Paranoia and Allergies
Filed under Clinical Cases
If one were to ask, “What is the relation between seasonal allergies and paranoia?” the answer would be, “There is none.”
And that is correct…much of the time. However, I once treated a young man with seasonal allergies who, I learned, was packing a pistol and was, indeed, paranoid, not paranoid crazy, but consumed with ideas that he was under potential attack, that there were bad people out there out to get him.
It was in 1997 that he came in. He was 29 years old at the time and he was there because of moderately severe allergies, worse in the spring and summer. The allergy symptoms were the usual: itchy nose, palate, eyes and Eustachian tubes, plus sneezing and occasional loss of smell. Such symptoms homeopaths call “common symptoms” and it is virtually impossible to prescribe successfully on common symptoms as all seasonal allergy sufferers describe the same symptoms. Unlike conventional medicine where antihistamines will grant temporary relief, there is no single medicine for allergies. Each patient will need a different medicine based on his or her individuality.
By now, you realize that the homeopath does not target the disease directly, but attempts to learn all he can about his patient in an effort to treat all aspects of the person.
On the physical level, I learned the sweat on his feet was irritating and offensive and was causing the skin to harden and later peel off. “I have to peel off my socks at the end of the day,” he said. “It is uncomfortable to walk.” This information would turn out to be more relevant in selecting his homeopathic medicine than any of his allergy symptoms.
His gums tended to bleed, again, a fairly common symptom. He was intolerant to cow’s milk, an extremely common symptom.
His manner was friendly and open. He admitted being somewhat fearful when alone. “I need people around me,” he said.
He then mentioned that he had a permit to carry a handgun and always carried one. “We’re a hated group,” he said.
“Who is hated?” I wanted to know.
“The government. You always have to watch your back.”
He worked at the Houston Intercontinental Airport for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The work was stressful, up to ten to twelve hours a day, sometimes for fourteen days in a row. He allowed or disallowed entry to passengers from abroad. He needed a certain level of awareness and discernment in order to spot illegals. As he spoke Spanish fluently, he often dealt with Central and South Americans.
He went on about how he felt. “I’ve always been suspicious of people since I was a kid,” he said. “I’ve always had a backup plan. Especially in relationships. When I had a girlfriend, I dated on the side.”
“Fear I’ll be hurt by her, that she’ll take my trust and break it.”
His suspiciousness extended beyond personal relationships. “I keep my guard up,” he said. “Everyday I use strategies to find out if people are on the up and up. Yet I can be a very deceitful and conniving person myself. Life is a chess game. If you let people take advantage of you, they will.”
Because of his hypervigilence and mistrustfulness, I searched the Repertory for clues and found these two rubrics: “Delusion, everyone is an enemy,” and “Delusion, he is surrounded by enemies.” In both rubrics are found homeopathic mercury known to homeopaths as Mercurius solubilis. Mercurius also covers painful peeling of the soles of the feet and bleeding gums. Though most of his allergy symptoms were common, he had one that was strange: he sneezed when he went into bright sunlight. That was an anomaly, something not expected in allergy and it was a symptom of Mercurius sulphuricum, an analog of Mercurius.
People who need Mercurius are often suspicious and mistrustful. When these traits become entwined with anger, Mercurius people can be capable of extreme violence, including homicide. Fortunately, my patient was a long way from that.
He received a single dose of Mercurius sulphuricum in May, 1997.
Four weeks later, he reported the skin on the soles was no longer hard, the foot sweat no longer irritating or offensive and the guns had stopped bleeding. The allergies had improved then returned a week ago so he took one dose of Arundo, a homeopathic medicine which is known to act in allergies. It helped though I was not pleased he had taken it as I wanted the deeper acting medicine, Mercurius sulphuricum to take care of everything. I was not to be disappointed.
Four months later, in October, the allergies were back and the skin on the soles was becoming harder. Mercurius sulphuricum was repeated for the second time.
In May, 1998, he reported he had been fine until the end of February when the allergies returned. “I no longer carry a handgun wherever I go,” he said, “though I carry one in my car. I was so paranoid before. I used to wear a gun when I went out to get the mail.”
Over the next few years he did well, requiring a single dose of Mercurius sulphuricum infrequently. At one point he was so well I did not see him for six years as his allergies were mild to non-existent.
In 2006, he told me he had given up his handgun in 2003. Though his suspicious nature was far less he did admit, “When I go in a restaurant, I scan the place to look for anyone who could be a threat.”
It is hard to know whether scanning a restaurant for danger is sensible or overly suspicious. I decided his suspiciousness was more than average and Mercurius sulphuricum was repeated.
A year and a half later, in June, 2008, I saw him again. He said his allergies were now extremely mild. “I can’t tell you the last time I was sick,” he said. Since I last saw him, I had written up his case history and let him read it. He looked astonished as he read. “It’s amazing how I’ve changed,” he said. “I’ve come a long way.” I agreed.
In October, 2011, he came in for an unrelated matter, hydrocele of the testes. We spoke of how he was fourteen years ago. “In retrospect,” he said, “that was quite shocking—that I had that kind of paranoia. It makes me wonder if it was really me.”
“Do you still keep a firearm?” I asked.
“I have a gun I keep in the house for protection,” he said, “but I can’t remember the last time I looked at it.”
So, yes, paranoia and allergies can be related. And, they can be cured at the same time and with the same medicine. Homeopathy is a therapeutic science designed to skillfully treat the person first, the illness secondarily. Put the person right and the illnesses will come right, too.