Hope for Healing: Case Studies of Patients with Mental/Emotional Concerns
Vis Medicatrix Naturae
Shawna Eischens, ND
The highest ideal of cure is rapid, gentle, and permanent restoration of health, or removal and annihilation of the disease in its whole extent, in the shortest, most reliable, and most harmless way, on easily comprehensible principles. (Samuel Hahnemann, MD, Aphorism 2, Organon of Medicine)
A 69-Year-Old Male Addicted to Whiskey
“Julio” was referred to me by his primary naturopathic doctor for NET (Neuro Emotional Technique) to help address his alcohol abuse and addiction. He presented with injected sclera, trembling hands, and a strong odor of alcohol. He exclaimed that he needed to stop drinking for the sake of his health and marriage. He truly liked the taste of whiskey and did not drink to get drunk, although intoxication was nearly always the unplanned result after he tasted his first drink.
We proceeded with his first session of NET, a stress-reducing technique that helps to shift limiting thoughts and release subconscious blocks. Candace Pert, PhD, has demonstrated since the 1970s that emotional responses are composed of neuropeptides (amino-acid chains) that attach to their receptors on neurons and other cells in the body.1 Stressful situations cause these chains to be ejected and attach to specific neuroreceptors in other parts of the body. The goal of NET is to remove the psycho-emotional blocks from unresolved stress patterns, correct the emotional information affecting physiological function, and allow the body to repair itself.2 Simply stated, NET helps to decrease stressful reactions.
NET has been shown to be beneficial for people with phobias, pain, self-sabotaging behaviors, and anxiety.3,4 It is an appealing treatment for people who haven’t been able to consciously release their concerns, don’t want to discuss traumatic events, or who don’t know the original contributing source of their issues.
Take a few seconds to imagine the following:
- Biting into a juicy lemon
- Seeing flashing lights in your rear-view mirror
- Hearing that special song that reminds you of a loved one
Do you need to consciously think to increase salivation, produce adrenaline, or feel sentimental? Of course not; these are all examples of the power of our subconscious mind’s ability to remember experiences, then later replicate a similar physiological response.
Neuroscientist and physician, Paul MacLean, describes in his “Triune Brain” model how 3 specific structures within the human brain are responsible for specific activities, including survival instincts, emotions, and thinking.5 NET works predominantly with the mammalian/feeling brain and limbic system, whereas treatments such as psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy focus predominantly on the neocortex/thinking brain.
Since Julio had been unable to stop drinking through his own conscious/neocortex abilities and was experiencing stress related to his drinking, the NET neutralizing statement used was, “I’m OK without drinking.” An original event related to shame and being out of control at age 19 was released as a result.
He expressed feeling stressed when he felt overwhelmed, so we proceeded with the statement, “I’m OK even when I’m overwhelmed.” This took him back to an event where he was shot at age 13.
One Week Later
Although I have seen drastic and immediate results in patients using NET, I was realistic that the process might take multiple sessions to resolve various triggering issues related to addictive behaviors such as alcohol consumption.
As Julio sat across from me, I noticed his eyes were less injected, he seemed more calm and confident, no tremors were present, and I didn’t observe any odor of alcohol. He reported he wasn’t feeling the effects of stress as much, and he felt no stress from being overwhelmed. He explained how he had been asked to cook at an event where many of his friends were consuming alcohol and how he found it easy to abstain. He calmly reported that he had NO urge to drink, had consumed NO alcohol since our last appointment, and felt great!
To continue the momentum for his continued success and avoid any subconscious limitations to succeeding, we proceeded with the statement, “I am OK succeeding,” which was correlated with shame and school at 12 years old.
Emotionally, he felt calm, content, and balanced, yet he mentioned that his right-upper back was chronically sore, even with physical treatments. Since emotions can affect physical symptoms as well, we proceeded to find that his muscular pain was correlated with a humiliating event when he was 23 years old.
This patient went on to have 2 more follow-ups with his primary naturopathic doctor, as well as myself, for balancing through acupuncture and NET. He continues to report ongoing success with stress reduction and abstinence from alcohol consumption.
A 9-Year-Old Female with Suicidal Thoughts
“I wish I was dead!” stated Ali, a 9-year-old with a family history of bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and drug addiction. When she had first made this comment 6 months prior, her parents became rightfully concerned. This intelligent, active, well-developed/nourished, and supported child was struggling emotionally, even after beginning self-prescribed probiotics, fish oil, and a supplement to help balance neurotransmitters.
Shortly before our initial appointment, Ali told her mom she thought she might kill herself, accidentally or on purpose, with something sharp, although she made it clear she didn’t want this to happen. She cried about once a week, wishing she had never existed, and stated, “Life is pretty bad.” Her worries were typically about something bad happening to her parents, killing herself, or her chronic fear of men. She confided in her bedroom walls and stuffed animals that she worried that she was going to hurt herself. She described herself as quiet, angry, liking to be alone, and fearless on the playground. Physically, she noticed growing pains, as well as abdominal pain or flatulence with dairy.
Prescription: Continue the self-prescribed products for the time being. Begin homeopathic Nux vomica 30C, 3 pellets per day. We discussed the importance of physical activity and eating whole foods and avoiding sugar, dairy, and processed foods. Her mom would be in touch with me if she had concerns or if Ali was emotionally worse in any way.
Three and ½ Weeks Later
Ali and her Mom reported a much happier person overall, minus the 2 “disaster days” when she had not taken the homeopathic pellets. When sleep-deprived, she might pick fights and say, “Nobody likes me,” but she was otherwise more patient, more reasonable, and overall happier. Mom reported that Ali was lashing out at her brother less often and talking less to walls and animals. She had not had any suicidal thoughts or expressions related to not wanting to be here. Her fear of adult men had lessened, and her growing pains were no longer occurring.
Prescription: Continue the treatment plan. For the future, we discussed stopping the self-prescribed supplements 1 at a time while observing for any changes, as well as adding adrenal support and/or B-complex to help her balance and support her HPA axis.
About 6 months later, Ali stopped the neurotransmitter support product, began a daily B-complex, and continued the fish oil and probiotic.
Eight Months Later
Ali had made statements including, “I don’t feel like this is my home” and “I don’t want to be here.” Many weeks prior, she had told her counselor, “I don’t belong on Earth” and, “I’m meant to be in heaven,” although she wasn’t having suicidal thoughts. She didn’t want to die, yet wanted to know why she was here. She feared doing things wrong, and cried 3-4 times a week. She felt undeserving to sleep in her own bed or to get any presents. She had a new behavior of taking things away from herself as a punishment, even though her parents weren’t initiating punishments. She was getting lower test scores in school, experiencing more anxiety, and having a hard time focusing. She reported feeling guilty, sad, mad, and she felt like her friends didn’t like playing with her (even though her mom reported she had not observed that to be true). She was experiencing leg cramps before bedtime and her mom said she’d had issues for a while with hypoglycemic, or “hangry,” episodes.
Prescription: Begin Natrum muriaticum 30C, 3 pellets per day, and stop the previous remedy.
One week later, Ali’s mom reported Ali to be much better emotionally over the previous few days; therefore, the plan was to be continued until her next follow-up.
Two Months Later
Ali reported no fears, and felt happy. She might cry a couple of times a week, but for shorter periods than before. Leg pain started again about 1 month prior. A single dose of Natrum muriaticum 200C was given in the office, which she was told to repeat as needed.
Within 48 hours, Ali had an aggravation during which she began pulling her own hair, stated “I’m stupid,” and displayed intense pouting during a family event. The next day she cried, but was less negative and didn’t pull her hair.
Within 3 weeks, Ali stopped the B vitamins and fish oil, continued the remedy, began adrenal support (the gemmo remedy of Ribes nigrum), and was doing well.
Over the next 9 months, Ali took Natrum muriaticum 200C as needed.
Nine Months Later
Ali reported feeling invisible and had stated, “Nobody likes me” more often within the past month. She was crying 1-2 times a week and would say, “I want to crawl in a hole and die” when she did something she viewed as wrong. Leg cramps were occurring 2 times a week. She was having fewer hypoglycemic episodes since adding the adrenal support. She and her mom felt that the probiotic helped prevent abdominal discomfort, so she wanted to continue it.
Prescription: Natrum muriaticum 1M, single dose, then dose it as needed. Continue adrenal support and probiotic.
Over the next 3 years, Ali changed schools multiple times due to family moves. She had decreased all supplements, yet continued to remain stable. We no longer had regular appointments. Other than a brief issue with getting into a deep sleep and the occasional feeling that she didn’t fit in, she was happy and thriving. As of 3 months ago, Ali’s mom notified me that she was doing great without any supplements, medications, or remedies!
A 39-Year-Old Female with Hopelessness & PMS
After being diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and bipolar disorder in her teens, being raped in her 20s, and then becoming addicted to multiple illegal and prescription drugs, “Megan” sought conventional treatment. She was hospitalized, in rehab, became suicidal and psychotic after being prescribed a commonly prescribed amphetamine, tried lithium, various antidepressants, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines, yet was still filled with shame and grief and she struggled to have a life that included balance, peace, and joy.
Ironically, the reason she consulted me was to resolve a potential hiatal hernia after seeing a YouTube video of me discussing this topic. She frequently felt nauseous and would get full quickly. It felt like something was constantly stuck in her throat, and she sometimes became hoarse around people. She recalled that she didn’t speak until the age of 5, stuttered until age 12, but then went on to graduate with honors with a triple major. However, emotionally she felt stuck, depressed, and unsafe. She was isolating herself, especially the week before her cycle, when she would be consumed with rage, hopelessness, and resentment, sob hysterically on the ground, and feel possessed or like an out-of-control failure. At times she had suicidal thoughts and wondered why she existed.
About halfway through our first appointment, I excused myself to get a water dose of Ignatia 1M for her. Within 5 minutes of taking the remedy, she said, “I don’t know if this is possible, but I feel less raw; it’s like the cracks have been filled. My throat and chest feel lighter, even.” We finished the intake, I corrected her hiatal hernia after her physical exam, and I explained that although NET is not typically part of the first appointment, I felt like she could greatly benefit from a session.
The statements we addressed included, “I’m OK forgiving myself” and “I’m OK being worthy,” both of which had original events related to feeling unlovable and rejected at age 15 and 14, respectively. She reported feeling “even lighter” and “hopeful” after this session.
Prescription: Ignatia 1M (3 pellets per day), 5 drops of a liquid that facilitates cellular detoxification, fish oil during the first half of her menstrual cycle, then evening primrose oil during the second half.
Days later, lab results showed her luteal phase progesterone level to be 6 ng/mL. Although this level is not low compared to the lab’s reference range (1.8-23.9 ng/mL), I have found that women usually feel best in the 10-20 ng/mL range. Thus, this was likely contributing to her PMS symptoms. One 100-mg capsule of sustained-release progesterone, taken nightly on days 14-28 of her cycle, was added to her treatment plan.
Two Weeks Later
Megan reported a night-and-day difference for the better. Every day now she was feeling more grounded, motivated, energetic, less isolative, and noticing better personal boundaries. She would have sharp pelvic pain before her cycle and feel mildly grumpy, yet she didn’t have the usual intense feelings of hopelessness with weeping. Her sleep was better, she had little to no anger, she no longer felt the sensation of gastric fullness, and the stuck sensation in her throat was better.
Just as Dr Hahnemann stated, it is possible to achieve ideal results by restoring health quickly, gently, and ongoing in a reliable and harmless way when naturopathic principles are honored.
- Pert CB, Ruff MR, Weber RJ, Herkenham M. Neuropeptides and their receptors: a psychosomatic network. J Immunol. 1985;135(2 Suppl):820s-826s.
- NETMindBody: NET relieves symptoms related to mind/body stress. Available at: netmindbody.com. Accessed March 9, 2019.
- Monti DA, Stoner ME, Zivin G, Schlesinger M. Short term correlates of the Neuro Emotional Technique for cancer-related traumatic stress symptoms: a pilot case series. J Cancer Surviv. 2007;1(2):161-166.
- Monti DA, Tobia A, Stoner M, et al. Neuro-emotional technique effects on brain physiology in cancer patients with traumatic stress symptoms: preliminary findings. J Cancer Surviv. 2017;11(4):438-446.
- MacLean PD. The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions. New York, NY: Plenum Press; 1990.
Shawna Eischens, ND, (“Dr E”) is a 2012 graduate of SCNM who practices at Rockwood Natural Medicine Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ. As a primary-care physician who focuses on mental and digestive health, Dr E is passionate about helping people realize their greatness to achieve OPTIMAL physical and emotional health. Outside of the office, she enjoys volunteering with Naturopathic Medicine Institute and Big Brothers Big Sisters, as well as exploring nature via foot, bike, car, or boat.