Some years ago, I was at home, cleaning the kitchen, when, seemingly from nowhere, I dropped into an emotional black hole. A feeling of total despair and hopelessness engulfed me. It felt like I was carrying an overwhelming burden of responsibility. I slumped on the floor, tears running down my cheeks, mentally reviewing the futility of myself, my life - of everything. This state wasn’t altogether foreign; in my younger years, depression had been a frequent companion, but never before had I experienced it with this intensity and coming seemingly from nowhere.
One chink of light; a single word on the edge of my awareness: ‘aurum’. This is the name of a homeopathic remedy I had been prescribed some years earlier. A practising homeopath myself, I recognised that this remedy was a great fit for my state. People who respond well to aurum tend to have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. They will set unrealistically high goals for themselves and can tip into depression when they believe they have failed to fulfil these high standards.
Overcoming considerable inertia, I fetched my bottle of aurum and took a dose. Pause. Observe. The clouds began lift. I felt a little lighter. Two more doses that day, and the dark feeling had passed.
This was a very dramatic resolution which also affirmed what had first attracted me to homeopathy; that symptoms of depression and other debilitating psychological conditions can often be effectively managed using homeopathy, as well as those of a wide range of physical complaints.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a traditional form of medicine. According to the World Health Organisation, which acknowledges homeopathy as a valid form of health care, it is the second most widely used system of medicine in the world. Over 200 million people make use of homeopathy.
Homeopathy was formally introduced to
the world in 1810, when a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann, published his definitive work: ‘The Organon of Medicine’. In this book, Hahnemann set forth the principles on which homeopathy is based. These principles hold as true today as they did 200 years ago.
The foundation of Homeopathy is a principle of cure known as the ‘Law of Similars’. In essence this states that a substance, which can produce symptoms in a healthy person, can be used in minute doses to relieve similar symptoms in a sick person. For example, one homeopathic preparation prescribed for people experiencing insomnia, contains minute amounts of coffee, a substance we know to be as a stimulant.
Each homeopathic remedy has a unique ‘symptom picture’, the spectrum of symptoms that the remedy has been shown to produce in a healthy person and resolve in a sick person. The task of the homeopath is to ascertain the symptom picture of the patient through an in depth interview process, and identify the homeopathic remedy that best matches this.
One widely used homeopathic remedy is called natrum muriaticum (nat-mur). People who need nat-mur are usually serious, conscientious types who are triggered when let down by those they depend on. They withdraw into themselves to stave off further disappointments. They will sit silently with their sadness and reject any comfort offered. They can be very sensitive to music.
One woman who matched the nat-mur profile was immersed in sadness; to the extent that she had lost confidence in herself. She was unable and unwilling to talk with anybody about how she was feeling. She believed her husband would laugh at her or get angry if she tried to express her concerns.
This woman took three doses of nat-mur, and felt quite buoyant for about two weeks. We then adjusted the dosage so that she continued to take one dose, once a week. From that point she was able to maintain a happy and confident state of mind.
Homeopathic medicines are made from naturally occurring
substances, by a specialised traditional process called potentisation. This involves a stepwise process of diluting and agitating the raw substances to reveal and enhance or ‘potentise’ their medicinal effects.
Homeopathic medicines are recognised as being low risk, and generally there are no contraindications when taking them alongside orthodox prescription medicines. Often those on antidepressant medication are able to reduce the dosage over time, though this should be only done under the guidance of the prescribing doctor.
Burdened by Guilt
I saw another woman who was going through a difficult legal process which required her to stand up for her rights. It was a time when she needed to be very alert and responsive to events, yet she found herself ‘frozen’. She was filled with guilt; somehow this was all her fault, the consequence of something ‘bad’ she that had done. And because of how she was feeling, she had no resolve to deal with the real situation around her.
Her dilemma matched the remedy picture for homeopathic cyclamen. In the cyclamen state, the person feels that something bad has occurred because of some wrong she has done. She will put on a sunny face to the world, hiding the guilt and shame that is paralysing her inside. And after a few doses of cyclamen this woman found she could put aside the feeling of guilt and handle the real challenges in her life.
The Process of Classical Homeopathic Treatment
These are three examples of how classical homeopathy has helped to alleviate the paralysing symptoms of depression. There are dozens, even hundreds of other homeopathic medicines that could apply to other individuals in other situations. The job of the homeopath is to identify the medicine that best fits each case.
This is done through in-depth interview. Often a first consultation will last for one and a half hours. As well as exploring the issues around the depression, a complete medical, personal and family history is taken. Environmental stresses are also considered. Subsequent visits usually last about one hour.
Often, once the ‘constitutional’ remedy is identified, it may serve the patient for years, only needing to be repeated when there is a return of the original depression symptoms. At other times, a first prescription may only address the first layer of a case, and after the initial burst of well-being wears off, it is time to revisit the situation, see what has changed and find the medicine that now best fits the patient’s symptoms. When a condition is long-standing it is often not easy to effect lasting change and it is wise to expect treatment to extend over six months, say four to six consultations, before firmly assessing the effectiveness of the treatment.
Most private health funds will give a rebate for consultations with homeopaths who are registered with the Australian Register of Homeopaths, the national registration body for professional homeopaths under the government endorsed National Competency Standards. (for more information see http://www.aroh.com.au .) To find a registered classical homeopath in your area, visit the Australian Homœopathic Association website: http://www.homeopathyoz.org/
B Sc (Hons), Adv Dip Hom (Syd), AHA, AROH
Use medicines only as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare practitioner. This advice does not replace professional care.
These suggestions are for the treatment of minor aliments only and are not suitable for the treatment of chronic, serious or on-going illness.
 World Health Report, WHO Global Atlas of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Map Volume, 2005
 Hahnemann, S. (1842) Organon of the Medicinal Art, Palo Alto Ca, Birdcage Books
 Lanksy. A. L. (2003) Impossible Cure, Portola Valley, Ca: R.L.Ranch Press