Welcome User!
Case Study

Childhood Hysteria
Dr S Praveen Kumar
'Ign / Staph / Nat-m / Mosch

Editor's Note:
This article has been included in this issue as it gives a general idea of development of this condition. Depression and Hysteria are 2 sides of a coin, so with the same operational factors, one person could develop hysteria, and the other depression.

' A child is the father of the man, this adage caution us that childhood experiences can make or break the constitution. Parents play the maximum role here. 
During childhood, the mind is like a blotting paper taking every impression without prejudice. Hence there are several factors which influence one's mental break up and their behaviour some of which can't be controlled should be borne in mind and properly tackled. Unfavourable factors: Demanding, overprotective, negligent and over - indulgent parents.
Physical factors: Over - immunization, over - drugging, pesticides, fertilizers and different chemicals.

Incidence of Hysteria and neurosis is equally high in children as in adults, though the pattern and manifestations may be different. A classical anxiety reaction with all its manifestations like anxiety attacks; phobic reaction, obsessive-compulsive reaction, Hysteria and Neurotic depression are seen in children.
History of Medicine: We find evidence that this particular phenomenon occurs more among women: hence the name 'Hysteria' one with the hysterus or uterus. Emotional crisis, shocks, unrequited emotions are the root of the phenomenon and women, as we know, are more emotional.

Heredity and constitutional factors play an important role in the predisposition to hysteria. But for the manifestations, environmental factors play a key role. Symptoms are a result of a conflict between the superego (conscience) and some wish not palatable to super ego, which the latter suppresses. The repression is only partially successful. The wish, although repressed into unconscious, succeeds in obtaining a disquiet expression by conversion into a symptom very often symbolic in nature. This form of psychopathology is very often superficial and in the environmental, rather than being intra - psychic.
IMITATION, which plays a significant part in the life of every child, is a leading factor in hysteria. We, as homoeopaths, are aware that all true diseases are miasmatic in nature. All the miasmatic tendencies remain dormant like a keg of dynamite, hence sans overt manifestations. All miasmatic tendencies can be manifested only when the causa - occasionalis is in operation. At base for this hysterical phenomenon there is a sense of insecurity borne out of fear and anxiety. All kinds of fear and anxieties are psoric in nature.

The causa - occasionalis is the environmental factors which include the home, the immediate relatives and close friends, the school and social environment. Whenever there is difficulty in coping with the situations in any of these places, the response of flight or fight comes into operation. More often it is the flight response which gives rise to this phenomenon. However, regrets over the fight response could also bring out the same changes. Childhood hysteria could also be classified as conversion and dissociative reaction. The condition may be monosymptomatic and related to any system. The commonly found symptoms are fits, headaches, giddiness, anorexia, vomiting, pain in the abdomen, globus hystericus or dysphagia, frequency of micturation, somnambulism and disturbance of vision. The choice of symptoms is influenced by previous experience of illness, imitation or identification with a person with similar illness, and the inner conflict, which is symbolically expressed in organ languages. The treatment of hysteria and all other neuroses is on child guidance and psychotherapeutic lines.

It clearly means that neither miasmatic tendencies alone nor the environmental factors alone can in any way cause any disorder in general and Hysteria in particular. So it is the sumtotal of the reaction of the miasmatic tendencies to the environment make or mar the health of the person, be it hysteria or any disorder.
Hahnemann terms (vide aph no: 210-2330) these hysterical diseases as 'Pseudo-Psychiatric disorder.'

So, the aim of the treatment is to prescribe for the acute manifestations and eradicate further manifestations by a deep acting miasmatic remedy. Even hypnotic session, change of environment, or a pilgrimage to a famous shrine may bring about miraculous cure in some individual cases.
All of us aware of the great characteristic symptom, 'Colic' of Colocynth brought about by a trivial factor like 'quarrel'. Colocynth is not widely known as a hysterical remedy yet in this instance relieves colic where it is purely functional i.e. psoric according to Roberts.
Kent gives a perfect example of green diarrhoea in a child who is emotionally deprived of the mother's warmth under Mag carb, and terms them as clandestine babies. The emotional crisis of the mother is manifested through the child. Drawing the analogy of simili, Magnesia group of remedies can be prescribed for children who are deprived of mother's milk.


Case 1:
Master S, aged 12 years who was completely relieved of Post infective demyelinating Myelitis in Dec 1994 by Rhus-tox developed similar set symptoms viz back ache, tingling and numbness of limbs, vertigo, neck pain, tenderness along the certebral column, inability to stand or walk. After being investigated thoroughly and being examined by 3 different Neurologists it was diagnosed to be Hysteria and later confirmed by the clinical Psychologist. Here the cause was that the boy was detained in the same class due to continuous absence and was reluctant to sit with his juniors. He improved with Ignatia as he was not able to mimic exactly and at certain levels felt he was being exposed. 

Case 2:
Kum C, aged 16 years, came on 30.7.95 with severe spasmodic pain in abdomen. Extensive investigative procedures were negative and the Clinical Psyshologist diagnosed it as Hysteria. In this case the routine prescription of Ignatia did not help and she became alright only after Staphysagria based on the indignation felt after being humiliated by her own close relatives. 

Case 3: Master A, aged 12 yrs, complained of falling down with reeling, headache on exposure to sun, especially in the school. Feel unconscious twice. As many of his family members were allopathic doctors they had already thoroughly investigated him and he was diagnosed as 'Ego Defence Escapism Hysteria. Ign 10M on 24.7.95 followed by Nat-mur 10M 7.8.95 made him completely all right. Tension in scholastic area made him use the symptoms to overcome for the time being. 

Case 4:
Baby H, aged 8 yrs, developed severe pain in abdomen with cramps, severe pain in chest and hiccups. Moschus 10M relieved instantly and no episodes thereafter since 200.6.1995. She feigned these symptoms in order to overcome the tension and competition in the class as parents demanded first rank always.
By and large all these tests and clinical evaluations are needed to establish the fact that there are no organic or irreversible biochemical lesions. But in adults the best principle is to allow Hahnemann's diagnostic tests of true 'Insanity' as to whether, it is depending on bodily disease or to viz.
a) If the mental affection proceedsfrom one or more factors belonging to psychological conditions, they will be improved by sensible, friendly exhortations, consolatory arguments, serious representations and sensible advice.
b) If the mental affection depends on a bodily disease it will be aggravated by the same measures. 

So, much depends upon the skill of the physician in recognizing the problem and administering appropriate remedial measures, be it counseling or a therapeutic agent.

1. A comprehensive textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry - Ms Bhatia/ NK Dhar
2. Psychiatric Problems of children - J C Marfatia
3. Neuropathology and Psychiatry - G Monozor and V Romasenko
4. API Text book of medicine
5. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy
6. System of Clinical Medicine - Savill
7. Organon of Medicine - Hahnemann
8. Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica - JT kent
9. The principles and Art of cure of Homoeopathy - HA Roberts