Stress is the physical or emotional response of the body to an internal or external stimulus that upsets the equilibrium of the body. The stress hormones which are secreted in animals only during starvation, childbirth or torture are secreted in human beings all the time.
Medically, the mental or emotional aspects of stress are exceedingly important. Unhappiness, shock, illness, fear and much else can cause stress, which in turn can make people vulnerable to so many different illnesses both mental and physical. Stress and anxiety go hand in hand; every illness has a degree of anxiety. Even a predominantly physical illness like a sore throat can cause some stress. Certain illnesses have a very large stress component; particularly illnesses like depression, anxiety states and panic attacks.
A person’s tolerance of stress varies enormously, some people thrive on it; high-powered businessmen, for instance, who constantly have to make important decisions. Others buckle under quite small stresses and this may lead to illness. For the past two centuries, Homeopaths have concentrated on the interconnection between psychology and physiology.
To start with, the homeopathic enquiry is a very profound one and very often during a consultation various factors come to light, which may be creating some degree of anxiety or stress in the patient’s life. A discussion as to how they may be overcome, removed or mitigated, can often be very helpful. Discussion itself can be extremely therapeutic. In many cases, the patient is anxious or worried because nobody has taken time to talk to them.
The homeopathic physician spends a lot of time with patients. It is however very important that the practitioner should have a sound knowledge of conventional medical diagnosis because during the discussion signs and symptoms of disease which need conventional (sometimes urgent) treatment may emerge and a qualified doctor with a knowledge of diagnosis knows when to refer a patient urgently to the appropriate specialist and is able to do so.
Having carefully assessed the patient, taking into account not only his illness and how he is reacting to it, but his whole make-up, the homeopathic physician then tries to work out the patient’s constitutional remedy. If he succeeds in selecting the right remedy, the patient’s wellbeing, resistance, resilience, general health and ability to cope are enhanced and many stress symptoms can be helped.
There are a number of polychrests (medicines of many uses) often prescribed constitutionally, which are particularly appropriate for different sorts of worry and stress. The following I have used to good effect on many occasions: Lycopodium for the patient who greatly underestimates their abilities and anticipates every ordeal however small with pessimism; Silica patients are terrified of failure and Calc carbs are just too weak and exhausted to attempt anything! These medicines are only effective, of course, if they “fit” the patient so far as his whole constitution and make up is concerned.
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