The Girl Who Would Not Let Anything Be Thrown Away
The purpose of this case presentation is to demonstrate the curability of both dermatitis and hoarding disorder with one integrated homeopathic medicinal treatment. This is a case of a young girl suffering from allergies, dermatitis and hoarding disorder. The case is fully reviewed long term, 14 years, and curatively followed for 6 of those 14 years. Classical Hahnemannian homeopathy was the only therapeutic treatment given. The simillimum (the most similar medicinal profile chosen to mirror the profile of the individual’s suffering) gave very quick results, resolving the most difficult aspects of the hoarding disorder within 4 months and resolving the allergic disposition within several years. Only one homeopathic medicine was needed to begin these changes.
Although the root causes of hoarding disorder are not well appreciated, homeopathic intervention can help the suffering individual integrate positive changes and help into their life. As Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy said, “sick people cannot take advice”. Homeopathic treatment can restore that healthful adaptability.
Initial Case Presentation:
18 November 2003
Patient: Caucasian female 22 months old
Primary complaint: rashes
This is the kind of case that a general practitioner sees often: mom comes in and mentions that her toddler has a rash. Fifteen years later I am still following this young woman.
Here are the original case notes:
For the past 2 or more weeks she gets a rash. She scratches when uncovered, at the edge of her diaper. Mom has used golden seal and myrrh ointment and calendula ointment to no avail. The rash gets worse with a bath…VERY RED. If you just grab her, her skin gets red. Her father has eczema in his beard and on his chest (On both hairy areas. It is dry and scaly. He also has seasonal allergies.)She was weaned at 16 months of age; in her infancy she did have cradle cap. Otherwise she is pretty healthy. She is warm-blooded, as is her father.She enjoys dairy, bread, and sweets, but is a very picky eater.
Assessment: most likely allergic dermatitis
Plan: Arsenicum iodatum 200c split dose; decrease the dairy and the synthetic diapers (which hold body heat against the skin)
I did not really see the patient again until she was 6 years old. This time I did a more thorough case taking:
She had a bit of cradle cap at birth.
She was breast fed for 18 months.
Had chickenpox at 12 months old
Walked at 12 months old
Always had a pleasant composure when sick.
Talking (bilingual English and German) at 24 months old
Toilet trained at 3 years old. Once she was set on being toilet trained, she was continent both day and night with rare accidents.
Has been vaccinated, but selectively.
Received the DTP IPV at 4 years old and got a swollen painful leg.
Chief complaint: in the last several years, when she is in a warm bath, she develops red spots on her chest, arms, legs and shoulders. The spots are dome shaped like goose bumps and itchy. Without applying lotion her skin will become dry and scaly.No skin reaction if she is in a chlorinated pool.
She likes croissants, bagels, cinnamon rolls, pancakes and ice cream.
When she was 2 and 3 years old she would eat butter straight.
Food is always too hot in temperature for her. She is averse to spicy foods.
Afraid of big dogs and even little dogs: “they can jump higher.”
Fear of spiders.“Snakes might bite me when outside.”
H/O Fear of the dark: “I think someone is around.”
She uses a nightlight and wants someone to be there until she falls asleep.
Warm blooded: always warm; doesn’t take a jacket. In cool weather wears a short skirt and no socks. Doesn’t wear socks at home. Uncovers in winter in bed. When she wears tights, she gets itchy.High energy all day, doesn’t sit still. Is jumping around; can’t stand still. In last 2 months she has become more restless: restless in a chair, rotating in the chair.Quite a bit of self-pity and saying how things are unfair.Sensitive to reprimand.
Assessment: most likely urticaria
Over the next few years I would see her sporadically; remedies were given but the rashes did not stop. She became more allergic, with intense springtime allergies.
Remedies included Zincum metallicum and then Crotalus cascavella.
Her eyes would get all itchy and her cheeks would get puffy and red. Then she would get irritable and have itching all over her arms and legs.
Tell me about her irritability?
She gets all upset about what people say. She will storm in and whine, “I’m cold, I’m hungry.” She works herself into the drama. It takes a lot of energy to deal with her. And she will get little hives on her cheeks. She is still a picky eater and grazes all day. She wants sugar and could have dessert for breakfast lunch and dinner. She is still fearful of big bulky dogs.
Plan: Bovista in ascending Hahnemanian potencies (starting with 6c, then 9c, 12c, 15c, 18c, 21c, 24c, 27c, and then the 30c)
By the time she is 7 years old, allergies and fears are the main complaint:
She is constantly hungry and will mainly eat bread and butter. She is still frightened of the dark, so if she wakes up, she goes to her sister’s bed. She is afraid to be alone. She believes in monsters. She is definitely a bit shy and easily embarrassed.
Now a new facet emerges:
She drapes all these stuffed animals around her under her bed covers. She keeps packages and collects things. Even if she has 20 of something, she is devastated if she does not get the 21st thing. It is obsessive.
No hives nor eczema.
Not getting along with her sister. Very sensitive to correction from adults: she runs away and cries in her room and closes up.
Assessment: the allergic diathesis is alternating between the urticarial skin eruptions in the past and the respiratory allergies in the present. Her fears are evolving. Bovista not helping.
By age 8 in 2010, much of the case is the same and her fears and worries continue to evolve:
She is allergic to grass.
Still easily offended, especially about little things that are unfair. She takes it personally.Still wants parents there until she falls asleep.Still afraid of dogs.
Mom says that it’s amazing what she asks…”do you pay money for an apartment when you grow up? How do you know all the rules to drive a car?”
She is very affected by seeing homeless people and worries about financial security…”If I had money….” She will look for money or a bead or a treasure on the playground. She is hoarding things quite a bit at home.She hoards Beebe gun balls (this actually started in preschool). She hoards golf balls; has 300 golf balls and she has plans of selling them. She counts them and plays games with them. The golf balls are worth a lot to her. She feels she has earned them by finding them. She does not want to throw anything away. She hoards dolls.
Assessment: most likely allergies and hoarding
Plan: Calcarea sulphuricum in ascending Hahnemanian potencies
The allergies wax and wane but the anxiety disorder/hoarding continues:
She holds onto a lot of things, anything with memories she holds unto.
She fears that someone will come and steal her away.She worries “how do people buy houses? How do people drive?”She is still hoarding anything she finds,because she FOUND IT. Like a button she found on the playground; it has value because she found it. She walks around with her eyes on the ground. About the chewing gum wrapper, “don’t you dare throw that away”; she will use it for pretend play.
Fears about worms.’
Plan: Oleum jecorisasili 200c occasional dose
By age 9 in 2011 the Oleum jecoris asili had helped some, but her obsessions continued to evolve:
She is sensitive to what she hears about spiders.
And it gets into her head that Jello is unclean cause it is made from hooves and hooves were in the dirt.
For awhile she would not hold someone’s hand or let anyone touch her food. She fears germs and dirt and contamination. “I couldn’t eat my sandwich cause it got touched.”
She keeps her room messy; she has too many things and cannot let go of them. Even the drinking straws she gets at school are a prized trophy for her.
In her pockets are little pieces of broken little treasures. She cannot let go of them if they contain memories. She is very nostalgic about where she has been, like to Austria or Arizona. She is not very emotionally flexible and feels excluded and hurt. She can’t make friends and hesitates to go anywhere.
Now she has a wristband collection among her souvenirs and won’t take them off.She asks about God: “What does God do? Does he punish people?”She has tried to clean up her room but…”I have so many things, but I can’t give them up. I’d give up something I might want to play with”.
She is still quite a packrat, picks through things and wants to save and keep things. She has so much of everything and wants more and more.
She makes elaborate set ups of Legos or dolls and it is hard for mom to clean that up because it must sit around for days. She finds it hard to take these creations down.
Remedies like Anacardium orientale were tried. No action.
By January 2012 the case became clear:
Got a rash last week from a very chlorinated pool: burning, itching skin.
This sensitivity has carried over into a reaction to her bath water, so her parents have put a filter on the bath water.The hoarding continues. Now she takes all the shampoo bottles from the hotels we stayed in and says, “I need this.” She always needs ‘things’ to play with. She must take the rocks and sticks home because they ‘mean something’ to her; “it’s a memory”. If mom wants to throw something away, she might give in, but she would resent it.
Last year she was collecting stones and shells; she needs to know that stuff has a good home.She has all these concerns about homelessness and having enough money.She does hoard candy.
Assessment: most likely chlorine allergic dermatitis and hoarding
My thinking: She is definitely sensitive to chlorine, even though in the past that sensitivity had varied. Chlorine content can vary widely in swimming pools: home pools have less and public pools have more. Some swimming pools rely more on other halogen salts than chlorine.
Her core delusion was also clear: a deep fear of poverty and not having enough.
When I glanced at the rubric: Mind, Delusion, want, he will come to, I was startled to see Chlorinum there. This led to my investigation of Chlorinum and my recommendation of Chlorinum.
Mind, Delusion, want, he will come to
Mind, Fear of poverty
The warm-bloodedness of the halogens
The irritability of the halogens
Plan: Chlorinum 6c 1 dose daily
The first aspect that improved was her whining and complaining. She is saying, “I hate this” less and less. In fact her sister said, “You are not that annoying brat anymore.”
Plan: Chlorinum in ascending Hahnemanian potencies
By April 2012 she has been cleaning up her room! It looks like a room, not a dump. Says, “I don’t need this anymore.” She is trying to keep it clean on her own. Now her room looks decent. She is sorting things out, getting organized.And less sensitive to chlorinated water.
So within 4 months on Chlorinum 6c and then 9c and then 12c, her hoarding has vastly diminished. To those homeopaths who still believe that only high potencies affect the mental/emotional life of the patient, here is the proof that low potencies can be curative at the mental/emotional level, and quickly so.
By June 2012 her allergies are doing better with only occasional sneezing and no runny nose or itchy eyes. She is still having some rashes after a shower. She is less whiney, more balanced and grounded. She is good with cleaning and keeping her ‘stuff’ organized. Every time she does a thorough cleaning now, some things actually get thrown away. There are no new collections. She used to collect anything. When they went to the beach, she only came home with a handful of rocks. And this year she is taking her shells BACK to the beach.
Mom has not heard much concern about money or poverty, though it is still on her mind. When she gets money she doesn’t want to spend it. Sometimes she gives it to her parents and says, “You guys need it”.She is concerned about other people and sometimes she says, “oh, I’m so spoiled; other kids haven’t got many things”. Her nature is to be a peacemaker.
By August 2012 / 10 years of age, she is doing well. Had some allergies in Austria, but none back in the USA. Is trying new foods. Is less emotional about things she doesn’t like. Her emotions are in check; she tells mom how she feels and then she is good to go. Is cleaning on her own; sometimes it just hits her to clean up her room, even without mom prompting her. Less talk about money and poverty and she is able to spend some money now. Her sympathies have changed: “the one thing I didn’t miss in Austria was the homeless people.”
Assessment: Some homeopaths might assert that at this point the case is cured, especially cured of hoarding. But I know from interviewing countless folks suffering from OCD as adults, that puberty is when OCD can get entrenched. It is far wiser in my estimation to see a patient all the way through puberty before considering the case cured and discontinuing treatment. In fact, I find that the most vulnerable time is from childhood until the brain matures at age 25. Until the neuro-pathways have been re-directed through those years, relapse is possible.
By February 2013 / 11 years of age she develops some problems:
She is too worried to go to sleep; she goes to bed but the apprehension about not being able to sleep prevents sleep. She is very sensitive to any noises during the night. Everything bothers her. Into some ‘teen’ behaviors: arguing for the sake of arguing. Has not reached menarche yet.
Hoarding? Not so much any more, she still has a few collections left but they are contained. Not hanging onto everything she finds.
Has said that she is afraid of growing up and having adult responsibilities. She is not looking forward to growing up; she is still playing with toys like Legos.
Assessment: She is looking towards the past; this may indicate the need for a complementary remedy.
Plan: Natrum muriaticum 200c 1 dose daily at bedtime for 10 days, stop and report; stop earlier if aggravated.
Continue with Chlorinum ascending Hahnemanian potencies (she is at 21c).
Use Chlorinum aqueous for any acute exacerbation of allergies.
She suffered a flu infection in March that responded well to Dulcamara. Several weeks ago she developed some Spring allergies that did not respond to Chlorinum in aqueous dose but did respond to Natrum muriaticum in aqueous dose. Her sleep improved with the short course of Natrum muriaticum.
The arguing continues, as does her second-guessing her mom. She is also saying, “I hate school”. What she hates is having to go to school; she enjoys getting up early and playing.The hoarding is quiet; she is cleaning out her room and wants to get rid of stuff. She is just collecting rocks and wants to organize them. Mom is hearing fewer concerns about the future but recently heard, “I don’t want to grow up and have all these responsibilities.” She still plays dolls/houses/Legos with a younger friend but then, “we get bored.”
How is she doing overall? Her attitude is difficult; she is so set in her ways, so rigid. She is devastated if her expectations are not met. She makes it hard on herself.
By May 2013 she is doing well. Almost no allergy symptoms. Sleep is good.
Dreams? Of social relationships. She is not doing so well socially, has become an outsider. Feels the other girls will just ignore her but she doesn’t want to be alone. Doesn’t know where she belongs. She is unforgiving of girls who hurt her long ago.
Hoarding? She has a drawer of memory things: “they are my memories.” She really likes rocks.
Assessment: She is struggling in puberty but not so far out of the realm of normal. If she continues to be ‘stuck’, I will consider a homeopathic Strep detox. Strep infections have been linked with the development of OCD behaviors in children (and hence adults).
Plan: Chlorinum 27c 1 dose weekly
By August 2013 her allergies are quiet but she recently got itchy skin from a chlorine imbalanced pool.Not much hoarding, she gets rid of stuff. “I think I’m so spoiled, I have so much stuff. I should give it away but I still like some of it.” Does not mention the homeless much, but “they don’t have much stuff and their rooms are so small and they don’t have boxes of stuff”. She is comparing her situation with other girls.The family is helping a homeless young man.
Plan: Chlorinum 30c 1 dose weekly
Strep Box Protocol (DesBio makes a Strep box of descending decimal potencies, one dose every 3 days so action can be assessed and the plan adjusted if necessary; I have the patient first descend in potency and then ascend in potency. This takes 60 days.)
By November 2013 she got nervous about sleeping away from home but she did well and now is proud of herself. At the beginning of October she had a sore throat that lasted awhile (this was during the Strep detox, most likely an aggravation), but it responded to Chlorinum 30c aqueous.
No allergies, no itching, no rashes.Her sleep is good.Occasionally gets anxious about not being able to sleep and about growing up.
Plan: continue Chlorinum 30c 1 dose weekly
DesBioUpperResp drops 1 dose weekly as homeopathic prophylactic
(DesBioUpperResp drops are a complex nosode mix and do contain Strep nosode)
By January 2014 (2 years after beginning treatment with Chlorinum) she has been healthy since the beginning of the school year in August.
She is trying to make her room more of a teenager’s room. The only thing she won’t let go of is mementos like papers, birthday cards and flyers. She must touch it and ‘own’ it.
She is ever so slightly looking forward to growing up: “I can’t wait until I’m 13 years old and I can watch PG-13 movies.”
Plan: Chlorinum 200c weekly
Continue DesBioUpperResp drops 1 dose weekly
By July 2014 / 12 years of age, I notice that she no longer has ‘allergic shiners’.
“The homeless scare me a bit, the way that they stare at you is freaky. And I feel bad for them.”
Her room is tidy and many of the toys have gone.
“I want to be an interior designer.”
She will be getting orthodontic treatment.
Plan: Chlorinum 1M split dose, then 1 dose weekly
Acute Plan: Plantago major 30c as needed for orthodontia pain
By October 2014 she has no signs of allergies and even when the rest of the family got sick she did not get sick.
No hives; no allergic shiners.
Less worried about sleeping.
Menarche in August.
She is really cautious about everything; she does not want to be so confined by commitments. She has become very self-conscious of how she looks.
Plan: continue Chlorinum 1M 1 dose monthly
By December of 2014 she is doing well and has not been sick.
Menses did not come again until the beginning of December.
She is so moody all the time, such a teenager. It is hard for mom to be around her with all the “Maybe” statements and “I don’t know” mumblings. She is behaving in such a passive manner. She has no ‘drive’, no initiative. But she loves her iPod and has people following her on Instagram. She measures her self worth by how many people are following her. Yet at the same time says, “don’t look at me, don’t take pictures of me.”
Hoarding? Not of things but of ‘followers’ on Instagram.
Plan: continue Chlorinum 1M 1 dose monthly
By May of 2015 /13 years of age, she is doing well with regard to allergies. Even on windy days she is not that aggravated.
She is getting close to regular menstrual cycles: the menses is light but long.
She is moody all the time and closed up, hard to talk to, shut down. Says, “don’t talk to me.” And still so passive, saying, “I don’t know.”
She seems very inhibited and frightened by outgoing people. She is very attached to her iPod and being on Instagram.
Hoarding? Not much hoarding: is keeping her room really clean and likes to keep her room organized.She is not playing with dolls.Sometimes in the evening she may talk to mom about doing things, making plans, but by the morning she abandons these plans. To mom it is as if she is waiting for her life to begin. She does not want to do anything with her dad. She has no interests.She worries mostly about what people think of her: what to say and how to act. She seems torn between wanting new experiences and being frightened of new people.
Assessment: Many of the issues that remain are issues of ‘emergence’, of being born and engaging this life. The Matridonal remedies can be very complimentary to these stage-of-life issues.
Plan: Chlorinum 10M 1 dose weekly
Placenta 12c 1 dose each Monday and Thursday
By June 2015 she is healthy physically. She has had hardly any allergies this year and no reactions to chlorinated water.She has had perfect attendance at school and has had straight A’s as well, but she works just for the grade not for the knowledge.Her menstrual cycles are regular now.Her moods are ever changing: if something is interesting she is ‘up’ and otherwise she is in a slump.At bedtime she may unload some of what is bugging her. She is still very inhibited.
Plan: continue Chlorinum 10M 1 dose weekly
Start Amniotic Fluid 12c 1 dose each Monday and Thursday
By May 2016 / 14 years old
She still has a golf ball collection and a shell collection.
“I worry about friends, school, relationships and the way I look. I am worried about high school next year…that I’m not going to know anyone and that it’s a big school.”
Her menstrual cycle has become a bit irregular.
Plan: Chlorinum 10M 1 dose weekly
Stop Amniotic Fluid
Start Anterior Pituitary 30c 1 dose daily x 2 weeks, then 1 dose each Monday and Thursday.
By August 2016 her menses have become regular.
She has been healthy since the last visit.
High school is going pretty well. She is in advanced placement classes and getting A’s and B’s.
Plan: continue as before
By December 2016 her menses have gone off track again.
No allergies, no upper respiratory illnesses, no rashes.
She is making friends in music and in her classes. She is taking her studies seriously and seems to enjoy it.
Moods? When one little thing goes wrong she crawls back into her shell. She has moved her bedroom and in so doing went through her collections: her rocks and her toys. Every toy in the box had a story to it. “When you hold it in your hand, the memories come back.”
Assessment: There are several obstacles to cure in this case. One predominant one is the over use of light late into the evening: light pollution. This affects pituitary function. Her obsession with her Instagram followers is magnifying her exposure to the light pollution. The ‘root’ of OCD is still there, though much less overt.
Plan: Chlorinum 50M 1 dose each month at the Full Moon
Continue Anterior Pituitary 30c each Monday and Thursday
Less computer/Pad/smartphone light at night
By August 2017 / 15 years of age and 5 years after beginning treatment with Chlorinum, she is doing well.
Allergies? “I sneeze more than others.”
No skin reactions to chlorine.
Her menses are more regular again.
What about your collections of things? “I am trying to sell some of the collections, like the Legos, books, Barbie stuff.”
She is focused on other things.
“I have signed up for tennis.” Has an exchange student living with the family.
Plan: continue Chlorinum 50M same
Stop Anterior Pituitary 30c
By May 2018 her mom reports that her irritability and silent refusal to talk are now more prolonged.Sometimes mom is a little worried cause this is how her sister was at this age (and her sister attempted suicide). But mom is not sure that she is depressed.She says she is tired often. She is eating a healthier breakfast but not eating again until after 3 pm, at which point she drags herself through her homework and naps.
Sometimes her menstrual cycle skips a month.Any hoarding? She was a bit obsessed with clothes for some time and now thinks that she should spend her money more wisely. She wants to play and learn the ukulele and get a skateboard for women. She does get out more, and is more social this year.
“I act more the ‘angry teenager’, I am annoyed very easily. Like if I hear my parents chewing their food. That is a pet peeve of mine.”
Assessment: There can be many reasons for the menstrual cycle to not be regular AND we know that the halogens and the salts of the halogens are prone to thyroid dis-regulation. She reported to me later via text that indeed her fingernails were brittle.These are the indications forThyroidinum that I considered (I use a complex thyroid sarcode mix):
- Halogen tendency to thyroid dis-regulation
- Tired all the time
- Brittle nails
- Irregular menstrual cycle
Plan: Chlorinum LM01 2x/day for 3 weeks then LM02 same way
And Thyroid Support formula just 1x/day in the morning
Avoid chlorine and fluorine
Comment: It is not unusual for me to need to use several different scales of potency in following such a long-term case. From my point of view, this young woman will not be considered cured of her OCD/anxiety disorder tendencies until after her brain matures in her mid twenties. The LM scale will probably be useful for the next 2 years, before she heads off to college or independent life. Her case thus far is completely facilitated by her mother’s care and concern. At times the patient does take responsibility for taking the remedy on her own, but then that tends to fall apart. My experience with the LMs is that we will have a smoother progression.