Written by Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH
A Child with Restlessness, Nightmares and Obsessive-Compulsive Tendencies
David is a handsome 11-year-old boy. His mother reported that he was suffering from intense agitation and restlessness at night on going to bed for the past few months.
If he had to get up after being comfortable, for example to go to the bathroom, he would complain that "nothing was right", not feeling good in his skin and becoming increasingly frustrated to the point of hitting himself to distract himself from this feeling. The only thing that would help was reading or watching some TV.
I asked David to describe this sensation of "nothing being right." He said: "I'm bothered by little things. Maybe a piece of sand from the dog is on my bed, or I see a piece of paper on an angle on my desk and it bugs me and bugs me. I have to get up and fix it and then I can't get comfortable again. Or everything that I'm touching is not right, nothing I'm touching feels nice, it's like sandpaper, or the pillow is not right, or the room is not the right temperature."
What happens if he does not fix it?
"I become impatient, I feel like I'm being filled with compressed air from an air compressor until I'll pop, I feel like tearing my hair out."
He has also been complaining bitterly about disturbing dreams and nightmares for several months.
"Some of them are really gruesome. One time I got trapped in a mine and crocodiles came and killed everybody, including me. Once a crocodile bit my legs off at the thighs. Another time a dog tried to bite my carotid artery but I punched him."
"Once I was running from a bunch of bees, they were stinging me and I got these huge lumps on my back. I was trying to get away and then a car pulls up. I think they're trying to help me but they kidnap me instead."
His mother says that he gets very distraught about those dreams and doesn't want to go to sleep because of them.
The Feeling of Two Brains
"It feels as if I've got two brains in my dreams, one brain is doing something and the other is just watching." This is a great symptom to hear for experienced homeopaths and points towards a certain group of remedies.
In addition David is getting tunny aches at bed time, so badly this week that his face would go white.
"I feel like my stomach is full of sand, gravel or rocks, heavy and hurting. It goes with those dreams."
The mother also reports that David often feels sore and achy to an unusual degree and that his muscles are very tight. His mother massages them a lot for him. He become easily exhausted after vigorous play, taking a whole day to recover.
He feel sad a lot.
Health and other Relevant History
The mother reports that David has never been totally well. He cried a lot as a baby and was stressed very easily. He has always been very demanding and sensitive to many things, including change of any kind. He has always been very sensitive to noise.
He is not easy to get along with and doesn't fit in well with other kids or at home, causing frustration for the parents and peers. He can be overly rough when playing with others.
He has always had emotional and behavioural issues, is very intolerant of others and does not like many people. He is not easy going at all. At the same time he is very attached to the mother and hates to leave her side.
David hates to spend any time alone. He hates to get rid of anything and hordes things. He does not like to do anything he is not good at and will give up easily if he does not succeed right away.
Obsessive Tendencies and Fears
He is obsessive about washing his hands. He really scrubs his hands then sais he does not feel as if they are clean.
He has an obsession with knifes and collects them. He has quite a few, including swords. He keeps them very organized and gets upset if they're not perfectly so.
He also likes model planes and cars and keeps them very neat and organized, but the rest of his room is a mess.
He has fears of deep water and of new places. He will get a tummy ache if he has to go somewhere unfamiliar.
He only learned to talk at age three and was not dry during the night until age five.
Vegetarian and Sensitive
He is vegetarian because he does not like the idea of eating an animal, he has been like this from a very young age.
He also did not like the taste of meat when little and the smell of meat makes him gag.
He loves butter (3), salty foods (3), especially potato chips (3), potatoes (2), cheese (2), tofu (2), noodles, waffles and pancakes. He does not like soup, stews, casseroles, vinegar or ketchup.
He is sensitive to many smells, perfume makes him gag, too.
Assessment - OCD
This child clearly is suffering from a type of anxiety disorder with obsessive components. His many behavioural and sensory issues are clearly interfering with his life and that of his parents.
From a homeopathic point of view the case is fairly straight-forward. All of his symptoms point to a homeopathic remedy made from syphilis, just in the case of the young man with the anxiety to the point of vomiting.
The fact that he is worse in the evening, the very distressing and violent dreams and his sensation of having two brains, combined with the obsessive need to wash his hands and even his obsession about knives all point clearly to this remedy.
It is an easy case, but left untreated this child could grow up to be a very unhappy adult. Once again, there was probably a family history of syphilis, a very common illness in Europe in the 17th ot 18th century.
As explained elsewhere, infections may have the ability to modify genetic expression through the epigenome and the changes can then be passed on to subsequent generations. Please see my article on homeopathy and epigenetics for more information.
Plan: Syphilinum 200 CH one dose.
One week later
The day after he had the remedy he had a severe tummy ache and one really restless evening. The last two nights have been much better. He is possibly washing his hands a bit less. He is perspiring more.
Six weeks after initial consult
The restlessness got a lot better, then a bit worse and the mother repeated the remedy. Overall it is a lot better. The feeling of nothing being right is a lot better, "everything is right now"., he says.
He is a lot more tolerant and not as easily irritated. The dreams are much better and he is not afraid of falling asleep any more.
He no longer has the sensation of having two brains. The tight feeling in his legs is better. There still is some soreness in his muscles but it is better.
The hand washing is clearly reduced. He still has anxiety around a friend who rarely washes his hands. He still likes his knives. He recently agreed to get rid of some belongings which is very unusual for him. In the past he was very anxious about this.
Assessment and discussion
He has done very well on this remedy in only six weeks. All of his symptoms are improved. What pleased me especially was his report that he no longer feels as if he has two brains.
The feeling of being split, of living along two parallel paths which never connect is a strong sensation in remedies from the syphilitic spectrum. I have seen this many times and it is well-recorded in the homeopathic literature.
Plan: Syphilinum 1 MK
David received several more doses of Syphilinum over the next two years. All his complaints cleared up. When he was 16 I saw him for an acute injury, otherwise he has done very well.
A beautiful example of how homeopathy for behavioural issues in children can help to prevent a lifetime of potentially serious mental illness.
Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH, Naturopathic doctor and Classical Homeopath, Victoria, BC
Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH is a naturopathic doctor with a special interest in developmental and behavioural disorders. Cases are all from her practice, names have been changed, they were published with permission and are intended for education only.
Dr. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH, Naturopathic Physician
West Sooke, BC, Canada
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