When a patient presents themselves in the clinic for help with an illness or health problem, what is is that a homoeopath is looking for?
Disease has been classified into named categories by the health authorities around the world by utilising the method of collecting symptoms and giving it a description, pathology and perhaps prognosis. This classification is useful in terms of ‘knowing” what the infection is and what to expect.
A homoeopath would find the diagnosis useful, for prognosis of the expected nature and outcome of the state, and also for awareness of possible damage that has or might occur within the organism.
The homoeopath does not treat the named collection of symptoms that affect GENERALLY or give a medicine or medicines for a named disease. The task of the homoeopath is to find what the patients DIS-EASE is ie. the individual reaction to the infecting agent. Whist it in fair to state that in some disorders, for example Croup, it is almost routine to give Aconite for the inflammatory fever, followed by Spongia for the distinctive croup restriction in the throat, and sometime Hepar Sulph when called for, this is rationalised by the FACT that MOST croup patients exhibit the SAME symptoms in topmost priority for treating.
During treatment for Croup, should another symptom arise in an individual, possibly due to a health history peculiar to them, the homoeopath will and SHOULD treat that condition with the appropriate medication as required. This is called individualising the disease of the patient. Each person presents a unique picture of dis-ease no matter WHAT the named pathology is called.
On this basis, whatever the patient presents with, the homoeopath will note the details of the patients state, and endeavor to diagnose the personal DISEASE state as below.
§ 6 Fifth Edition
The unprejudiced observer – well aware of the futility of transcendental speculations which can receive no confirmation from experience – be his powers of penetration ever so great, takes note of nothing in every individual disease, except the changes in the health of the body and of the mind (morbid phenomena, accidents, symptoms) which can be perceived externally by means of the senses; that is to say, he notices only the deviations from the former healthy state of the now diseased individual, which are felt by the patient himself, remarked by those around him and observed by the physician. All these perceptible signs represent the disease in its whole extent, that is, together they form the true and only conceivable portrait of the disease
A memorable case example from 1989 (I treated the entire family for years in Manchester England):
Indian female patient age 40 presented with multiple verrucaea/warts) on both palms of hands. Over 300 in total. Began telling me her symptoms, head pain, stomach < after eating, then this then that……… after a few minutes, I put down my pen and noticed she was going from subject to subject, increasing speed whilst talking and intent on getting her message out. If I asked a question, she raised her voice a little and talked over me and just kept going.
Now her ‘complaint” was the excrecences, but her disease expression, individual to her was the excessive loquacity, jumping all over the place in her subject choice, her need to be the one talking and the desire to not be interrupted.
I prescribed Lachesis for her on this main symptom expression, this was also backed up by 2 other symptoms which were present, but I forget now what they were. The patient was clear of the warts in 3 weeks. Both hands. At the next consultation, she was still loquacious but not as scattered or ‘manic’ in her discourse. I repeated the lachesis and over time, whilst still chatty, the morbid nature or driven character of the speech diminished.
The reason for this case example, is simply to point out that her disease of warts, was expressed through individual symptoms not included in the pathological description of warts. THE TOTAL PICTURE OF THE DISEASE included the loquacity.
§ 153 Sixth Edition
In this search for a homoeopathic specific remedy, that is to say, in this comparison of the collective symptoms of the natural disease with the list of symptoms of known medicines, in order to find among these an artificial morbific agent corresponding by similarity to the disease to be cured, the more striking, singular, uncommon and peculiar (characteristic) signs and symptoms of the case of disease are chiefly and most solely to be kept in view; for it is more particularly these that very similar ones in the list of symptoms of the selected medicine must correspond to, in order to constitute it the most suitable for effecting the cure.
So in conclusion, the homoeopath must understand that the case of disease before them, is an individual with a unique expression of being disordered and exhibiting a singular/personal/peculiar (to them) deviation from their normal state of good health.
This is REAL dis-ease. It does not exist or exhibit except through an individual.