Dr. Mahesh Gandhi, M.D. (Psychiatry), Senior Consultant and Faculty, the other song
Dr. Sneha Vyas, Resident Doctor, the other song
Dr. Ruchita Shah, the other song
Abstract: The article is a compilation of successful psychiatric cases treated over years, with an added insight from a background of post graduation in psychiatry. The cases demonstrate a simple yet effective approach to difficult cases of obsession and compulsion, with an in-depth logical analysis in order to trace a pattern to arrive at a similimum using the Sensation Approach.
Keywords: Anxiety disorder, Panic attacks, OCD, mollusk, fear.
Dr Mahesh Gandhi, a psychiatrist by education, is one of the stalwarts when it comes to treating psychiatric cases with Homoeopathy. He regularly conducts seminars in several countries demonstrating illustrative cases with the approach adopted in different cases. ‘the other song’ has organized a special psychiatric series consisting of 8 modules of 2 days each, where Dr. Gandhi elaborated on major psychiatric disorders like Panic disorder, phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, etc. He also demonstrated his latest development in the understanding of plant kingdom in its evolutionary form (first introduced by Mikhail Yakir) so as to integrate it effortlessly in treating psychiatric cases. Given below are glimpses of few cases from the module conducted on 23rd and 24th August, 2014.
In this seminar, Dr. Mahesh Gandhi presented cases of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, where he put forth his unique understanding and the approach in each of these cases. He presented a case of a 25-year-old-male, who had a fear for the past few years that he would hurt someone when driving. At work, he would re-read his mails all over again and would still not know what to reply. At this, he would panic and his hands would turn clammy. When he woke up in the morning, he would be worried about his work and about the rest of the day. This anxiety kept him in bed for another half hour where he would constantly think of how to begin his day. He had formed a habit of checking the amount and the words written on the cheque, checking taps and lights over and over again. Due to this constant anxiety, he would go blank before any meeting.
Each day felt like a drag to him where he turned asocial and disinterested with every passing day. He fitted the plug in the socket and would check it numerous times out of the fear of having misfit the plug all the time. He had persistent thoughts all the time with a lingering feeling of insecurity and negativity with low confidence. As a child he was shy, awkward was unable to communicate. When asked to describe the word awkward, he said awkward is to cringe (HG – like cringing, meaning hiding away), feeling safe, not having to face the world and run away, like being in a shell and isolated.
The patient’s constant fear was that he should not be branded as an idiot because of a stupid joke and probably thrown out from a group of friends because he sounded so stupid. With this fear, he experienced panic when he had to cross the threshold. The experience in panic was exploding feeling in the head, going completely rigid. He would startle at times. It is as if he is completely locked up. On seeing a sharp knife too, the patient would experience panic, feeling that he would cut himself up. Besides, the patient had fear of the dark, hated public speaking as he felt insecure all the time and would cringe when in such situations. He had dreams of walking naked on the road, or a feeling that something had happened to his parents; he would always fear that something would happen to his dad as he worked so hard.
Follow- up after two months showed significant improvement, in terms of reduction in suicidal thoughts, no anxiety before meetings. He did not have to drag himself early morning to work. He did quite well in his exams and he affirmatively stated that he could keep his obsessions under a firm check.
The remedy given to the patient was Helix aspersa (garden snail). The patient was given Boron for a week, but he showed no result, so the remedy was changed to Helix aspersa as it has a lot of similarity to Boron like re-reading a book, fear of coming out of a shell. But it has additional dimensions as well. Boron never feels frozen, rigid, locked up as the patient felt during panic. This is generally the experience of a mollusk. Cringe is exactly a mollusc word used to describe becoming smaller. All the mollusks usually have some element of Silicea, have to live upto expectations of others, stumble and experience panic initially. The fear that people will laugh at me and find me stupid is like Calcarea. This case indicates sensitivity to rudeness, to being hurt, feeling of hurting someone, hurt by sharp objects, which is again an experience of molluscs.
Dr. Gandhi then narrated a case of a 39-year-old lady with two kids. Her husband worked abroad. She suffered from panic attacks in which she had a fear of dying as if someone would kill her. If people shared incidents of suicide cases with her, she would panic. If someone asked her to take care as she did not have husband staying with her, she would be really scared. She once heard a story of a husband chopping off his wife’s head with a knife, this made her really scared of knives and she hid away all the knives from sight at her home.
As a child, she was scared of darkness and had intense claustrophobia. She would withdraw if someone touched her. She was always scared that something would happen to her children. On seeing a fan, she would have an impulse of committing suicide by hanging herself from a fan. She got repeated thoughts about committing suicide. Through her life, she had been honest and had never ever lied. She had a miscarriage and blamed herself for it, as she felt that she had not taken good care of herself. She felt terrible after the miscarriage and would pray for the child’s soul.
By nature, she was a cheerful lady and liked the company of spiritual people. She could not bear scenes on TV which depicted murder, cheating, violence. She had 11 siblings and had to discontinue her education after 10th standard as she had to care for her siblings when her father was very sick. She then joined a night school and took up a housekeeping job at the British Consulate which she continued till her marriage in 2003. To her, marriage felt like a trap as her mother-in-law was extremely strict. She was happy only when her husband was at home. When she got pregnant, she was often sick and would get asthma attacks. Her husband would get very violent during pregnancy and even hit her once, when she told him that they could not stay together any long. She was very nervous all the time and had vomiting. She would always ask Jesus why she had such a difficult pregnancy.
The patient’s husband stopped her from going anywhere. She clearly told her husband that if he wanted, she could stay with her child at Mangalore and she did leave once. Her husband then came to take her back to Mumbai and agreed that he would rent a small home where she was happy later. The patient did not like pictures of snakes. She was a cleanliness freak and liked everything neat and tidy. She also suffered from nausea when travelling by bus or car.
She was then staying happily in a new house and had solved issues with mother in law. Her husband was still afraid that she would fall into bad company, so he stopped her from working or from socializing. She liked being around happy people and did not like being upset. By nature she was open and would happily share her emotions with others. She had dreams of snakes pursuing her, dreams of flying from one building to other and people running away, that people have knife and she is hiding and running away. She also had dreams of baby snakes coming and biting her. Besides, she also saw dirty toilets, water and fishes in her dreams.
The patient was given the remedy Sepia 1M, indications being – fear death, morbid impulses, fear narrow places, horrible and sad stories affect easily, nausea riding, fear dark, fear snakes, suicide, asthma, miscarriage, morning sickness, cold aggravates, dreams snakes, dreams water.
(Roger van Zandvoort, Complete Repertory, MacRepertory 8.2.01, Professional, Kent Homoeopathic Associates)
Interesting observation as noted by Dr. Gandhi was that, all mollusks have morbid impulses, which is probably from the Iodum which is found in traces in sea water.
As Dr. Gandhi explained from his experience, the mental theme of Sepia officinalis is mental stasis, inability for mental activity, an exertion to think, no desire to work, stupefaction, dullness, confusion, desire to be alone, indifference to loved ones, indifference to everything, aversion to one’s occupation, aversion to company- avoids sight of the people with closed eyes. Independence – they want to show that they can do whatever they want without the support of the family. They are unable to receive from their family the support they feel they need and deserve. They do their best to show to the family how good they are. They seek a deep, emotional connection with their environment and there is a lot of dissatisfaction within them. All mollusks have many salts mainly Iodatum, Bromium and Muriaticum. They all are affected by morbid impulses, have nausea from riding, fear of water and hyperaesthesia.
After 6 months of starting the medicine, the patient reported in her follow-up that her panic attacks were very less frequent. She would no longer be terrified on hearing news or get impulses out of fear. She stopped having violent dreams of snakes as well.
Dr. Gandhi then went on to show another case of a 32-year-old-man who had intense fear of contracting HIV. This fear started when he had unprotected sex with his girlfriend 5 years back. He broke up with his girlfriend a short while later, when the girl said that she wanted to commit suicide. This caused a lot of panic in the patient. He is afraid that someone will prick him with a HIV infected syringe and he will get HIV. This thought again causes panic and his whole body gets hot and he gets a rush of negative thoughts. The patient is so scared of getting HIV that he carries his own razor when he goes to the saloon for shaving his beard. Besides, he also had fear of flying. He was constantly scared that something would happen to him, fearing that his past girlfriends would harm him. He said that his mind just ‘catches’ (hand gesture) the fear. He would start thinking negatively about anyone, getting thoughts that a particular person would die or would commit suicide and would start fearing that he would be blamed for something which he did not even do. He said that it just ‘holds on’ (Same hand gesture of grasping with both hands tightly) to his mind.
Often he got impulses of killing off his parents and himself to just finish off all these thoughts. To ward off his fears and impulses, he would read the Hanuman Chalisa (a Hindu prayer in praise of Lord Hanuman) at that time, asking Lord Hanuman (Indian Hindu deity of strength and protection) to protect him (this is like Calcarea, with the want of protection). He always felt as if he had done something wrong, when in real he had not, e.g. he felt that he was a part of terrorist group and was responsible for the terrorist attack on Mumbai. He was too troubled by a movie ‘Omen’ which he saw as a child. There was a lot of anxiety after watching the movie and he experienced that his head got heavy, he could not think. He repeatedly described that if his mind catches hold of some thought (Hand gesture), it does not leave him, he has no control over it (again repeats the gesture and keeps relating his talk back to it). The thoughts just catch him (hand gesture).
The patient was also diagnosed of having high blood pressure, got impulses on seeing a razor and caught his head. If he had a chicken burger, he felt as if he was biting into the bones of someone. Everything caught onto him, earlier he was exactly the opposite ‘carefree’ he describes. He was afraid if he will actually carry out the thoughts that come to his head. When he had been to Amsterdam, he felt that his hotel was haunted. He dreamt that he had urinated on the picture of his swami (religious guru) and once that something bad was happening to his parents. He also had a dream that he was killed and his body was floating in the river Ganga. If he had intercourse with his girlfriend, he felt as if he had sex with his brother’s wife.
Many a times, he got thoughts that he should add poison to his parents’ food and drink. If he was alone at home, he feared that his servant will murder him. He often thought of himself as the devil’s advocate, which he relates to having seen a girl in a movie who changed her face from a human to a monster (the duality is typical of OCD). He panicked after seeing this movie and could never see such movies alone. He also was shaken up after seeing a movie in which the king ordered his men to kill his first son.
He was given the remedy Anacardium 1M which belongs to the family of Anacardiacea where the main sensation is caught, stiff, tight, tension, stuck, cramps, pressing (Rajan Sankaran, An Insight into Plants, Volume 1, Second Revised Edition, 2005, Anacardiacea) The patient too had this sensation as his core experience. Also if we are to see the rubrics, we see Anacardium again coming up:
(Roger van Zandvoort, Complete Repertory, MacRepertory 8.2.01, Professional, Kent Homoeopathic Associates)
In his follow-up after 4 months, he reported that he was doing very well. He was almost better by 30-40% and now felt light in his head. The caught feeling that he had earlier throughout is now an occasional occurrence. The fear of flying had reduced and his blood pressure was normal since the past 3 months. There was a significant improvement in his energy levels as well.
In conclusion we can safely generalize that there is no single royal road to find a diagnosis and cure. More so in cases of psycho-somatic or deeply psychiatric disorders. An ingenious doctor sometimes has to take a detour or a parallel trail through brush and thickets to reach the destination. Tracing the correct picture and matching and the experience and then matching it with the source books and source characteristics alone is a true guide to the similimum.
About the other song:
About ‘the other song: International Academy of Advanced Homoeopathy’:
‘the other song’ is a world class premium medical centre which puts good health and well being at the core of an academic culture dedicated to complete patient care. Situated in Mumbai, this institute is one in its kind where a team of 35 doctors headed by Dr. Rajan Sankaran (the pioneer of the Sensation Approach in Homoeopathy) come together and practice Homoeopathy. At the Academy, the students and practitioners are trained in advanced Homoeopathic practices, using new methodologies in combination with the traditional approaches, all with the use of state-of-the-art technology. The Academy is also a meeting point for different schools of thought in Homoeopathy, where renowned homoeopaths – national and international are invited, to share their knowledge and experience so that there is a constant flow of ideas on a common platform.