This article throws light upon the developmental etiology of Arsenicum Album and its use as a homoeopathic remedy in different clinical conditions. It talks about the journey of Arsenicum as a child and how the different events in the life of the child manifests in different stages of life i.e. teenage and adolescence. It reflects about the PSYCHO-PHYSIOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT, which means that how the psychic development as a child grows to manifest itself in different ways as an adult. The characteristic symptomatic manifestation therefore makes every Arsenic prescription very unique when the mere essense of the remedy is being understood.
As the clock strikes 12, and the night grows darker,
Restlessness grips the patient even in the face of prostration,
When the vital force is at its lowest ebb, finding temporary ease is merely a mirage,
With the characteristic irritability and corrosiveness of both mind and body,
There is rapid pathological progression making the patient think that cure is impossible.
This great metallic poison as we all know has rendered miraculous homeopathic cures since time immemorial.
Actual arsenic poisoning reveals the possible homeopathic proving aided by this drug. Being highly violent and restless in character, with nausea and the great depression of the spirit, thereby presenting a perfect picture of collapse, this remedy goes on to help with the deeper pathologies of the organs involved.
Just like the steel grey color of this metal in the crude state, brittle yet shining bright, Arsenicum patient reflects a similar character in their appearance and psychic state.
He displays a picture of a person having a grey mood, filled with hopelessness and irritability with a scaly, pale, dry, waxy and parchment like skin. Not only their mood is corrosive like an acid, but also is their body discharges and secretions. Apart from all these, at the same time, he manages to show a fastidious nature, well dressed, neat and tidy although not-so attractive like Phosphorus. He wears stylish clothes, keeping everything tip-top and orderly.
DIVING INTO THE ETIOLOGY OF DEVEOPMENT OF THE PSYCHE OF THIS REMEDY –
Mr. Arsenic could be a person whose childhood has been very difficult. Being into a dysfunctional family, where he witnesses parental arguments every alternate day and his father being highly authoritarian (strict and cold)
He feels as if he is neglected in the family, and therefore cannot express his grief or anger.
Living with his insecurities that is both emotional as well as financial and being a subject of occasional humiliation from his father, he turns into a personality that is more neurotic, with lots of trait anxiety.
His possible fears as a child –
- Life will turn out of control.
- Financial fear (led by the fear of parents getting separated)
- Occasional panic attacks.
- Fussy and disorganized life.
Psychic manifestations (as a teenager and an adolescent) – Fear, hopelessness, and a need to control
- He wants to have everything under control, he plans things systematically and carefully. This feeling of keeping things under control is also experienced in his state of health. He also has health anxiety for he thinks that he needs to be healthy in order to keep things in life well-planned.
- He knows how it feels when a person has an economic crisis, so he becomes a miser.
- His insecurities create a mirage of ease in his life, his life seems fussy and therefore fastidiousness becomes one of his major traits.
- His disorganized and fussy life has made him more orderly, ritualistic and fastidious. He loves to keep things neat and tidy.
- He is malicious, selfish and possessive about what he has gained in life. This makes him gather materialistic things in life without wanting to spend much.
- His childhood experience has turned him into a highly irritable person and this irritability makes him low spirited, despondent and weeping from the least trifles.
- Nevertheless, he needs people to be around him (etiology from childhood neglect) and is afraid to be alone.
- All these symptoms result in response to his defence mechanism acting to protect him from the rough roads of life. When this defence mechanism is lost, Mr. Arsenic can also show a desire for suicide. Just like his dry nature and dry skin, he thinks life is dry, boring and not juicy. He despairs salvation and wants to die by hanging himself.
Keeping the psychic risk factors in mind, Arsenic can be indicated in the following conditions –
- Anxiety neurosis, Generalized Anxiety disorder
- Panic attacks when aggravated in the midnight.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Psychosis, Suicidal mania
- Constitutions that resort to substance abuse like tobacco, alcoholism.
- Symptoms of burnout and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Physiological/Physical manifestations –
The vital organs of Mr. Arsenicum are at their lowest ebb during the time of crisis (the crisis can be either physical or mental). This is seen as reduced appetite, uneasiness, paleness, a deathly collapse state that makes him more and more restless, each and every minute.
A general feeling in his childhood that his house is on fire (a metaphor that represents – neglect, abuse, dysfunctional family) is manifested even in his physical complaints. He feels as if the specific part involved (i.e. the stomach, skin ulcer, genitals with syphilitic bubo, gastralgia, cancers, etc) is on fire which is unusually relieved by more heat on the part, and not cold.
This is very important to note that the burning body demands heat but when the head feels hot, it demands cold.
Arsenic therefore is very useful in disease that show rapid pathological progression no matter what disease it is (Diseases involving the eyes, stomach cancers, kidney ailments, skin conditions, asthma, other gastrointestinal complaints).
The peculiar characteristic symptoms that aid in the prescription of Arsenicum are –
- Burning ameliorated by warmth.
- Corrosive and excoriating discharges accompanied with offensiveness.
- Marked irritability of the organs involved.
- Midnight aggravation.
- Typical thirst symptoms (Drinks small sips of water, very frequently)
- His trait anxiety making him restless even when prostrated.
When all the above symptoms are kept in the mind, Arsenicum album can be beautifully prescribed in the following clinical conditions –
- Fluent coryza when the nose feels stopped even though there is discharge.
- Diarrhoea when stools are watery, brownish, copious, painless and cadaverous smelling.
(Also in cases of food poisoning)
- Asiatic cholera like symptoms when presented with profound exhaustion, vanishing pulse, characteristic thirst and restlessness.
- Acute and Chronic asthma with periodic manifestations and midnight aggravation (mostly when occurring from suppressed eruptions)
- Gastric ulcer or any ulcer with elevated edges with great burning (like the ones turning cancerous, syphilitic ulcers)
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Hemorrhoids when burning in the anal orifice > heat.
- Cases of all acute and chronic inflammation like Gastritis, Otitis media, Keratitis punctata, Ovaritis, metritis, nephritis, glomerulonephritis, Laryngitis or in cases of Orchitis occurring as a complication of Mumps.
- Acute palpitations of typical Arsenicum constitutions.
- Acute toothache ameliorated by the heat of the stove/warmth.
- Angina pectoris when no structural disorganizations of the heart or heart vessels are involved.
- Fevers (Intermittent fever, Remittent fever, Malarial cahchexia, typhoid fevers, septic fevers) where there is periodicity along with the other indications of Arsenicum. (i.e slow, protracted form of intermittent ailments)
When the general essence of prostration, restlessness, exhaustion, the modality of midnight aggravation and physical symptoms ameliorated by heat is taken into consideration, Arsenic can be thought of in both acute as well as chronic conditions. The White Oxide of Arsenic is also one of Nash`s trio of restlessnesss and from the above etiological development, it is well understood that from where the restlessness comes from, and also the fastidiousness and anxiousness.
About the Author:
Dr. Nicky Seth (BHMS, RKDF MEDICAL COLLEGE, BARKATULLAH UNIVERSITY, Madhya Pradesh,Bhopal. Also certified in Neuropsychology)PG Scholar from Allen college of Homoeopathy, UK