by Larry Malerba, DO, DHt – Any chronic mental, emotional, or physical problem that results from severe trauma can be likened to a stubborn energetic vortex that refuses to release the suffering individual from its pull. Traumatic events, like the ones that trigger most cases of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can easily throw the bioenergetic life force into disarray. Homeopathic treatment is designed to restore balance by prescribing an energy of similar quality and intensity to match the energetic imprint of the illness of the suffering individual.
When homeopathy is applied to PTSD it can serve to relinquish the condition’s energetic hold on its victim. Since it is the energetic “shock” of a trauma that sets up the subsequent pattern of dysfunction in PTSD, a chemical solution represented by conventional pharmaceutical therapy will commonly yield unsatisfactory results. Drug therapy only serves as a temporary straightjacket to “control” the symptoms precisely because it does not address the underlying energetic nature of the condition. Likewise, while talk therapy may help patients to psychologically manage the effects of PTSD, it is usually not capable of releasing the person from its recurring tendency. An energetically-induced illness like PTSD requires an energy-based therapy in order to achieve true therapeutic success.
Homeopathic medicine has been around for over two hundred years and is practiced the world over by a variety of healthcare professionals. Homeopathy operates by the principle of similars, not unlike that old classic cartoon plot where the main character is hit on the head and loses his or her memory, only to have it return when accidentally hit on the head again. In my home, we routinely use the homeopathic medicine Apis mellifica, made from the honeybee, whenever a wasp or bee stings someone. Likewise, any effective psychotherapeutic process utilizes the same principle of similarity, which hinges upon the client’s willingness and capacity to go back and face the source of his or her suffering. Homeopathic practitioners take the same fundamental approach when treating any physical, mental, or emotional health problem.
The nice thing about homeopathy is that it takes as its basic assumption that body, mind, and emotions cannot be separated and must be treated as a whole. For example, homeopathic Aconite is derived from the poisonous monkshood plant, which when accidentally ingested can induce heart palpitations and a very sudden and intense state of anxiety. As such, it has been successfully employed in its diluted homeopathic form for almost two centuries to treat states of panic and fright that are accompanied by palpitations. Aconite can bridge the gap between mind and body, providing relief for both anxiety and palpitations. I have successfully used Aconite many times in my own practice to treat the chronic consequences resulting from frightening experiences.
One given case of PTSD does not by any means reflect all other cases of PTSD. Therefore, an understanding of the unique nature of each individual case is of paramount importance in successful homeopathic prescribing. Good homeopathic care requires detailed history and case taking such that a clear picture of the symptom pattern and core issues of each individual client may be ascertained. All homeopathic medicines used in the United States have been FDA approved and regulated for many years. I have used homeopathic medicines with good success over the years to treat many cases of PTSD and a variety of ailments resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The following is the case of Jack who had survived a war but continued to carry within him deep scars that had been inflicted upon his psyche and soul.
By the time Jack contacted me for help he had spent fourteen years in the VA system receiving treatment for his PTSD, including six years of inpatient psychiatric care. As a combat veteran of Vietnam he had witnessed and participated in tremendous violence, and had sustained mortar wounds to a shoulder and a knee. Having watched thirteen men from his therapy group die over the past couple years, he presented to me complaining about the drug treatment prescribed to him and was determined to find another way. His regimen at that time included Trazadone for depression, Xanax and Restoril for sleep and anxiety, and Oxycodone and a Fentanyl patch for pain.
As he sat in my office looking lethargic and oversedated he struggled to explain that after returning from the war he “wasn’t the same person,” and had become “a wild man” with “no values and no rules.” He had tried to run people over with his car, had stabbed a man during a “flashback,” and had held a knife to his wife’s head during another. At the time he consulted me he was still prone to suicidal thoughts, frequent flashbacks of rage, alcohol abuse, violent knee pains, and relentless nightmares from which he would wake “shaking and scared to death.” His daughter was in the custody of his mother and he was currently living in a hotel where he sat up many sleepless nights rocking in pain holding his knees. Jack believed that most of his trouble had come directly from the trauma of war and that some of it could be attributed to a head injury he had sustained about ten years prior.
After much deliberation, homeopathic treatment was begun with instructions for him to check in by phone or visits to my office on a weekly basis. As he began to show signs of improvement he very slowly reduced some of the heavy doses of medications that he’d been on. His first observation was that he knew he was feeling better because he felt less suicidal and had begun to help his daughter with her homework. After five weeks the nightmares and knee pains hadn’t changed much but he was no longer suicidal, was helping his mother with some chores, and had decreased the dosage of his Fentanyl patch. At the two-month mark he had completely weaned himself from Fentanyl and the nightmares had subsided dramatically. He had less knee pain, stated that his “paranoia” was “pretty much gone” and, amazingly, he had begun to put in a few hours of work at his mother’s antique store. All the while he continued his support services at the VA, which included daily AA meetings.
After three months, Jack was down to three of the original five drugs, was no longer having flashbacks, and stated, “my mind is starting to come back to me.” He declared himself “definitely motivated” and ready to enter a program at the VA in order to detox from his pharmaceutical dependency. After successfully completing the program he began to sleep in four to eight hour chunks at night. Over the ensuing months he continued to have small bouts of various symptoms but they would always settle down relatively quickly, and his overall status steadily improved. He even began to cut down on his cigarette smoking. Seven months after beginning homeopathic treatment he enrolled in night classes to learn about computers. He was also beginning to identify long-buried emotions. “I’m trying to feel guilt. Before I didn’t know what reality was like. I was always on drugs.” He expressed having difficulty with the third AA step because it was hard to accept God given all the horrible things that he had experienced.
One full year from when I had first met Jack he moved into a new two-bedroom apartment where his daughter stayed with him on weekends. The changes were remarkable. He was no longer suicidal, was not having flashbacks, had minimal knee pain, had been off all medications for months, attended regular AA meetings, and was able to get an acceptable amount of sleep. Noting that he had begun proceedings to regain legal custody of his daughter he remarked, “I leave that up to my higher power.” I felt deeply privileged to be witness to this man’s courageous journey to reclaim his soul and gather together the shattered fragments of his life.
While several different homeopathic medicines had been prescribed for Jack at different points in his treatment, Belladonna had been particularly helpful in his case. It was indicated, among other reasons, because it matched the attacks of rage and the intense throbbing, pulsating pains he felt in his knees. It is important to emphasize that each case is unique, and chronic problems like PTSD are best handled by a qualified homeopathic practitioner.
When combined with proper medical management, emotional support, and spiritual counseling, a well chosen homeopathic medicine that resonates with the energetic imprint of an individual’s symptom pattern can relieve a great deal of the suffering associated with PTSD.
– Larry Malerba, DO. The Bioenergetic Basis of Illness (part I) (part II). www.docmalerba.com
– Edward Tick. War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation’s Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder. Quest Books, 2005
– Website: www.healingcombattrauma.com
– Nan Levinson. Mad, Bad, Sad: What’s Really Happened to America’s Soldiers: http://southerncrossreview.org/83/levinson-ptsd.html
Larry Malerba, DO, DHt is a physician and educator whose mission is to build bridges between holistic healing, conventional medicine, and spirituality. He is the author of Metaphysics & Medicine: Restoring Freedom of Thought to the Art and Science of Healing and Green Medicine: Challenging the Assumptions of Conventional Health Care. He has written for Huffington Post, Natural News, and the American Holistic Medical Association. Dr. Malerba is board certified in Homeotherapeutics, is Clinical Assistant Professor at New York Medical College, and past president of the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of New York. He is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Ireland. Website: SpiritScienceHealing.com