Homeopathy for trauma and bereavement

This is an article I wrote some years ago and had forgotten about until I came across it recently on a colleague’s website. It was interesting to re-read it after all this time!

During my first year of Homeopathy training some friends came to stay with us shortly after witnessing the brutal murder of a close friend in Africa where they were living. Alice, their 18 month old daughter was with them during the murder and was, with her mother, threatened with a gun. For several nights after the incident she had woken with night terrors.

This happened again the first night they were with us. Having gone to sleep quite happily Alice woke around midnight, screaming with what seemed like rage to the point that she had a convulsion, biting her mouth badly. She seemed not to recognise those around her and would not be put down. lt took a walk outside to eventually calm her.

Alice’s behaviour led me instinctively to a homeopathic remedy I had not yet studied but must have glanced at some time when browsing through my Materia Medica. On looking it up l found the leading symptoms of the remedy, Stramonium (Thorn Apple), to include; Violence or fears or convulsions; Rage; Awakes in fear or screaming; recognises no one; clings to those near; Night terrors in children; Ailments from fright (seeing a death, a violence, after a life-threatening situation); Convulsions from fright.

The next day we hit up the homeopathic pharmacy for a dose of Stramonium 1M and that night collectively held our breath. Alice slept soundly. The night terrors stopped completely and she showed no further effects of the ordeal. A check up by a Cranial Osteopath confirmed that there was no evidence of stress or trauma. When I last spoke to her mother, several years after the event, she told me that Alice’s symptoms had never recurred.

While thankfully most homeopathic prescriptions in this country are not prompted by such dramatic circumstances as Alice’s, many people do consult homeopaths for emotional problems including the effects of grief or shock.

Such dramatic responses to treatment as Alice’s are a joy to experience. ln other situations progress may be slower with consultations needed every month or so for a while. One of my children was greatly helped by homeopathic treatment for insomnia and depression following two successive bereavements.

Jessica’s father and grandfather died within six weeks of each other when she was 10 and while she was fine when she was at school or with friends, the moment she was on her own with us at home she would become very tearful and say that she was depressed. She was having trouble getting to sleep and was frightened at night. lnitially Jessica’s symptoms improved markedly after each consultation but recurred a few weeks later. When this happened we simply repeated the remedy and watched the symptoms come back less severely and at gradually greater intervals each time. After four or five doses of the remedy the symptoms disappeared completely. The consultation itself can also play an important part in the healing process and Jessica found it helpful to talk about how she was feeling with our homeopath.

Because homeopathy focuses on the person as a whole rather than a specific illness, any emotional traumas will be taken into account when prescribing for physical symptoms and can prove to be the underlying cause. A patient with chronic fatigue symptoms, muscle pain, stiffness and headaches improved dramatically when we realised her health had deteriorated markedly following the death of a close relative 18 months earlier and I gave her a remedy for grief.

While she had responded well on an emotional level to the lgnatia (a major remedy for grief) that I had prescribed when I first saw her 6 months or so after the bereavement, her physical symptoms were not improving with indicated remedies. When we looked back over her case and noticed that the physical symptoms had gotten worse around the time of the bereavement I decided to try Natrum Mur, another remedy for grief that is related to lgnatia. The improvement was dramatic and lasting.

Any emotional trauma can have an impact on our general health. Homeopathy provides valuable support to help people cope with difficult and life-changing situations like bereavement and it can effectively address seemingly unrelated symptoms.