Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD used to be a rarity, but according to the NIMH[i], approximately 2.3%, or 3.3 million American adults between ages 18 and 54 have OCD. At least one-third of the cases began in childhood. In many cases, OCD exists alongside other problems such as tics or Tourette’s Syndrome, eating disorders, ADHD, anxiety disorders, and many behavioral disorders.
Many autistic children have OCD characteristics as well, which manifest as rigidity and inability to transition from one place or activity to the next, or obsession with lining up toys, and other particular rituals. In many non-autistic cases, it manifests merely as “I wash my hands a lot” or “I can’t go to bed at night without making sure all of my remote controls are lined up a certain way.”
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is so life impacting that the estimate of economic losses in the US even as far back as 1990 was $8.4 billion, almost 6% of the total mental health bill in America. Since that time, it is apparent that the affliction is becoming more prevalent, and more deeply impacting, even to the verge of destroying the quality of life for millions of adults and children and their families.
First a statement of clarification: homeopaths do not rely on medical diagnostic terms for their analysis of how to work with a case. However, most clients approach a homeopath with a diagnosis, often quickly giving us a generalized idea of what the problems are. Beyond that, a diagnosis is not necessary for homeopaths to work successfully with any client. Instead, the homeopath will individualize each case based upon the presenting symptoms.
This gives the homeopath a distinct advantage over conventional medicine’s methodology. The homeopath will examine in great detail the client’s history, family traits, and presenting symptoms, but it is not necessary to know the specific “pathogenic germ” that is responsible in order to successfully help the client’s symptoms. She must know her tools – the homeopathic materia medica, a compendium of 4000 or so homeopathic remedies available to homeopaths, and how to interpret the body’s communications through the symptoms, so that she can best match them to the appropriate remedy, based on the Law of Similars and/or the Laws of Isopathy. However, if there are known indications as to a certain pathogen and its effects on the system, that can be taken into account and help to guide the choice of remedy or remedies.
Homeopathy Center’s research has found some interesting connections between the disorders mentioned above. The most common thread we are finding is strep as a possible causation, primarily cell wall deficient strep. Perhaps this “auto-immune” form of strep is caused by the breakdown of the cell wall of pathogenic streptococcus, but not the complete destruction of the microbe, by antibiotics. It is the cell wall that is attacked by conventional medicine’s antibiotics.
According to the work done by Lida Mattman, Ph.D., throughout her life, If the cell wall is partially or completely destroyed, or if the bacteria do not all die, and many do not, then those that remained with a cell wall deficiency are often much more virulent and dangerous to the system. This is because the immune system cannot recognize them as the enemy, and can’t destroy them. These are commonly called “Cell-wall-deficient forms” or “L-forms.” Dr. Mattman wisely referred to them as “stealth pathogens,” operating right under the immune system’s nose.
Homeopathic remedies do not add to this stripping away of the very thing that makes a pathogen recognizable to the immune system. They do not act through chemically bullying a pathogen into submission. Rather, the homeopathic remedy in its highly diluted form, carries a small “picture” into the system or signal, which will match very similarly the signal of the illness (whether caused by one or many pathogens, identified or not by mere humans). The homeopathic remedy is a dilute remedy with a signal that is “most similar” to the symptoms of the sick person, which can alert the vital force, or immune system, to aid
recovery even if the exact pathogen is not known.
The advantages become obvious, including that expensive lab tests are not necessary for the homeopath to be successful. Many of our clients have found relief through remedies which typically would help a sore throat or ear infection to be helpful with their obsessions, compulsions and tics. And because we know that medical literature supports that sore throats and ear infections being commonly caused by streptococcus, it is a reasonable inference that perhaps the reason these remedies work for earaches, sore throats and OCD is because perhaps all three are caused by the same thing – streptococcus.
Ironically, modern medicine backs this homeopathic inference as the following demonstrates. Medical research by Susan Swedo, MD, at the NIMH provided confirmation of our understanding of the physiological etiology of OCD, tics and movement disorders.[ii] While powerful concerns would prefer to classify OCD, like autism, as a mental/behavioral disorder (whether out of disbelief of the truth or avoidance thereof), our case studies affirm Dr. Swedo’s findings that a physical component plays the leading role in this large category of complaints.
As part of the healing process, our clients will frequently run fevers. We often see gains (a marked decrease in complaints) as the parents relieved fevers with any of several homeopathic remedies which also are commonly used for sore throats and ear aches. These maladies in medical literature have long been etiologically related to streptococcus.
In the past 2 years, this experience has allowed us to expand and focus more on homeopathy aimed at several specific pathogenic syndromes, in particular, those associated in both homeopathic and medical literature with strep, herpes, and measles virus. By generally focusing on remedies for our clients’ behavioral symptoms (which is a common approach in homeopathy) we have discovered that repeatedly we are pulled toward, and finding success with groups of remedies which revolve around these three important symptom constellations.
Using all forms of homeopathic remedies in proprietary combinations, nosodes, sarcodes, German biological and gemmotherapy remedies, the immune system is given the much needed support required for true healing and apparent elimination of the offending microbes. Through this focus, and combined with a sequential approach to healing, we are seeing many clients significantly reduce or eliminate their tics, OCD, rigidity, and anxiety levels, while many ASD children are gaining in cognitive, speech and social skills.
This same focus is precisely the vantage point that Homeopathy Center of Houston has successfully employed with children who come to us with a diagnosis somewhere on the Autism spectrum including ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS, and Autism. As we find effective ways to help one behavioral problem it often carries over to others.
Just as we do not need to know the pathogen, we do not need a formal medical diagnosis to gain positive results. In fact, many homeopaths feel that a diagnostic term can occasionally serve as a distraction to seeking all of the person’s individualized symptoms. It is not a detriment, but can sometimes imply symptoms which may or may not be present in the individual. And it is the individualized way in which each person is affected by and exhibits his/her symptoms that the homeopath must seek and work with.
Often the symptoms of illnesses attributed to this or that “germ” are simply the body’s unique means of reacting differently to the same pathogen. For instance, where one child may get frequent rashes, another develops obsessions or compulsions. While strep may act as an inflammatory pathogen in one person’s throat, in another, it inflames the skin into a rash, and in a third, it may inflame the brain stem and create obsessions.
In other cases, there may
be many different pathogens involved – for instance, measles virus is known to enter the central nervous system, as do herpes viruses. Because the homeopathic remedies boost the body’s own Vital Force (partly the immune system, partly the energy required to maintain homeostasis and sustain life) to do the work, the Vital Force may tackle one set of “pathogens” one time, and a different set at another. It does not matter whether it is one or many pathogens responsible – we can still follow and support the client’s recovery through the process using indicated remedies to support the body’s natural elimination and rebalancing capabilities (symptoms).
While the symptoms of Dr. Swedo’s term “PANDAS” are not what conventional medicine previously associated with streptococcus infections, she has noted the presence of strep antibodies which she surmises to be attacking the basal ganglia. Whether this is the actual mechanism or not, in our clinical experience, we can only say that no matter what the name, or the mechanism, homeopathic remedies for complaints associated with strep have provided most of our clients relief from inflammatory symptoms, movement and obsession disorders, and seem to make common sense when compared to Dr. Swedo’s view of this relatively “new” phenomenon of PANDAS.
Unfortunately, the prevailing wisdom is that if PANDAS becomes a definitive diagnostic term, then the obvious treatment medically would be long term antibiotics. However, there are grave concerns about the effects of long term antibiotics which may be only a panacea for some. It is well known that 75% of our human immune system lies not just in the physical entity we call the gut, but with the biological ecosystem of the gut flora, and bacterial population. It is equally well known that antibiotics, even in short term, disrupt this fragile balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria in the gut, hence long term, could possibly be doing more harm than good.
Homeopathy offers a non-suppressive, broad-based option to help restore immune system function, reduce the obsessions, compulsions and motor problems, and creates no side effects. It supports the immune system, and cannot destroy the delicate balance of the gut flora. Homeopathic remedies do not create “cell wall deficient” highly pathogenic forms. They can only harness the body’s own innate healing mechanisms and gently nudge them back toward balance or homeostasis, without toxins, harm or drugs.
The best part is – all true healing is self-healing – when the body heals itself, with homeopathy effectively “calling the signals” then the healing is true, deep, and lasting. Once the body rids itself of the offenders, there are no “rebounds” or cycles, whereby the remedies are stopped but the symptoms keep returning or worsening, necessitating ongoing, lifelong treatment, as is advocated for PANDAS.
So far, our homeopathic work has been very promising and successful with many children who have suffered tics, obsessions and compulsions. No matter the medical prevailing wisdom or controversy over of how to treat these disorders, there is a growing body of accepted knowledge that points out that OCD is much more a physiological illness that affects behavior.
As outlined above, homeopathy does not depend upon cookbook medicine, or identification of a specific pathogen, and is not based on a “diagnostic criteria for treatment.” Our children and adults are treated as people who have a problem, not as a diagnosis which gets a one-size-fits-all answer.
The key to the Houston Homeopathy Method is the method. It is a thought process and unique application of many different homeopathic methodologies that has reaped huge rewards for not only our clients, but even some of our own children.
What outcomes have we seen? With children with autism, we’ve had huge improvements in “stereotypical autism behaviors” such as inability to transition, rigid reliance on a perfectly controlled schedule, more ability to be redirected away from their compulsions, and gradual fading away of all of the above – coupled with greater long term indications of overall better health. Many of our children who were not talking have begun talking, those who had simple labeling or single answer demands have started moving into full sentences.
One very surprising commonality is that our kids seem to be happier. Even toileting has become much better in many cases. For our more verbal children we are seeing more interaction, more descriptive language, more spontaneous and expressive of emotion than seemingly unemotional, robotic language (as is typical from ABA approaches), and gains in social behaviors.
With our clients whose primary complaints include obsessions and/or compulsive behaviors, or who had OCD diagnoses when they came to us, as they progress through the HHM, we’ve seen that they are much less obsessed, able to regain normal control of their anxieties (also related to strep, we are realizing), and able to relax and return to a normal life. Our children with tics or Tourette’s Syndrome have either lost or greatly diminished their tics, and many are still working with us, with every good reason to believe they will lose their tics entirely.
The recovery is not overnight, as most of our clients have had multiple exposures to bacteria, or “infections” and been treated previously with antibiotics, so the unlayering process may require some time. But the time required is getting shorter as we discover more through ongoing research and honing our analytical skills.
And most importantly, our clients get better with each step we take in peeling the layers that led up to their current problems. As we approach the genetic inheritance aspects, the miasm remedies become more important, as well, but that will be the subject of another article.
Watch for our upcoming article on Autism as a Polymicrobial Disorder – and successes from the HHM in the new Autism One magazine: Autism Science Digest, coming in April 2011!!!![i] http://www.wrongdiagnosis.com/artic/facts_about_obsessive_compulsive_disorder_nimh.htm [ii] Leonard, H, Swedo S; Paediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infection (PANDAS); 2001, Int J Neuropsychopharmacology 4: 191-198