Learn more about homeopathy for mental health by this excerpt from our Clinical Director
Is Homeopathic Medicine Right For You? The qualities of a good candidate for homeopathic medicine are:
Awareness of symptoms, insight into the fact that they have a health problem, and readiness to accept help.
Ability to verbally express and clearly articulate their thoughts, feelings, and physical symptoms.
Consistency with following treatment regimens.
Commitment to following up every month until symptoms are resolved (usually takes 1/4 of the time that the illness has been present to resolve the illness.
How effective is homeopathy? About 80-90% of our patients feel better within the first month of treatment. Homeopathic medicine can be very effective. We will know within 2-4 weeks whether you are on the right track with your protocol. We typically follow up a month after starting the protocol and make adjustments as needed.
The same high efficacy rates apply in treating acute flu or other acute infectious disease with homeopathy. When homeopathic hospitals existed in the past, the Spanish flu of 1918 was treated with homeopathy with a 98% success rate, much higher than the current treatment options for flu. Yet, there is not enough media telling people to take Influenzinum for prevention, and see a reputable homeopathic practitioner for treatment of their cold and flu symptoms, so people have to search to find out, or spread the word themselves if they already know how much homeopathy can help.
Does homeopathy have side effects or adverse effects? Homeopathic remedies do not typically cause any side effects. However, we do acknowledge that some people are highly sensitive to homeopathic remedies, and need to use small, infrequent doses, in order to have the optimal response. Even gentle remedies can cause side effects or problems for sensitive individuals, if used with a dosing method that is too frequent. In addition, some people find that their symptoms get worse before they get better. We call this a 'therapeutic aggravation' of symptoms, and is a sign that the body is having an initial adjustment reaction to the remedy, and that improvement is likely to follow. In order to prevent this flare up from happening, we often will start with a single dose, wait a few days to watch for any initial reaction, and then go ahead with daily doses if the remedy is well tolerated. Most of our patients find that there are no side effects from remedies at all, and that daily doses can be taken without any issues.
Can this treatment replace my medications? Many of our patients prefer to use an integrative approach with both conventional and natural medicines, and this can work very well. If you are taking medication, we usually continue your medication while starting homeopathic treatment, because we do not want to change two things at once. Our doctors are trained in both homeopathic and conventional medicines, so they can help establish a safe taper protocol for your medication if and when that is appropriate for you. They can also work as a team with your psychiatrist or therapist.
About 80% of people with bipolar II, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, or depression can taper off medications completely, and just use homeopathic and natural supplements to maintain balance. This varies based on the severity of the symptoms, the duration of use of medications, and the ability of the patient to manage stress. In cases of schizophrenia, schizoaffective, or bipolar I, medications can sometimes be discontinued completely, but it is not recommended. We generally advise patients with these conditions to remain on a low dose of a medication to maintain overall stability, and work toward simplifying the regimen over time. For example, several of our patients start treatment on 3 or more medications, and are able to taper to a low dose of just one of them and use homeopathic medicine as the main method of stabilizing symptoms. This allows for the best of both worlds of medicine, while minimizing side effects.
Will I have to use homeopathic medicine indefinitely? Not necessarily. The idea behind homeopathic medicine is that it helps you achieve a state of greater health. This means that, with time, you can need less and less treatment because your symptoms have reduced in intensity and frequency. Follow ups can be spread out more, and eventually the homeopathic medicine can be taken as needed if symptoms arise, instead of daily. Many patients go into remission for long periods of time and need little to no treatment during these periods. Sometimes there are relapses as well. We have to be realistic and look for warning signs of returning symptoms, so that we can prevent problems from arising in the future. By keeping in good communication with your doctor if you see these warning signs of symptoms returning, we can follow up and restart the treatment protocol to get things back on track.
Will I use one homeopathic remedy or several different remedies at once? We use one homeopathic remedy at a time to treat multiple symptoms. Remedies change as often as your symptoms change. We treat the current state as it presents, and then change the potency of the remedy if you stop improving. It is not uncommon for patients to respond to a potency of a remedy for about 4-8 weeks, and then we may change the potency. This is why we follow up about once per month. In more severe cases of acute mania or acute suicidal depression, we have needed to change potencies every few days to manage the symptoms. We've also seen patients respond well to a single first prescription and never need to change the remedy or potency, and reach full remission just taking their first-ever prescription. This sometimes happens in acute illness, or short-term problems in children or adults. It is unusual in adults with long-term conditions to never need to change the potency or change to a new remedy. Some people alternate between 2 or 3 remedies based on the symptoms that arise.
How long will I need to be treated? A general estimate is that the treatment takes about 1/4 of the time as the total duration of the illness. This is not a promise; it is an approximation based on what we have seen in other patients. It may take only a few months, or longer than expected, depending on your stress level and general health. Because homeopathy can help to reduce intensity and frequency of symptoms over time, the frequency of visits and the need to change medicines can be reduced as things improve, even if the symptoms are not yet totally gone. Many patients become more stable right away, and then as we reduce medications, we usually need to adjust the homeopathic medicine to deal with the physical and mental stress of the medication taper. Usually what we see is that if any relapses happen, they are typically milder and shorter than before starting treatment. The symptoms interfere less with life, and the person feels more functional.
If it works so well, why isn't homeopathy being promoted in mainstream medicine? The only reason naturopathic medicine has not been promoted in the mainstream healthcare field is misunderstanding, misinformation, and lack of information about what we do. There is not a lot of money in naturopathic medicine relative to the drug industry. Most NDs do not have enough funds to run a major ad campaign to get the word out in a way that equals what the drug industry can do. Integrative medicine is starting to gain more acceptance in certain fields, such as cancer care and sports medicine. In psychiatry, there is some opposition to integrative medicine because of conservative educational systems that do not teach about the value of nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle, and certainly do not understand homeopathy well enough to endorse it. The reality is that patients and their loved ones are often dissatisfied with all that the conventional medical model has to offer, and search for alternatives. As patients' demand for alternative medicine increases, conventionally trained psychiatrists and MDs will hopefully start to see the value of an integrative approach, and start to open up to it so that we can all work together for the benefit of our patients.
How much will treatment cost? For information regarding costs, please refer to our Homeopathy page on the process of the visits. The homeopathic medicines cost $8-10 per vial, which typically lasts over a month. We are not contracted with any health insurance plans, and Medicaid and Medicare do not cover the cost of the visits. We cannot offer a sliding scale for our services at the time.
What if I am out of state? Many of our clients consult with us from another state or country. You may choose to travel to our office for the initial consultation, or we can do a phone or video consultation. It is essential to have a local practitioner who can perform physical examinations, run labs if needed, and manage any medications you are taking. For clients living out of state at the time of the consultation, we will be acting as educational health consultants rather than in the capacity of a doctor, and cannot diagnose, prescribe or manage medication, or provide superbills for insurance reimbursement. Certain states in the US have laws against practice of naturopathic medicine or have a history of litigation against naturopathic providers, so that limits us from treating patients who live in those states. For people living in South Carolina or Tennessee, we cannot schedule an initial consultation with you at this time. We recommend contacting a local mental health provider in your state, such as a holistic MD or psychiatric nurse practitioner.
"Homeopathy cures a larger percentage of cases than any other form of treatment and is beyond doubt safer and more economical." Mohatma Ghandi