Sensitive, Hot, & Passionate: A Homeopathic Medicine for Extreme Hypersensitivity
Tara Peyman, ND
Over the past few years, I have treated several cases of mood disorders where extreme physical and emotional hypersensitivity is a part of the symptom picture. There are a few remedies that are well known for treating these kinds of hypersensitivities, and I have certainly found these remedies to be helpful in some cases. There is 1 remedy that has been surprisingly useful in these cases, and it is not one that I would typically think of immediately for extreme hypersensitivity.
Case Study 1
Patrick presented to my office for treatment of bipolar II disorder. In describing his symptoms, he reported that one of the main problems was hypersensitivity to his surroundings, including hypersensitivity to the people around him. He stated, “When I was a teenager, I noticed I was in tune to other people’s energy or emotions, to an extent beyond what was normal. This has caused problems for me because I take on other people’s emotional stress; if they are anxious, I feel tense, and if they are depressed, I feel exhausted.” He was sympathetic to the highest degree.
This all started after his aunt committed suicide when he was a boy. Patrick was very close with her before she died. His family didn’t discuss it, and he felt extreme grief and sadness, but didn’t have anyone to talk with about those feelings, so he held them inside. After about a year of this suppressed grief, he started to experience extreme hypersensitivity to noise, light, and touch. Light was painful to his eyes, and noise caused intense irritability. With regard to the hypersensitivity to touch, he described, “When I am depressed and someone touches my arm or anywhere on my skin, it literally feels like burning, or acid, or fire on my skin. It feels literally painful, and the spot where the person touched is left with a burning sensation for minutes afterward.”
After the death of his aunt, Patrick also experienced a new onset of weakness of the bladder, where coughing would cause urinary stress incontinence. He was generally very chilly and sensitive to cold, but would overheat easily from exertion.
Irritable mood was a significant feature of his condition. “I have a lot of irritability during the hypomanic episodes. I have no patience, and I have high expectations of people. I want something done, I want it done right now, and you must answer me in the right way, or I’m going to chop your head off. I have extreme irritability and frustration.”
I considered Nux vomica because of Patrick’s impatience and irritability, and also Phosphorus because of the hypersensitivities and sympathy, but it was the physical symptoms that guided me to the right prescription for him.
This was a beautiful case of Causticum.
Before taking his case, I knew that Causticum was a great remedy for excessive sympathy, the type of bladder symptoms he had, and ailments from grief however, I had yet to appreciate – when Causticum is the indicated remedy – how exquisitely hypersensitive these patients can be to physical touch and other environmental stimuli, and just how intensely irritable they can be. Hahnemann’s Chronic Diseases describes the irritability and hypersensitivity in provings of Causticum as follows:
Very sensitive, hot and passionate. Unbounded inclination to take things ill. Sensitive and inclined to anger, while the nerves are much affected.
In his homeopathic materia medica on Causticum, Guernsey describes burning and sensitiveness of the skin aggravated by touch. His urinary symptoms were key in confirming that Causticum was the correct remedy.
Within 1 week of taking Causticum 6C, 2 pills once daily, things improved. At his 1-month follow up, Patrick reported, “I am feeling a lot better. Depression is gone. My mood is stable. That tendency towards constant arguing and discord is gone. I’m still sensitive to other people’s feelings, but I no longer have the negative impact from it. There is also much less bladder weakness. I hadn’t even thought about that since we met last time; it’s so much better. All of the hypersensitivities to touch, light, and noise are reduced. No burning of my skin on being touched. No emotional irritability from noise, or eye pain from light. Things are good.”
Case Study 2
Another case example of Causticum treating the same type of hypersensitivity is Anna, a 65-year-old woman with severe insomnia. Her case also began with grief, when her father passed away. She started to become overly sensitive to her environment, and would become agitated by crowds, noise, and light. She couldn’t handle the lights and sounds in grocery stores. Any small amount of nervous system stimulation would cause intense irritability, with a tendency towards criticism of others and herself, and a need to withdraw to a quiet place.
Anna also found herself sensing other people’s emotions unintentionally, and she would become anxious as a result. She told me, “After being with a group of people, I might find myself feeling tense and stressed without knowing why. Then later I find out that one of the people was anxious or depressed about something. I literally feel what they are feeling, without even wanting to.” Her empathy and hypersensitivity led to a worsening of insomnia. After a day of interacting with people or dealing with crowded, noisy environments, her nervous system was so frazzled that she couldn’t settle down and fall asleep.
Phosphorus appeared to be the perfect remedy, with the information I had gathered so far. These symptoms alone were not enough to prescribe on, however. I needed a clear physical symptom to lock in my homeopathic prescription. In asking for more details about the insomnia itself, I learned that when she was lying in bed trying to relax, she felt a strange sensation of hollowness in her forehead. “It is just in the very front of my head, as if my brain doesn’t start right in my forehead, but instead there is an empty space there, and then my brain starts further back. It’s not painful, just empty. That sensation is so odd; it’s new since all of this insomnia started.”
Anna also had cramping pain in her hands that was worse with writing. She was generally very chilly, and all of her complaints were worse from cold and better with warmth.
In the materia medica for Causticum, Hering’s Guiding Symptoms describes this symptom in the following way:
Sensation as of an empty space between forehead and brain, worse in evening and in cold, better in warmth. Convulsion of the fingers in writing; writer’s cramp.
Causticum reduced all of Anna’s symptoms, she was able to sleep naturally at night, as well as tolerate external environments and social interactions without distress.
These cases served as a reminder for me of just how intensely hypersensitive patients can be, physically as well as emotionally, when Causticum is the best medicine for the case. Both of these patients continue to use Causticum to this day, and both have stayed in remission since starting this homeopathic medicine.
Tara Peyman, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor in Arizona. Dr Peyman’s primary passion is the homeopathic and integrative treatment of bipolar disorder and mental illness, which she tailors to each individual. She is familiar with psychiatric medications and can assist patients in either tapering off these prescriptions or integrating them with naturopathic care if necessary. Dr Peyman focuses on addressing the underlying causes of illness (such as depression, mania, anxiety, schizophrenia, schizoaffetive disorder, OCD, and PTSD), and empowers patients to effectively treat those deeper concerns using homeopathy and natural medicine. She received her doctorate in naturopathy from SCNM in Tempe, AZ. For more information, please visit www.DrTaraPeyman.com.