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Balancing a child's behavior

We have all read about children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or a learning disorder or behavioral problems who have been helped by homeopathy. But when you see, firsthand, someone's life and potential improve drastically, it really warms your heart and helps you remember to be grateful for the little remedy doses that keep a child off toxic drugs—and even out of mental institutions.

     Though it is a very difficult journey for parents who want to find help for their "problem child," it is imperative that they educate themselves on the pros and cons of conventional as well as complementary treatment. Though many receive the ADHD diagnosis, every child is different and deserves treatment which is individualized. This is rarely the case in conventional medicine where stimulant medications are prescribed routinely. There are millions of children taking the same powerful but temporary-acting drug every four hours. Those who are not put on stimulants like Ritalin are put on anti-depressants like Prozac. Side effects are not uncommon, and some children start medication at a young age (two years old) and continue for many years. The toll that this takes on their nervous systems will most likely have to be reckoned with down the line. When a child learns that his authority figures think that a drug is the answer to his problems, he may be set up to continue in this line of thinking for all of life's ups and downs. 

     Those who are told that their family member's behavior and moods are caused by a biochemical imbalance are answered best by this quote from Ritalin Free Kids by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman: "Homeopathy believes that any biochemical imbalance is a result of an overall imbalance in a person rather than the cause of ADD. It is through bringing the whole person into balance that not only can the symptoms of ADD be improved, but most of the individual's other complaints as well. The goal of homeopathy is to bring deep and long-lasting balance into the person's life and health rather than just to regulate serotonin, dopamine, or some other neurotransmitter or chemical. When the person becomes balanced, the body's chemistry will automatically normalize as part of the overall healing process." Balance in one's mental and emotional life is a dynamic and changing process sometimes helped by thoughtful energy balancing and tactful support systems.

     Twelve-year-old Celeste's story tells of the heartache and helplessness a family feels when one they love is miserable and is making them feel miserable. I visited this family's home on a particularly hard day for Celeste. When I went to her room to start our interview, she would not speak to me and hid, hoping that I could not see her. I was glad to have seen this side of her as she had seemed bright, happy and bubbly once before in a group of her sisters and friends. After a full hour of sitting in the living room speaking with her mother, Celeste emerged and spoke with me.

     As the second youngest of five siblings, she was jealous at four years of age when her younger sister was born, and she began to act moody and sensitive. She was always the one who made the most fuss if she didn't get her way. Anger would arise easily. Shockingly explicit curse words would come out of her mouth, her face would turn red with rage, and her eyes would glare out hatefully. She could be cruel to animals, and her siblings were used to watching out for her hits and kicks. Always wanting to be first or best at something was her norm, as was making sure that her appearance was perfect.

     Her mother, a soft spoken single parent, was quite sure that sweets aggravated her behavior, and even naturally sweetened treats could ruin a previously good mood. Sweets were her main food desire. Her angry moods were also aggravated in loud or chaotic situations. Celeste had begun to have stiff, painful arthritic joints a few years ago, and one of her fingers was already contracted into a bent position. Stomach pains were common, and constipation had been a chronic bother for five years. 

     Though she lashed out verbally and physically at those around her, she was tormented with feelings that everyone was against her and that she was no good. She was continually saying that she hated herself. She was always getting her feelings hurt and could not be contradicted or corrected without a flare-up of anger. Though intellectually bright, Celeste was home schooling now because relationships at school always became too volatile. Over and over again she would emotionally draw her whole family into her intense drama; she was an expert at pushing others' buttons. She had recently talked of suicide and this led her mother to contact me for a homeopathic consult.

     The symptoms that I used to repertorize this case were: 

  •      Mind; Anger, from contradiction
  •      Mind; Contemptuous
  •      Mind; Confidence, want of self
  •      Mind; Contradiction, is intolerant of
  •      Mind; Cruelty
  •      Mind; Cursing
  •      Mind; Delusions that he is despised
  •      Mind; Fastidious
  •      Mind; Looked at, cannot bear to be
  •      Mind; Offended easily
  •      Mind; Reproaches; himself
  •      Mind; Sensitive; external impressions, to all 
  •      Mind; Anger, violent
  •      Stomach; Desires; sweets
  •      Extremities Pain; Joints, gouty
  •      Face; Discoloration; red; maniacal rage, during 
  •      Generalities; Food; sweets aggravate

     After repertorizing using Kent's Repertory, I researched several books of materia medica—the Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica by Clarke, Desktop Guide by Morrison, Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica by Kent, and Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines by Coulter. Ritalin Free Kids was very helpful and is a must-read for parents researching and making decisions for any child with ADD and other behavioral and learning problems.

     I chose Nux vomica over the other front-running remedies that came up for these symptoms (which were Lycopodium, Arsenicum, Anacardium and Aurum). I had to look very closely at each of these remedies, especially Anacardium, because it is a small (less extensively proven) remedy. Small remedies that come up high in any repertorization are given a higher value. Anacardium had a few of Celeste's defining symptoms, like cruelty, inferiority and cursing, but I felt that Nux vomica more fully fit Celeste's whole picture. 

     Celeste began to take Nux vomica 12C twice each day, and after a short time when her symptoms were intensified, she rapidly and dramatically improved. Her moods lightened and were no longer the family's daily struggle. Her complaints of stomach and joint pain are very infrequent now. Her whole family has gotten a break from her intensely sensitive personality. After two months on doses of Nux vomica 12C twice a day, she reduced to once a day, then every other day, and is now (6 months from start of treatment) taking doses "as needed." This weaning process is making her feel even better—knowing that she can maintain her balance with very little medicine.

     Several of my clients have asked me whether the sedative/insomnia/stress combination tablets that many homeopathic distributors market can help their ADHD child. I usually reply that this kind of chronic, deep-seated personality trait would be much more likely to respond to one individualized (constitutional) remedy, and that sometimes higher potencies are needed.

     Celeste's problems are probably not over, but diligent follow ups over the next few months and years, and modifications in remedy potency and frequency are planned—as well as watching to see when a new layer is presenting itself for a change in remedy. It is a pleasure to see a life in balance when it had hit a very low point. Adults can benefit from seeking homeopathic treatment for their ADD or learning or personality disorders as well. Lifting the limitations on one's freedom is the goal of homeopathy.

About the author:

Lia Bello, an RN, Family Nurse Practitioner, and founder of the Homeopathic Nurses Association, resides and practices in Questa, New Mexico. She conducts courses for health professionals and lay people around the country and can be reached at (505) 586-1166 or e-mail: