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A Case of Chronic Psoriasis

by Dr Neil Slade(more info)

listed in skincare, originally published in issue 90 - July 2003

As a homeopath I am used to people assuming that I can use remedies almost like a magic wand to cure skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, even those of many years standing! In reality, it can be very different; skin conditions can be stubborn and very tricky indeed. However, sometimes, when you are spot on with your prescribing, the results can be almost magical. Such a case was that of Henry. He came to the clinic last year having tried many different treatments for his psoriasis, all of which had given very limited relief.

Henry worked in the City for a leading private bank. He was 47 at the time of the consultation. He was overweight and very jolly, a typical 'hail fellow, well met' sort of guy who enjoyed life. When I asked him what he wanted treatment for and he said his psoriasis I thought, "OK, could be tricky", but when I asked him where he had the psoriasis and he replied "everywhere" my heart sank. I was convinced this was going to be a very long haul Added to this was the fact that he'd had the psoriasis for eight years and there had been a lot of steroid cream use. A potential nightmare!

Launching into the consultation it became clear that Henry was a bit of a joker. He had a great sense of humour and any chance to get an innuendo or quip in was seized upon. Taking all of this into account, though there seemed to be an underlying sadness, I got the distinct impression that his bluff attitude was covering up something. I asked him directly about it and his answer was that all was very well with him. After discussing the psoriasis and not being able to find anything out of the ordinary, I asked him what was going on in his life when it first erupted. He told me that his skin had always been on the dry side, but it really started to flare up as psoriasis when he was going through a very acrimonious divorce. It began on the backs of his elbows and then spread over the rest of his body – only his face and genitals were spared. When I probed further about the divorce I learnt his wife had instigated proceedings – Henry had thought that everything was fine. This led to more questions about the trigger. What did he think of his wife? A complete bitch! Did he challenge her or confront her over the proceedings? No, he let her have it all and kept quiet for the sake of the children. Was he still angry with her or still hate her? Yes, and when he thinks of all the things he didn't say and wants to say he gets angry and depressed.

I had found an angle into the case, a theme of resentment or anger against a loved one, disappointed love and suppressed anger. Remedies were coming to me but I needed more information before I could prescribe. I learnt that Henry was disappointed with the medical management of his psoriasis. He appreciated it was a difficult condition, but felt nobody took it seriously. After all, it wasn't life threatening, but it was all over his body and made him very self-conscious – "what woman in her right mind is going to want a fat guy with a skin disease". However, the event he was most indignant and angry about was what happened when he went for UV light treatment. He was told to stand naked in the unit but to cover his genitals – when he asked what with he was advised to use a bit of his clothing, "… so I stood there feeling like the biggest prat in creation, stark naked with a sock over my willy!". Henry related this tale light heartedly and we laughed about it, but when I asked him how he really felt he said he was angry. It was yet another instance where he was made to feel a fool and he resented it.

Henry described other events where the theme of becoming angry but remaining quiet to keep the peace was a common thread. He admitted that his temper was getting shorter, he would snap at people and then bite back before he went too far. Based on the themes of suppressed anger/emotion, feeling betrayed by the woman he loved and his indignant feelings to various episodes in his life, I prescribed Staphisagria. I did so with some trepidation – this remedy has a reputation for lifting the lid on the bubbling pot of suppressed emotions. In fact, it is often referred to as the 'divorce remedy', as this can often be the result when given to a partner who has had enough of being put upon and taken for granted. I gave him the 30c potency and arranged to see him a month later. Leaving the office Henry apologized for the "snowfall of skin" he had left on the floor… his psoriasis really was bad.

When he came in for the follow-up consultation, neither of us could believe the result. His skin was virtually clear. The patches on his elbows, the first areas to be affected, were still there and not much changed, but the rest of his skin was normal. The flaking, itching, redness and thickened skin had all reversed and the hair was beginning to grow back on his arms and legs. I asked him about his feelings towards the divorce and his ex-wife. He told me that he had done a great deal of thinking about all of that during the month and had decided that it was time to move on and let go. He felt much less angry. I repeated the remedy and saw him a month later. The psoriasis had completely cleared about two weeks after the second dose of the remedy and has not come back. The power of homeopathy never ceases to amaze me.


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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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