Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder and Homeopathy
We are today at a time that sees a growing incidence of natural catastrophes, global terrorism, ongoing and potentially looming military conflict. The disasters of late and in particular the wars of the recent past have brought to the foreground frequently ignored, and often misinterpreted health issues. Anxiety and trauma disorders are increasingly becoming more prevalent.
One such particular ‘trauma’ issue is the so called PTSD, the post-traumatic-stress-disorder. This trauma, related to the experiences of warfare, combat and terror was first diagnosed in Vietnam War veterans and was only acknowledged and classified by the American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder in 1980. Its introduction was controversial yet “filled an important gap in psychiatric theory and practice” [3, n.p.]. With this it was, for the first time, acknowledged that trauma could be produced from an external causative factor, and was not an immanent shortcoming of the particular patient showcasing the specific set of symptoms .
The Epidemiology of PTSD
Epidemiologic research comes to the conclusion that the exposure of the population to potentially trauma inducing incidences is on the rise . In 1990 an initial National Comorbidity Survey conducted in the US estimated that 7.8% of the US population was likely to get PTSD at some stage in their life time. The replication of this survey between 2001 and 2003 produced similar results .
The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study performed from 1986 to 1988 appraised a representative sample from Vietnam War Veterans who showed symptoms of PTSD; concluding that 30.9% male and 26.9% female veterans had PTSD . In veterans of the first Gulf War a study conducted between 1995 and 1997 produced a sample of 12.1% identified as having PTSD. Of service members of the second Gulf War (Iraq / Afghanistan), a study conducted in 2008, assessed that 13.8% of participants had PTSD .
What causes PTSD?
As causative factor of the symptom complex defined as PTSD, post-traumatic-stress-disorder has been identified the exposure to incidents and occurrences that are experienced as “overwhelmingly stressful” [4, p.3]. These events are commonly experienced as life threatening, usually catch the individual off guard, with a severity that shocks, and impairs the individuals’ ability to react appropriately . It is not infrequent that sufferers of this complex describe their lives as impacted and altered in its foundations .
Characterized as an anxiety disorder, PTSD is a complex of symptoms resulting from traumatic experience, and the individuals’ direct response to such stressors. A severe threat to life, a physical violation or injury and the associated fright, terror and helplessness can instigate post-traumatic traits. Indifferent of the causative event or experience, the symptomatology of the syndrome is in all cases similarly expressed, whether caused by physical harm, witnessing a terroristic act or natural catastrophe, or being exposed to active warfare .
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD is a fear that develops from the disturbing memories that may re-surface after a traumatic incident. Experienced as “intrusive recollection” (p.7) these memories may be painful, frightening, tragic, sickening, or guilt ridden, and may be triggered by various conscious or unconscious cues. The disturbing thoughts about an event or incident may come as flashbacks, triggered by subtle details appearing in the auditory or visual field. At the same time sensory perceptions such as taste, smell or even feelings can trigger the mental and physical distress known as PTSD. This means that symptoms may appear at anytime, anywhere, by an active trigger or may come without apparent linkage to the traumatic experience, when the individual is relaxed and at ease .
The everyday life may become intercepted by periods of arousal that may be triggered by such internal or external provocations. These show by restless sleep or trouble falling asleep, by irritability, outbursts of aggression, difficulty concentrating, exaggerated caution and alertness, or the tendency to be easily startled . It is to be noted that all these factors may, in the consequence, lead to the development of a secondary symptomatology. This may emerge in the form of attacks of angina pectoris, hypertension, tachycardia, dyspnea, and sweating amongst others .
These symptoms may have distinctive influence on the life of sufferers. They may seek to distance themselves from, not only the memories associated with the traumatic events, but may block out memories that have a potential to remind of aspects in relation to the incident or event that caused PTSD. They may, in their attempt to avoid triggers, restrict their closest environment, their social surroundings, avoid places and people, may suppress feelings and may eventually choose introversion, recluse and detachment from other people. They may even lose their ability to function properly in a work environment. All this can be seen as a “psychic numbing” (p.11), and may lead to the development of a pessimistic outlook for the future with a diminished expectancy of, and purpose of planning for the future . Eventually these symptoms may lead to anxiety, melancholy, and depression. Individuals may, aside of personality changes, become addictive and impulsive in their behavior, may conduct self-injury, or display a suicidal disposition .
The treatment of PTSD
Diverse methods have been applied to master the symptoms of PTSD, however the most widely used remains conventional medicine. Conventional treatment commonly combines the pharmacological approach with psycho-therapies . CAM treatments such as meditation, relaxation and exercise therapy have been reported as in use by victims of PTSD . Therapeutic approaches from the CAM spectrum that have been appraised in scientific research include TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), relaxation, and meditation therapies [6, 7]. The findings of research warrant further investigation into CAM treatments for PTSD. Yet researchers stress that the limited proof of efficacy of the CAM approaches suggests the use of CAM therapies as an adjunctive to conventional treatment only .
PTSD and Homeopathy
Homeopathy has to date not found much consideration in the treatment of PTSD. There is little research and experiential reports are scarce. However, that Homeopathy could play a greater role for an effective treatment of the symptoms of PTSD is evident considering the fact that it is a holistic treatment approach. It treats the patient on all levels, the spiritual, the mental/emotional and the physical plane; the planes on which the symptoms of PTSD are manifest and expressive.
Warken, Wedel, & Weinmann  have reported from their experiences treating PTSD patients with Homeopathy in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, that patients with PTSD require particular care over an extended period of time in order to resolve such deep seated issues as are post war traumata. They stress that homeopathic treatment requires successional prescribing and repetitive administration of the similimum. They conclude that homeopathic treatment is efficient, cheap and has a rapid rate of action .
Two research studies have investigated the relation of Homeopathy to PTSD and come to the conclusion that Homeopathy can benefit the patient suffering of PTSD [8, 9].
Lankesar  states of homeopathy that, “with such treatment quality of life and physical and psychological health may be greatly improved” [ p. cciv]. She stresses in the conclusion to her study, that overall syndrome symptoms improved, as did the quality of life of patients.
The insight provided from the case studies of Bhanushali  permit the conclusion that homeopathy is effective in treating anxiety disorders, the group of disorders of which PTSD is a part.
It can be safely said that within the homeopathic Materia Medica a large number of homeopathic remedies can be identified that in their proving pictures express specific symptoms that can be attributed to the complex of PTSD. It is therefore down to the precise case-taking of the homeopathic practitioner to identify the appropriate prescription for his patient, in all presenting cases including potential cases of patients suffering of PTSD.
 Norris, F & Slone, L. (2013) ‘Understanding Research on the Epidemiology of Trauma and PTSD’, PTSD research Quarterly, 24(2-3), pp. 2ff [Online]. Available at: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/newsletters/research-quarterly/v24n2-3.pdf(Accessed: 10th September 2017).
 Gradus, J. – National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (2013) Epidemiology of PTSD, VA Healthcare: Center for Integrated Healthcare.
 Friedman, M. (2016) PTSD History and Overview, Available at: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/ptsd-overview/ptsd-overview.asp (Accessed: 10th September 2017).
 Schiraldi, G. (2009) The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder SOURCEBOOK. McGraw-Hill eBooks [Online]. Available at: https://www.google.pt/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiLzrCVh5vWAhULvBoKHU5zCooQFgg1MAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.researchgate.net%2Ffile.PostFileLoader.html%3Fid%3D5899fed7404854eb527beaf5%26assetKey%3DAS%253A459174984327170%25401486487255561&usg=AFQjCNEMJlW1bx-DTDX0ku5FkaRLDkbg1w (Accessed: 10th September 2017).
 Andres-Hyman, R. & Hyman, S. (2013) ‘An overview of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)’, Nova Law Review, 37(3), pp. 617-630.
 Strauss, J. & Lang, A. (2012) ‘Complementary and Alternative Treatments for PTSD’, PTSD Research Quarterly, 23(2), pp. 1-7 [Online]. Available at: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/newsletters/research-quarterly/v23n2.pdf(Accessed: 10th September 2017).
 Williams JW Jr, Gierisch JM, McDuffie J, Strauss JL, Nagi A. An Overview of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Anxiety and Depressive Disorders: Supplement to Efficacy of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. VA-ESP Project #09-010; 2011.
 Bhanushali, K. (2011) Anxiety disorders and their scope in Homeopathy [Online]. Available at: http://www.pghomeopathy.com/images/pdf/thesis.pdf (Accessed: 10th September 2017).
 Lankesar, Y. (2008) The effect of the homoeopathic similimum in post traumatic stress disorder. [Online]. Available at: http://hdl.handle.net/10210/968 (Accessed: 10th September 2017).
 Warken, S., Wedel, E., & Weinmann, S. (2003) Das Mostar-Projekt – Die Homöopathie zwischen Krieg und Hoffnung Buchendorf bei München: Peter Irl Verlag.
About the Author:
Uta Mittelstadt: I am a homeopath, an artist, a writer and a vegegan, a traveller, and adventurer. I’m a crab born in June. I am passionate about homeopathy. I have a BSc and MSc in homeopathic medicine. I love to investigate and write about my findings, and I blog at Clever Homeopathy