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A Case of Homeopathy and Terrifying Dreams

by Dr Neil Slade(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 171 - June 2010

Andrew was a very practical 'go getter' sort of guy; his personal life on the whole was good and his job on the trading floor of a major bank was exciting and satisfying to him. Homeopathy is not something that had ever entered his consciousness as anything other than one of those flaky therapies that people with too much time and money take up. However, he had been troubled for a long time with very frightening and disturbing nightmares that would cause him to have repeated sessions of broken sleep. He had tried all sorts of mainstream fixes, including resorting to sleeping tablets on and off when things got particularly bad. His girlfriend had been nagging him to try homeopathy for many months before he finally picked up the telephone and made an appointment. He was becoming increasingly tired during the day and feeling he was starting to run on low batteries.

running in a forest

The first consultation was nothing special, I explained that sleep disorders from a homeopathic perspective are much easier to treat if there was a trigger to the insomnia, or bad dreams that a person suffered from - what we term a 'Never Been Well since....' condition. I fully expected to uncover what was behind them in the questioning. After a 90 minute consultation I was still none the wiser. His dreams were very frightening to him. They were in colour, fast paced and very graphic. In the dreams he was always being pursued by someone, not a 'thing' or 'monster' etc, but by a person, and that person was intent on killing him. Andrew would always be cornered in some way, and have to fight to survive which he would with tremendous ferocity, in the process always killing his assailant in a variety of graphic and gore-filled ways; at this point he would wake very anxious, sweating, heart racing and scared. He may dream like this once a night for many nights on the run, or he could have the same type of dream two or three times a night. By day he was extremely balanced, not anxious or timid, in fact quite laid back in a busy, confident sort of way. He had a lot of friends and enjoyed their company, and there was nothing in his past that would indicate where this feeling of persecution or pursuit could have come from. He had a very good and typical childhood, and his work life/environment as an adult had always been stable and enjoyable.

I decided to prescribe for him constitutionally in order to see what effect it would have on the sleep disturbance, and also in the hope it would clarify the case and perhaps open up a cause. The totality remedy was Phosphorous which I prescribed in the 1M potency and saw him five weeks later. I also gave him a fact sheet of things to try with regard to his habits for getting ready for sleep.

In the follow up he said that several other niggly physical things he had mentioned in the consultation had all got better, but sleep was only slightly improved. The fearful dreams were still present and he was still agitated and having unrefreshing sleep. Work was becoming difficult due his increasing level of tiredness. I tried to dig deeper, determined to uncover a causal point to the dreams, but again to no avail. His mind was very active and he was a quick witted man full of ideas. I decided to see if Coffea 1M would work to try and calm his brain down. Four weeks later we followed up, and he said it was about as effective as the Phosphorous. He felt the pattern of the dreams had been broken and in some minor way the situation was a little better, but the overall picture was not great. However, was this due to remedy action or some of the things from the fact sheet he had been implementing? Back to the case analysis drawing board! It could have been that his case was blocked due to a miasmatic influence; maybe this would be a way to break the case and heal the sleep problem. The miasmatic nature of the case was very much 'tubercular' so I prescribed the nosode Tuberculinum in the 1M potency. It can sometimes be that a nosode prescription can clear the case by itself, but often we have to prescribe the most indicated remedy a second time after the nosode. At the next follow up Andrew said again there was a little improvement, but nothing much. I re-prescribed the Phosphorus 1M, with much more confidence this time. My heart sank when Andrew said the response was exactly the same as before.

One of the last approaches I felt I had open to me was to simply look at the terrifying state of the dreams and Andrew, once he had woken up. Based on this I prescribed Aconite 1M - one of our most fearful and terrified remedies. Aconite is normally seen as being something of a 'light weight' remedy mostly used for fear of flying and fending off colds or sudden fevers in a First Aid capacity. Andrew's response to the remedy reminded me that simple prescriptions are sometimes the best and not to classify remedies as 'light weight'. He said that after a few tablets he felt better, but could not explain why or how, just different. That night he slept soundly and felt great the next day as a result. One day followed the next and the bad dreams did not come through, sleep was much better and much more consistent. Andrew remained 'bad dream' free for many weeks after he had completed the Aconite course. A slight resurgence in the dreams was dealt with immediately with a repeat prescription and the frightening, survival dreams have not returned.

I never did find out what might have been behind them and I learned a valuable lesson that sometimes the simplest prescriptions really are the best.


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About Dr Neil Slade

Dr Neil Slade  PhD LCH RSHom. Neil is a senior lecturer at two leading complementary therapy colleges and has two busy homeopathic practices. He is the Deputy Director of Pure Medicine in London's Harley Street. He regularly contributes articles to the national press, radio and television. Neil can be contacted on Tel: 01372 361669;

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