Somatoform disorders and homeopathy
by Neepa Sevak —
The mind and body team up to influence health, and somatoform disorders are an expression of this collaboration. They are psychosomatic disorders, also known as hysteria or Briquet’s syndrome, pain disorder or body dysmorphic disorder, in which a patient suffers physical symptoms with no specific physiological cause.
The symptoms of somatoform disorders are so intense that they can weaken a person’s ability to function. The patient is convinced that they are sick but with no identifiable diagnosis. When no physical cause or illness is determined on medical examination and lab results, then the ailment is most likely a result of concealed emotions, such as anger, anxiety, constant worry, depression, guilt, abuse, etc. Thus, it is classified as a psychosomatic disorder.
Sometimes physical symptoms are not deliberately generated by the patient but are an allegory for their emotional problems. Somatoform disorders can stimulate emotional agony and thus impact social and occupational performance. These patients can be misdiagnosed as having a medical condition and can suffer iatrogenic complications from medications and invasive diagnostic procedures.
Types of somatoform disorders and symptoms
• Somatization disorder — In this disorder, a person suffers physical symptoms with no identifiable medical origin.
• Pain disorder — In this malady, a person experiences generalized or localized aches and pains not relieved by analgesics and their cause is emotional turbulence.
• Conversion disorder — The identifiable cause of this condition is stress, and the patient undergoes impaired mobility due to an unexpected loss of voluntary, motor or sensory functions.
• Hypochondriasis — This syndrome, also called disease phobia, occurs in any age group and is triggered by nervous tension, lack of assurance and fear of contracting a particular disease.
• Body dysmorphic disorder — With this ailment, patients envision imperfections in their bodies and undertake fruitless attempts to rectify their appearance through cosmetic surgery.
Symptoms of somatoform disorders include headaches, bodily aches and pains; loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion; breathlessness, fatigue, dizziness, seizures; menstrual irregularities and sexual symptoms; depression, behavior problems, panic disorder, anxiety disorder, hallucinations; inability to walk or move, paralysis; disorganized speech or becoming mute; and suicidal thoughts.
When people are stumbling upon oodles of stress and become unable to cope, they can start to experience physical symptoms. Homeopathy appreciates the psychological source of somatic symptoms. Homeopathic remedies function at the level of mind and body collectively, thus eradicating the disease. Unlike homeopathy, conventional medicines do not have any precise treatment for somatoform disorders other than analgesics, NSAIDS, antidepressants or sleep medication.
The detailed history taken during a homeopathic consultation gives patients an opportunity to talk about their emotions, which provides an insight into themselves that can help them better comprehend their illness. A homeopathic constitutional approach allows patients to release their stress by specifically acting to alleviate emotional commotion. By relieving suppressed emotions, homeopathic remedies can alleviate all physical symptoms and bring about a harmonious state of health. No other system of medicine has such an outstanding approach to managing the mind-body syndrome by using well-defined, natural and safe therapeutic agents.
Some effective homeopathic remedies commonly used in the treatment of somatoform disorders are given below and are mentioned only to create awareness. It is not advised to resort to self-medication for any disease.
Cimcifuga racemosa — This remedy works on the cerebrospinal and muscular system, particularly in patients who are tense and restless with pain. Pains are muscular, crampy and like electric shocks. These patients feel unhappy, confused and dream of forthcoming evil. They complain of nausea and vomiting from a feeling of pressure on the spine and cervical region.
Ignatia amara — This is the foremost remedy for hysteria, seen mainly in women. These patients have a tendency to experience colonic spasms, with a marked hyperesthesia of all senses. They are sensitive, easily excited and quick to perceive. They go through a rapid change of mental and physical condition opposite to each other. Their physical symptoms are mainly a result of grief and worry. Congestive headaches feel as if a nail is driven into the head. These patients have an inclination to choke and get ulcerative pain in the soles of the feet and experience jerking limbs.
Kalmia latifolia — This remedy is given to patients who complain of severe shooting pain with stiffness, numbness or cold sensation in the muscles that affects a large part of a limb. Pains occur suddenly, shift suddenly and get worse from motion at night and from leaning forward. They feel confused and experience an impairment of vision. Facial pains are worse mainly on the right side. They have a warm sensation in the stomach, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Women can experience menstrual irregularities with palpitation.
Ranunculus bulbosus — This is an exceptional remedy for patients who complain of shocks throughout the whole body. These patients are receptive to touch and complain of aches and muscle stiffness of the neck and back. The pain is stabbing, with a feeling of soreness felt near the spine and shoulder blades, especially on the left side. The pain worsens after consuming alcoholic beverages. These patients experience day blindness and a mist before their eyes, as if from smoke.
Hence, any individual suffering from a somatoform disorder should consider homeopathy to provide relief and a lifetime cure. Homeopathic treatment is magical and can transform a person’s life from one of distress to one of health.
Neepa Sevak, DHMS, DHom, DIHom, DHM, CCH, RSHom (NA), is registered with the Arizona Homeopathic Board of Medical Examiners and certified by the Council of Homeopathic Certification. She is practicing Classical Homeopathy and is the owner of Homeopathic Care LLC. email@example.com, 480-363-0758 or homeopathiccare.net.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 34, Number 2, April/May 2015.