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Addictions and Homeopathy

by June Sayer(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 215 - July 2014

The Little Oxford Dictionary defines the word addicted as being given over habitually to (drug etc), devoted to. When one thinks of an addict probably the first thing that springs to mind is a person who is addicted to substances such as drugs and alcohol, but there are many more things that a person can become addicted to, i.e. cigarettes, gambling, etc but let us not forget those who have become addicted to certain prescribed, or over-the-counter medicinal drugs such as anti-depressants or painkillers.

So firstly let us turn our thoughts to those who are the ‘addicts’ and consider how they got to this state of dependency. They may have experienced a life event that left them so traumatized that they became depressed and looked for an escape route and in so doing turned to drink, drugs, anti-depressants or even food as a way to numb the pain they were experiencing.

As a homeopath when I meet anyone with any form of addiction my first priority is to try and discover how long the person has been caught up with addiction; invariably I find that it is linked to a trauma that they found difficulty dealing with. The loss of a loved one, redundancy, lack of stimulating company etc., can mean that the person who would normally cope with everyday life may feel the intensity of the situation so badly that their only thought is to try and escape the pain, hence finding a way to push this pain to the background through the use of stimulants, substances or food. In these circumstances I carefully select a remedy from those that are listed in the homeopathic Materia Medica for ailments from mental or emotional shock and trauma, such remedies could be Aconite, Arnica or Gelsemium.

When analysing the case I find that underlying miasms have been awoken in the addictive person and these could be the secretive sycotic miasm or the self-destructive syphilitic miasm and the remedies associated with such miasms will be called for to help the person recover from their addiction.

Sayer 215 Addictions and Homeopathy

If you find yourself wondering what a miasm is, Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy described miasms as being inherited dispositions that allow disease to take hold so that when the original disease is suppressed it does not disappear but is driven further inward and serves to weaken the constitution. After studying chronic disease for a number of years he identified three major miasms that he termed Psoric, Sycotic and Syphilitic and for this article I shall be concentrating on the remedies used when either the Sycotic or Syphilitic miasm presents itself during a consultation.

Taking the secretive Sycotic miasm first people exhibiting these symptoms would be those with a tendency to lie and deceive their families and friends and find ways of taking their substances, drinks or even food in such a manner that when they are found out, their friends and families are shocked to discover the depth of their secretive ways. People showing signs of the Sycotic miasm have a tendency to suffer from catarrhal conditions and not only do they feel worse when the weather is damp, their symptoms are also aggravated at this time. This personality type is always in a hurry no matter what they are doing even to the point that they rush their food. They can be extravagant and boastful and feel the need to be high achievers; they do not like to feel that they are being watched so looking over their shoulder un-nerves them.

Those with the Syphilitic miasm can also be quite secretive, but their despair can be so deep that they don’t care who knows about what they do, and even when they realize that what they are doing to their body is not beneficial they will still continue with their addiction. They have a tendency to be single-minded and can be filled with feelings of hatred and anger and could lead them to experience suicidal tendencies. They can appear to be suspicious or jealous or obsessively superstitious but have a fear of dirt and disease. A history of drug abuse and alcoholism is common and their symptoms are worse at night.

People requiring medical help with depression may be prescribed anti-depressants such as Amitriptyline or Citalopram. Some of the side-effects listed in The British National Formulary for Amitriptyline are dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, nausea, increased appetite and weight gain etc., and for Citalopram these include palpitations, impaired concentration, migraine, rhinitis, tinnitus, confusion etc.

As a professional homeopath I would not suggest to anyone that they stop taking any prescribed medication; this must only be done with the support of a medically qualified doctor. However, if the person attending a consultation expresses depressive or addictive tendencies, has not been prescribed medication by a GP and wishes to work in a holistic manner then we will work together using a programme of homeopathy and nutrition to support them on their path to recovery.

Let us look at some of the homeopathic remedies that are listed in the clinical section of Murphy’s Homeopathic Materia Medica and among the many remedies listed for dipsomania (abnormal craving for alcohol) is Nux Vomica. Nux Vomica is made from the Loganiaceae family of plants, also known as dog button or poison nut, has been used for people with a fiery temperament, irritable and impatient and with a disposition to be a workaholic, ambitious and competitive. They may also experience obsessive and compulsive behaviour and suffer from the effects of drugs and alcohol.

For those that drink in secret, the remedies Lachesis (made from the venom of the Bushmaster Snake) and Sulphur are listed. Lachesis is a remedy that is used for chronic depression and long lasting grief; the person can be jealous and violent and the effect of drinking can mean that their liver is sensitive and they are unable to bear anything tight around the waist. Sulphur personalities can be easily bored or like Nux Vomica they are ambitious workaholics with a craving for alcohol. I will use both Nux Vomica and Sulphur to help support the liver and act as a de-tox when drug abuse, medicinal or otherwise, or drinking to excess is the presenting condition. When someone needs help to overcome the habit of drinking I would be looking towards the remedy Quercus (made from acorn kernels).

A person who is drinking or taking drugs to excess is liable to be either eating excessively or have a diminished appetite and as a consequence they will be depleted in certain vitamins and minerals. This is why when dealing with anyone who presents with an addiction I use a combined approach of homeopathy and nutrition.

Mood swings, aggression and intolerance of others is often exhibited by an addict;  family members are liable to bear the brunt of such outbursts. These family members would benefit from the expertise of visiting a homeopath who will be able to select the most appropriate remedy for them as they try to understand the actions of the addict and deal with the grief of watching their loved one who may seem to be in the depths of self-destruction.

Alcoholism and drug addiction are serious health problems and a combined approach is necessary for the person to acknowledge their dependency and to work with professionals to support their recovery.


The Little Oxford Dictionary of Current English 6th Edition Clarendon Press
Murphy, Robin ND, Nature’s Materia Medica 3rd Edition
Murphy, Robin ND, Homeopathic Clinical Repertory, 3rd Edition
British National Formulary BNF 53 March 2007, BMJ Publishing Group and RPS Publishing
Macleod J, Ewards C, Bouchier I, Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine 15th Edition, Churchill Livingstone.


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About June Sayer

June Sayer DHom (Med) MARH MRHom DNTh DIridol Homeopath Nutritionist Reiki Master/Teacher became fascinated by homeopathy after seeking treatment for her children and herself some 23 years ago; this dramatic change in their overall health led her to train as a homoeopathic practitioner. She qualified from the Hahnemann College in 1992 and has been in practice since that date. She is one of the founding directors of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths and has a practice in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex where she enjoys training individuals in the art and practice of homoeopathy. She may be contacted on Tel: 01621 730664;   


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