatment. It is enough to give one hope that eventually the conventional practices will have measurable, evidence based data provided by the homœopathic practices such that amalgamation may become more mainstream.

Enter the Peripheral Pulse Analyser developed at Bhabha Atomic Research Center (Jain 2018)

This fascinating study depicts the principle of electrical impedance of organs and body tissues in analysing heart rate variability.

Simply put, as a decent predictor of organism stress, heartrate measurements have the ability to measure a remedy response definitively such that proof of homeopathic susceptibility or reactivity to a specific remedy may be realized. The study of course has many other exciting ramifications including that of e-provings as mentioned in the summary.

Having now discussed the positive similarities linking homœopathic and conventional susceptibility as it pertains to anxiety and related diseases, it would be wise to promulgate balance in all things and to thus provide any possible opposing comments.

Conventional models of care for the patient with anxiety might have progressed beyond the lobotomies, incarceration, electrotherapy and injections of malaria ( Ullman 2008) but is far from the safety record of Homœopathic treatments. Suppression by allopathic drugs remain an unfortunate mainstream approach even as we bear witness to increasing success from cognitive behavioural techniques, Homœopathy and other complimentary and alternative modalities (Van Der Watt 2008)

For the purposes of this paper, there is really only the one dichotomy that still exists, dividing the practitioner of homœopathy from the conventional practitioner, one hopes that conventional wisdom makes haste back in time, to catch up with the infinite wisdom of the Homœopath.

In our forefathers words “The only true calling of the physician is to cure rapidly, gently and permanently” (Brewster O’Reilly 1996)

 

 

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