आरोग्यं परमं भाग्यं स्वास्थ्यं सर्वार्थसाधनम्॥
The definition of ‘Health’ given by WHO itself is self-explanatory to say, “The concept of Health without achieving mental health, is incomplete.” Nowadays the issue of mental health and psychiatric illness is in focus due to “#More Than Just Sad” like complaints by celebrities. National Mental Health Survey of India, 2015-16, Based on uniform and standardized data collection procedures from a nationally representative population, it is estimated that, excluding tobacco use disorders, mental morbidity of individuals above the age of 18 years currently was 10.6%. This state is enough to underline the gravity of mental morbidities. Instead, people are afraid to open up on their mental morbidities, due to the attached STIGMA to mental illnesses. If we see due to taking the initiative to share their experiences while going through the mental ailments by peoples, now the awareness and acceptance of mental illness are increasing.
If we take a look at past considerations of mental illness and its treatment in modern science, it was considered as a stigma or curse and no guidelines were there to treat such patients in the 17th-18th century around, apart from just isolating them and just confiding to asylums. But if we review homeopathic literature, Dr Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, can be said as the pioneer in the field of Mental health. He has given at most important to the mental state and feelings of his patients in the treatment of their illness in his innovative and complete therapeutic science.
Dr Hahnemann, a Renaissance genius, has expressed his views on mental illness, in his Organon Of Medicine. He told that mental illness is nothing greater than the corporeal disease which can be treated as the same as we deal with corporeal ailments. He might be the first physician who advocated to treat mentally ill persons humanly and laid guidelines to treat them and respect their human rights. Dr. Hahnemann’s extraordinary understanding for the mental activities of his patients can be seen reflected in his aphorism no. 210-230, of his Organon of Medicine.
As Peter Morrell shows in his essay, Hahnemann – the Real Pioneer of Psychiatry,
As Dudgeon tells us, Hahnemann “settled for a time in 1792,” [Dudgeon, xxiii] in Georgenthal, and it was while residing there that he “accepted an offer of the reigning Duke of Saxe-Gotha to take charge of an asylum for the insane,” [ibid.]. In a letter of May 1792, Hahnemann states that the Duke would soon be “handing over to me his hunting castle in Georgenthal,” [Haehl, 2, 32], and it was here that Hahnemann was able to “pursue his painfully interesting investigations,” [Dudgeon, xxiii], eventually establishing a dramatic cure of a patient, Herr Klockenbring. The account of this cure was published in 1796 [see Lesser Writings, 243-49] and this proves Hahnemann was “one of the earliest, if not the very first,” [ibid.] to advocate a “treatment of the insane by mildness rather than coercion,” [ibid.]. In fact, it was on 2 September in the year 1793, that “Pinel made his first experiment of unchaining maniacs in the Bicêtre,” [ibid.], which was some fifteen months after Hahnemann had commenced treating Klockenbring.
This incident undoubtedly underlines that Hahnemann had some pioneering ideas about the nature of mental disease and how sufferers to be treated. Everyone seems to be agreed that he exhibited a “fine understanding…for the unfortunate victims of mental derangement,” [Haehl, 1, 272] and he acquired a reputation for the same, attracting many patients with mental problems. This was in the 1790s before homeopathy was yet established and during which time, he was not a regular medical practitioner. His cure of Klockenbring “caused a sensation,” [Haehl, 1, 41] at the time and certainly reveals him as the originator of “entirely new methods in the treatment of mental patients, independently of his famous contemporaries Pinel and Reil,” [Haehl, 1, 272]. “‘We lock up these unhappy beings like criminals in cells,’ exclaims Reil in 1803,” [Haehl, 2, 31]
To understand masters’ views on mental illness and treatment lets take a look at his guidelines given in Organon of Medicine’s aphorism no. 210 to 230. He carefully specifies mental illnesses and refrained himself by the allopathic trap of classification by saying – “what are termed mental diseases…do not, however, constitute a class of disease,” [Aph. 210], and employing various phrases, he refers to them as an “altered state of the disposition and mind,” [Aph. 212], “the so-called mental and emotional diseases,” [Aph. 215], “the state of the mind and disposition,” [Aph. 213], “the symptom of the mental disturbance,” [Aph. 216]
His hold on understanding emotion and emotional ailments in depth could be perceived through the use of words by him e.g. patients who are “obstinate, violent, hasty…intolerant and capricious, or impatient…lascivious and shameless,” [Aph. 210]; cases of “insanity…melancholia…mania,” [Aph. 216]; disease states resulting from “faults of education, bad practices, corrupt morals, neglect of the mind, superstition or ignorance,” [Aph. 224]; “the melancholic…the spiteful maniac…the chattering fool,” [Aph. 224].
Dr Hahnemann condemned the inhuman treatment of insane of his time. He states, “often witnesses the occurrence of ingratitude, cruelty, refined malice and propensities most disgraceful and degrading to humanity, which were precisely the qualities possessed by the patient before he grew ill,” [Aph. 210] and which are very clearly incurable and injurious that only aggravate the condition of the patient. He insists that the physician should adopt an “appropriate psychical behavior towards the patient,” [Aph. 228], employ “an auxiliary mental regimen,”, “without reproaching the patient for his acts” [Aph. 228]. This should not include “corporeal punishments and tortures” [Aph. 228] or “the employment of coercion,” [Aph. 228]. He is astonished and appalled at “the hard-heartedness and indiscretion of the medical men,” [Aph. 228] for “torturing these most pitiable of all human beings with the most violent blows and other painful torments,” [Aph. 228], which he condemns as a “revolting procedure,” [Aph. 228].
Dr Hahnemann always said that Homeopathic medicines are the best way to deal with such mental ailments, “a homoeopathic medicinal pathogenetic force – that is to say, a remedy which in its list of symptoms displays, with the greatest possible similarity, not only the corporeal morbid symptoms present in the case of disease before us but also especially this mental and emotional state,” [Aph. 217], for “a disease of the mind and disposition,” [Aph. 218], or “disorder of the mind,” [Aph. 220], Hahnemann then identifies remedies like “Aconite, Belladonna, Stramonium, Hyoscyamus, Mercury,” [Aph. 221], as being especially useful for such patients, but though “a lucid interval and a transient alleviation of the psychical disease” [Aph. 219] may be obtained, that they can only be “cured by antipsorics,” [Aph. 223], that “mental and emotional diseases…can only be cured by homoeopathic antipsoric medicine,” [Aph. 228], that one must select “the antipsoric remedies selected for each particular case of mental or emotional disease,” [Aph. 230], and administer “a radical, antipsoric treatment,” [Aph. 227] as being “the only efficacious mode of curing such disease,” [Aph. 228].
From the above literature review, we can say undoubtedly Dr Hahnemann was the pioneer of psychiatry even before the modern world recognizes, mental illness as a separate entity.
About the author:
Dr Sarika Dilip Ingale
Assis. Prof Of Homeopathic Psychiatry.
PG Homeopathic Psychiatry Dept.
DKMM HMC Aurangabad.
Morell Peter – Hahnemann – the Real Pioneer of Psychiatry
Dudgeon, Robert E, Lectures on the Theory & Practice of Homeopathy, London, 1853
Haehl, Richard, Samuel Hahnemann His Life and Works, 2 volumes, 1922
Morrell, Peter, The Secretive Hahnemann and the Esoteric Roots of Homeopathy, JAIH, Winter 2001, and Similia, Australia, Winter 2001
Homeopathy and psychiatry https://bmerizaldemd.com/homeopathic-medicine-and-psychiatry/