Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’
This is a guest blog by Faith Franz, who researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer. I am presenting it here in the hope of offering information and options to people who are looking to be healthier and happier.
Benefits of Homeopathy for Cancer Patients as an Alternative Medicine
Cancer patients turn to treatment to reduce their symptoms, boost their mental health, improve their quality of life and – if possible – reverse tumor growth. Homeopathic approaches and allopathic approaches both yield some or all of these benefits, but the way that they achieve them is drastically different.
Homeopathy provides benefits in a much gentler manner with fewer risk factors than traditional medicine. Traditional cancer medicine uses the most potent dose of therapy available in gross molecular quantities, while homeopathic medicine aims to use what is called “the minimal dose,” as few active ingredients as possible. Often the dose is below Avogadro’s number (the mole) and the medicine given is delivered energetically.
Homeopathy also encourages patients to use only one remedy at a time, switching treatments only if the first is not the right fit. As a result, patients typically experience do not experience what are commonly referred to as “side effects” from homeopathic treatment as they do from a traditional treatment regimen, which adds one drug to the next to the next, often to deal with the problems caused by the first drug.
Traditional medicine tries to eradicate tumors and their associated symptoms as quickly as possible. Homeopathic medicine takes the time to heal the underlying cause. Homeopaths understand that sometimes patients will experience a brief increase in symptoms before the disease is cured; this is the body’s natural way of releasing the disease.
Patients also benefit from the highly personalized nature of homeopathic medicine.
Each remedy in the repertory (the master guide to homeopathic solutions) is matched to a specific set of conditions. In traditional medicine, doctors prescribe one or two medicines to treat the same general symptom. Homeopaths choose from dozens of remedies for each symptom after evaluating the other characteristics of the patient’s case.
For example, an allopathic doctor would prescribe a patient Metoclopramide or Prochlorperazine if they become nauseated after chemotherapy. A homeopath might prescribe the patient one of the following remedies, based on the patient’s other symptoms and overall constitution:
- Cadmium Sulphate
- Kali Phoshorpicum
- Nux Vomica
- Uncaria tometosa
Because the solutions are chosen specifically to be closely tailored to the patient’s overall condition, patients will obtain highly individualized benefits from homeopathic remedies.
What Cancer-Related Conditions can Homeopathy Treat?
Even when a cancerous condition is very advanced, homeopathy can yield benefits for a number of physical cancer-related conditions. These include:
Homeopathic remedies can also relieve symptoms that are unique to a certain cancer. For example, patients with asbestos-related cancers of the respiratory tract can take antimonium tartaricum or related remedies to curb dyspnea and coughing that includes a great rattling in the chest.
Although classical homeopathy does not seek to suppress, rather to cure, in some cases, alleviation (or palliation) of symptoms is the moral mandate, for even when we are beyond cure, we seek to ease suffering.
Thus, homeopathy can also be used to help patients manage emotional complications that stem from their cancer diagnosis. Homeopathic remedies can help diffuse stress, fear and mild depression without the use of anti-anxiety medications. This mental health aspect of cancer treatment is just as important as the physical care, and often, the two overlap. When stress and other emotional symptoms are under control, patients are much less likely to experience insomnia and other anxiety-related conditions.
Some patients take homeopathic remedies with the intent of reversing tumor growth. These treatments require a homeopath’s prescription. Data varies regarding the efficiency of these remedies. Because they rarely cause any harm in the process, many patients choose to see if their body positively responds to the solution.
Judith’s note: As always, when presented with a medical condition, please consult your physician and/or a classically trained homeopath with experience in the treatment of your complaints. Please do not use homeopathic remedies over the counter without engaging in your own study or benefiting from the advise of someone with training.
In the February 22/29th edition of Jama (*1), the editors described a report issued by the CDC in a splendidly titled tome, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Throughout the dryly presented data were intertwined subtle sirens of alarm: The rate of unintentional drug overdose deaths in the United States has risen over 600% in the years between 1997 and 2007.
We are not talking about heroin or methamphetamine or crack. We’re talking about prescribed analgesics. Prescribed. According to the CDC, “drug distribution through the pharmaceutical supply chain was the equivalent of 96 mg. of morphine per person in 1997 and approximately 700 mg. per person in 2007,” a dose high enough for everyone in this country to take a standard 5 mg dose every 4 hours for 3 weeks.(*2)
The report continues its assessment and finally makes this stunning observation: “Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the United States…and has been driven by a class of prescription drugs called opioid analgesics.”
It goes on: “For every unintentional overdose death…nine persons are admitted for substance abuse treatment, 35 visit emergency departments, 161 report drug abuse or dependence and 461 report non-medical uses of opioid analgesics.”
Why? How could this be? Are these drugs being stolen? Manufactured by thugs in a trailer in the desert? Sold by wayward pharmacists? Smuggled from Canada? Hardly that dramatic. In fact, we are being addicted by the people we trust the most: “In an attempt to treat patient pain better, practitioners have greatly increased their rate of opioid prescribing over the past decade.”
Did someone say there was a war on drugs?
Allow me to share a more personal and human rendition of these statistics. One was a patient (name and details changed) whose situation was far too common, and one was a personal experience I had after a back injury.
The patient came to me with minor anxieties and some depression in large part due to unresolved grief. She was in her mid-thirties, a nurse, without major medical complications. Almost all her complaints centered on her fear of abandonment in relationships. Early on in treatment, she slipped at work (trying to move a large man from bed to a wheel chair) and injured her shoulder. After MRI’s and doctor visits that lasted months, they finally determined that she had some injured tendons. They put her on Vicodin. They refused her any other form of treatment.
That was 15 years ago. Needless to say her doses increased dramatically over the years as did her anxiety, her depression, and finally she was able to witness the abandonment she so feared. Her marriage fell apart. She was so addicted to the Vicodin that the withdrawal was more frightening than the dissolution of her family.
I have seen this scenario in different forms at least a hundred times. I have made phone calls begging physicians to please reconsider their choice of medication and allow for other medical solutions: acupuncture, physical therapy, massage, homeopathy, mindfulness meditation, hypnosis. With the exception of a few truly open-minded practitioners, the answer was a uniform “no.”
Why would anyone object to an alternative treatment if it brought relief at lower cost and without the risk of addiction and all the associated medical risks?
I found this out for myself personally not more than a few years ago. I fell (hard) and twisted my back. When it happened, I was more embarrassed than in pain and told myself (and everyone else watching), “Oh, I’ll be fine. It’s fine.” Within the time it took for my adrenal glands to stop pumping, the pain became intolerable. I could not walk. My husband took me to urgent care and they told me it was a muscle sprain because there was nothing on the x-ray. They urged me (I mean this literally) to take pain killers.
I said, “No, thank you.”
The doctor on staff looked at me cross-eyed and said, “What do you mean, ‘no, thank you?’”
I said, “I mean no. I don’t want them. How about some aspirin or ibuprofen or something like that?”
He reluctantly gave in and wrote the prescription but not without saying, “You’re going to be sorry.”
The pain was not going away as quickly as I’d hoped but I had seen what opioid analgesics could do and was determined to do whatever I had to do to avoid it. After putting up a fight with the insurance company that lasted two months, I finally went for an MRI where they found the bulging disc that was impinging on my sciatic nerve.
I found a physical therapist who was a hands-on genius and she relieved the pain with a combination of deep tissue massage and abdominal strengthening. We also used guided meditation. She used to tell me to “imagine the butter melting” as she focused on releasing the Iliopsoas, particularly Psoas Major which is the muscle that connects the hip to the spine. It was miraculous and immediate joy.
It was getting better. I was still in pain and not as limber as I used to be, but it was moving in a good direction. And I was willing to work hard to get better. That is, until the insurance company insisted on a new doctor. He looked over my chart and said, “You’re going to need Vicodin.”
I said, “No.”
Once again, that same look: “What do you mean, ‘no?’”
I said, “I don’t want dope. The massage and exercise works. Why can’t we continue that and forget the drugs?”
“Because you’re at maximum improvement. You can get the drugs but not the therapy.”
It was my turn to look at him cross-eyed and I said, much to the amusement of the nurse in the room with us,
“Are you crazy? Who are you working for?”
“According to the insurance company, this is medical standard now.”
I wanted to ask him when the insurance companies and bureaucrats became the arbiters of medical ethics and practice. It became clear to me that because of the structure of medical care today, people who would have otherwise had options and been good doctors, were being led in another direction, a new “standard” set by insurance companies and pharmaceutical interests.
Instead, I just said, “What about your oath?”
I looked at him and said, “Yes, you are,” and that was that. I walked out. No therapy and no Vicodin. And I had to pay for my own massages and take responsibility for my own recovery. And perhaps this is simultaneously the crux of the problem <em>and </em>the solution. Taking charge of my own healing instead of laying it on the doctor’s shoulders and demanding an immediate pain solution was not easy. In fact, it is an ongoing decision because I still have days with spine-shivering pain. But it has been infinitely better than what I’ve seen with my patients, people who had been struggling with aches and pains or broken hearts turned into addicts with broken homes, empty pockets, and symptoms so wildly erratic they were sometimes mistakenly diagnosed as bipolar instead of addicted. So rather than getting them off the opioids, they were given ever-increasing doses of medication that eventually made reaching–or treating–them impossible.
So, this war on drugs we’re waging? Maybe we should start in the doctor’s office. And it seems to be up to us in more ways than one. I don’t see the pharmaceutical companies leading the battle. Do you?
*1. CDC Grand Rounds: Prescription Drug Overdoses–a U.S. Epidemic, MMWR, 2012;61:10-13, cited in The Journal of the American Medical Association, February 22/29/20120, Vol. 307, No. 8, page 774
I know a young woman who has had symptoms of anxiety for many years and the allopathic doctors she has seen diagnosed her as depressed. But as her latest incident demonstrates, these broad terms–anxiety, depression–do us very little good if we are to truly help someone heal. What they do–and the reason why doctors continue to use them as sweepingly as they do–is they are convenient forms of shorthand that directly point to pharmaceutical interventions. They do not, however, tell us anything about the nature of the anxiety, the way it manifests, what about the person and their health (or lack thereof) to which it is both pointing and from which it is springing. If those terms are all we use, we can get ourselves into serious trouble.
She was seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist who both agreed her anxiety was a symptom of her depression. So, even though she’s an adolescent, she was put on Lexapro. Within 28 days her symptoms of anxiety spiraled into massive agitation, self-mutilation, delusions, and auditory hallucinations. She was placed in an allopathic hospital.
What did they do?
They doubled her dosage. So now she was clawing at herself with her own fingernails and threatening to kill herself.
What was the next step?
Leave her on the Lexapro and give her thorazine as a chaser.
Her symptoms have not only not abated, they have worsened and become life-threatening.
This is not the first time I have heard or seen a patient unravel this way because of allopathic dosing. It is frightening in and of itself, but it is much worse when the parent is pleading with the doctors to take her child off the medication that has clearly exacerbated the situation and they will not listen. To make matters even more desperate, if the mother were to take the child out of the hospital and bring her to a healer of her own choice, in their state she could be incarcerated.
Thankfully for this Albuquerque psychotherapist, New Mexico has passed the Healthcare Freedom of Choice Act, which allows individuals to choose their own medical care, whether they follow the advice of their tribal shaman or choose to use the chemotherapies of western medicine.
Happily, the young lady’s story doesn’t end there. The mother, armed with the literature that demonstrates how ill-advised it is to use an SSRI on an adolescent female, has finally gotten one reasonable physician to agree with her and, while titrating her off the Lexapro, substituting it with Resperdal, an anti-psychotic.
When she is stabilized from this episode, they will be seeking out homeopathic treatment in their area, where finally she will be heard.
And what they might find out is that what they were calling “depression” may not have been a standard depression at all, but either a borderline personality disorder or a prodromal psychotic state with agitation and some delusions (or perhaps both). In such cases it is highly INadvisable to give SSRI’s, which tend to do exactly what they did to this young woman.
When your doctors don’t listen to you, be sure you listen to yourself.
Carl Jung once said, “There’s no coming to consciousness without pain.” It’s a statement that has all the earmarks of a profound truth, especially in the way it’s denied.
So many people want to feel better than they do. They go to doctors who will give them pills to end their pain, psychotherapists who will only tell them what they want to hear, and bars where they can pretend to be anyone but themselves.
We want to feel better and we have a right to. So often, unfortunately, our unwillingness to experience ANY discomfort keeps us from getting the real relief we need.
One woman who came to me because of horrifying flashbacks and night terrors she’d endured since she’d been raped as a teenager, had suffered long and hard. The pain was in her face. One of the first things she said when she came in was, “I just want it to go away.” Shortly thereafter she asked, “Do you think it’ll take more than a few sessions?”
The goal is relief, but sometimes the road there demands that we feel the things we have spent so much time and energy denying.
Asthma is a perfect example of how we work and how the confrontation is ultimately inevitable if we want to heal. There was one study done in which patients journaled about their worst experiences. They did this every day for 20 minutes for a period of weeks. The result–a statistically significant reduction in their use of inhalers. Asthma is just one of many syndromes that are driven by emotion, particularly suppressed emotions such as anger, anxiety, and grief. In order for it to be healed or even mitigated, those emotions must be released appropriately even if they are uncomfortable or unpleasant.
A long time ago a colleague told me, “The more you resist, the more it persists.” She was right.