Robert Ullman and Judyth Reichenberg Ullman
Reprinted from: courtesy the authors.
Original patient complaint:
Paul, a 39 year-old lawyer, was being consumed by his addictions to tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol addiction. Though he was well-educated as to the adverse effects of these substances, he could not help himself. His smoking habit, which began in high school, was now up to a pack a day. He habitually drank half a bottle of wine every night unless he forced himself to abstain. Drinking helped Paul loosen up at parties and offered him “a false sense of optimism”. Even the scare of blackouts was not sufficient to persuade him to kick his drinking habit. His close friends and colleagues who were aware of his alcoholism tried to convince Paul to attend A.A., but the idea sounded humiliating to him. He began his day with three cups of double-strength, black coffee, perked himself up with a latte mid afternoon, and washed down his evening sweet treat with a cup or two of expresso. He had avoided physical examinations for years for fear they would reveal the physiologic effects of his addictions.
Paul gave the air of being energetic and in control, yet inside he was losing it. He felt “as if he were dying”. He feared that he lacked the will power and motivation to overcome his addictions even though he knew they would probably kill him eventually. If he changed, he might have to feel, which he had guarded against by numbing himself with addictive substances. He now felt extremely out of touch with himself.
Paul had three brothers and a sister. He was raised on a farm in rural Minnesota. His father, a lawyer, also drank heavily. He tried to be the perfect son until high school. when he ran around with a wild crowd and began to drink. Ever since childhood, Paul was very concerned about how he appeared to others. He would try on being one way for awhile, then another, but was never sure who he really was. Paul had been living with a woman for the past year and a half. They drank together and supported each other’s mutual denial about their alcoholism. His sexual energy was very high. He preferred sex daily and, if he didn’t get it, he’d masturbate. This was his longest relationship to date. His previous intimate relationships were numerous and short-lived. He was drawn to women out of sexual attraction, then eventually got bored with them. He wasn’t sure he had ever really loved a woman.
Paul was quite chilly and loved the heat, “the hotter the better”. He wore lots of layers of clothes. He slept a lot when he felt depressed. His axillary perspiration was offensive if he was under stress. His stamina and concentration weren’t what he’d like.
Paul had very few physical complaints. A year previously he suffered from a persistent rash due to a new detergent. He had become very concerned about it and convinced himself it was skin cancer. He experienced frequent offensive flatus and bloating and occasional flare ups of external hemorrhoids. Paul had a history of condylomata, but not other sexually transmitted diseases.
He loved grains, bread, pastas, sweets, salt and fats. He was averse to shellfish and had to force himself to eat fruit. When asked whether he liked to chew on ice, he said he had regularly for the past two years, but was trying to break the habit because he worried it would cause throat cancer. Both of Paul’s parents were still healthy.
We gave Paul one dose of Medorrhinum 200c. He was out of the country and was unable to come for a follow up visit until seven weeks after he took the remedy. At that time he expressed feeling very positive about life. He had quit alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes, though he was still chewing Nicoret gum and drinking up to five cups of black tea a day. His relationship was going quite well. The sense of feeling as if he were dying was gone. He no longer felt desperate. He was now worried about looking too old. He was eating much better, though more sugar than before.
He was experiencing some itching of his skin like he had after using the detergent. Paul also came in for counseling once every two weeks while he was in town. He continued to refuse to attend A.A. He was obviously able to quit his alcohol habit nevertheless.
At his next visit, a month later, Paul had begun to suffer from mild perianal itching, like he had with his hemorrhoids. He was drinking less caffeine and had cut down on the Nicoret gum. His sugar craving had diminished and he was eating more bread and fruit. The bloating was improved. He was still eating ice. He was amazed at the change in himself. He now felt in control of his life. He was much happier and was beginning to feel himself again, instead of living in a continual alcohol-induced fog. He was now looking for a new house and wanting to do some counseling to explore his patterns of leaving women. He had a much more positive outlook on his future. It is now five months later and, despite a very stressful trial and sleepless nights, Paul continues to do great and has not needed another dose of the Medorrhinum. He has continued to come in for periodic counseling as he has felt appropriate.
Medorrhinum is made from a preparation of the gonorrheal virus and is one of the homeopathic nosodes, ie: remedies made from diseased tissue. Because the virus has been diluted many, many times, it is in no way contagious. Medorrhinum is a very deep-acting remedy which is often indicated following gonorrhea or Chlamydia, sometimes years previously, or a family history of gonorhhea.. However, as in this case, a history of gonorrhea is not a necessary prerequisite if the symptoms of the patient otherwise fit the remedy. Because of the near-epidemic incidence of gonorrhea in the United States today and in recent years, Medorrhinum is a very commonly indicated homeopathic remedy. Individuals needing Medorrhinum may be shy, and lacking in self-confidence, such as Paul, or can, on the other hand, be thrill-seekers who are bold, flamboyant, and extremely intense. This former type, like Paul, may even come to the homeopathic interview drunk, so they feel free enough to express their innermost feelings. There is a strong tendency to substance abuse, often proceeding to hard drugs. A history of sexual promiscuity is frequently seen and sexual energy is generally very high. There may be a history of masturbation, beginning as early as age four or five. There is a tendency to extremes and excesses and the person may get bored easily with jobs, relationships, or living situations. Those needing Medorrhinum are on the chilly side, dislike cold, damp weather, and usually love heat and the sun, and feel better by the ocean. Their food desires, often strong, are often for salty, sweets, and fats. They may also love oranges and unripe fruit such as tart green apples. It is common for them to chew on ice, which is why we asked that question during the interview. It is common for people needing Medorrhinum to be night people, preferring to stay up until 3 or 4 a.m., often partying, and to sleep until late morning. They may have great difficulty getting up in the morning and not feel really energetic until early afternoon. There is often a lot of mucus discharge, from any orifice, and a tendency to warts anywhere on the body, particularly the genitalia. Also seen are arthritis and urethritis, making Medorrhinum a prime homeopathic choice for Reiter’s syndrome. Medorrhinum, due to many of the symptoms mentioned above, is an important remedy to consider in treating HIV and AIDS.
What are other common homeopathic remedies in treating alcoholism? Sulphur is prescribed frequently for the philosophical, reclusive type of individual who relies on alcohol or marijuana to access his stream of creative thoughts or as an escape. Drinkers needing Sulphur have a particular predilection for red wine, however may also have a strong desire for beer, which may cause heartburn and belching. These people may drink on the sly. Nux vomica is indicated for alcoholics who fly into an insulting, angry rage when drunk. It may be the corporate executive, for example, who works long hours and pushes himself through with stimulants such as caffeine and hot, spicy foods, then drinks beer or whiskey to relax and forget about business. They may buy drinks for all their buddies. They are likely to become red-faced when drunk. Nux vomica is known as an acute hangover remedy. Another common remedy for alcoholism is Lachesis, which is notable for its obsessive jealousy and seemingly interminable loquaciousness. The sentimental, blubbering drunks often need Lachesis. Aurum metallicum is a remedy for hard-working, conscientious people who can become deeply, often suicidally, depressed, often due to a sense of having failed at life. Lastly is Sulphuric acid, a remedy for the last stage, broken down alcoholic whose ruin was brought about by abuse of whiskey, gin, or scotch. He or she often suffers severe gastric distress and hyperacidity.
The correct homeopathic remedy is likely to dramatically shift the energy of an individual in a positive direction, as well as alleviating existing symptoms. Because the alcoholic, most often, is only one part of a dynamic family system and because alcoholism is often passed from generation to generation, homeopathic treatment may not be enough to reverse longstanding patterns of dysfunction. Intensive therapy, twelve step programs, and even inpatient detoxification and rehabilitation facilities may also be necessary.
The Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine (NCHM) is located in Edmonds, Washington, 20 minutes north of Seattle, in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. Dr. Robert Ullman and Dr. Judyth Reichenberg Ullman are licensed naturopathic physicians board-certified in homeopathic medicine. They have been in practice for nearly 30 years.