Children’s health part 1: anxiety

By June 23, 2012Notes from Alexis

This is the first in a series about children’s mental and emotional health issues.

“Kids are not like they used to be.”
“It’s not like it was when we were growing up.”
“What can I do to help my kids?”

These are things I hear parents say in my office all the time. Kids are having a hard time these days. They are facing challenges that seem greater than what we were facing when we were their age. Some of these challenges include fear and anxiety, anger and hostility, hyperactivity and restlessness, and sensory integration dysfunction. We are also facing more challenges parenting our kids, facing issues and questions that our parents never dealt with. In some cases, the challenges are in areas that are not well researched, widely known about and there may not be many ways to help. In some cases, the only options are expensive therapies or medication. Prescription medications mask or suppress symptoms, but do not address the imbalance that causes the problem or symptoms. Therapy is supportive and healing, but takes a great deal of time. Homeopathy seeks to bring about a balance from the deepest part of a person’s being. It can act very quickly and deeply to bring about changes holistically that can change a person’s mood and behavior, to the benefit of everyone, especially the child who is suffering. When the child starts to feel better mentally, all other healing modalities work better as well.

Anxiety is a problem I see a lot. It is challenging because often fear and anxiety seem irrational. Children cannot be talked out of their fear and anxiety. I see children that are afraid of the dark, ghosts, witches, going to school, food, burglars, bad men, being separated from their parents, sharks, the unknown, dying, dogs, spiders and many other things. Sometimes the fears are debilitating, and interfere with the family’s ability to function normally and easefully. Not many parents are equipped to handle the psychological support of their fearful child by themselves. When looking for support, there is nothing the pediatrician can do, and parents are often referred to a psychiatrist for medication. This is often a very challenging choice for parents, who are not thrilled about medicating their child, particularly when they are very young.

Homeopathy can help anxiety by addressing the deeper underlying issue that gives rise to the anxiety and bring about balance in the mental and emotional health of your child. I’d like to give some examples of different types of remedies that address different types of anxieties.

Aconite is a premier panic remedy. There are intense acute attacks of panic, with a fear of death. The fears may come from some outside source, such as a scary movie or book, or from a shock such as a natural disaster. Nightmares are common. Complaints come suddenly and with great intensity, often with an overwhelming fear of death. Children will have great anxiety and restlessness, and a fear of going to the doctor or dentist. Aconite may also be given in acute illness when there is inflammation that arises suddenly after exposure to fright, shock or cold wind. It can also release a shock or fright that has been held in the body or mind for a lifetime.

Calcarea Carbonica:
This is a child with lots of worry and anxieties. This is a slower-paced child who is easily frightened or offended. These children are strong-willed and obstinate, yet afraid of everything they see. Often there can be fears of mice, rats, and cruelties. It can be hard for the child to forget something horrible he saw in a movie or on television. They can also fear someone in their room or monsters. Calcarea is a very common children’s remedy that also has general symptoms like slow development, difficult nutrition, sweaty head and palms and a sour smell.

Phosphorus children are sensitive and charming. They are impressionable, as if their boundaries are a little too permeable, and they are overly affected by what goes on around them. they can be very empathetic, and overly friendly, making friends with every stranger that has a cute puppy. This sensitivity leads to fears and anxiety. Phosphorus children are deeply affected by bad news and horror stories, and sensitive to others pain and sufferings. A keynote of this remedy is fear of thunderstorms, twilight and being alone. Fears of imaginary things, such as ghosts and monsters, or bad things happening is common in Phosphorus. There is often a great desire for company that goes along with these fears and anxieties. Common physical pathology for Phosphorus are nosebleeds and respiratory illness.

The child that needs this remedy usually has a combination of fears and aggression. There can be tremendous outbursts of temper, rage or fear. The outbursts are impulsive, rather than malicious. It is like a discharge of energy that is too great to be contained. Parents sometimes say, “it is like they are possessed.” Fears are frequently dogs and other animals, the dark and water. Stramonium can heal very deeply disturbed states, ones that may seem very extreme. Nightmares and night terrors are a hallmark of this remedy. Oftentimes I see Stramonium children who have no physical problems at all, all the disturbance is focused entirely on the nervous system and in the mental sphere.