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বৃহস্পতিবার, ৩১ ডিসেম্বর, ২০১৫

The Significance of Sleep and Dreams



The Significance of Sleep and Dreams
NATIONAL JOURNAL OF HOMOEOPATHY 1993 Jan / Feb Vol II No 1.
Dr Gunavante S M.
There is a saying in Marathi : "Mani Vase te Swapnee Dise" (ie that which resides in the mind is seen in the dreams). I do not know the origin of this profound truth. Probably it is the result of common observations as well as the teachings of the pioneering psychologists like Freud and Jung. These psychologists made a deep study of dreams and their interpretations, but in spite of all the work done, dreams remain as elusive as ever. It remains to the credit of Hahnemann that long before psychologists focused attention on the meaning of dreams, this aspect was not neglected while proving the drugs. Whenever the prover reported dreams, these were included in the Materia Medica. We have thus a whole chapter on dreams (drawn of course from Materia Medica) right from the first repertory, the Therapeutic Pocketbook of Boenninghausen, through Knerrs repertory (from Herings Guiding symptoms), the Kents Repertory and the most recent Synthetic Repertory by Barthel.
It is obvious that dreams occur from various conditions of the mind such as anger, fear, mortification, hope, wish fulfillment, fear of failure, of rejection, of being injured, of death, of various emotions like joy, humiliation; weird, ludicrous dreams; prophetic or clairvoyant dreams.
The difficulty in suing dreams in finding the similimum, lies in not knowing whether a dream has to be taken at its face value, literally, or symbolically, being an indirect expression of our emotions, fears, hopes, wishes etc. But one thing is certain, viz, that we may take them into consideration for our study of the remedy only if they occur repeatedly, over a period of time. From this point of view, it is worth differentiating the dreams given in the repertories according to the rank, since the grade of each remedy in the repertory is decided on the basic of their repeated observations by a number of provers, together with clinical confirmation. From my little experience, I would lay down five criteria for using dreams in our search for the similimum :
  1. The dream should occur repeatedly
  2. It should be in the first or at least the second grade in the repertory.
  3. The remedy selected should match with other peculiar and individualising symptoms of the patient.
  4. The interpretation of a symbolic symptom (dream) into a corresponding Dream Rubric in the repertory, could be made easy and accurate if the remedy which emerges from this interpretation matches with, or is in consonance with, the state of mind of the patient.
  5. If we do not find a Dream Rubrics which satisfies this condition of matching, we may find the matching symptom in the chapter on Delusions as these two facets of the mind cannot be entirely separate and treated as independent.
Reports of cases in which dreams were used as guiding or at least confirmatory symptoms are scarce. However, I will narrate a few which are within my knowledge. Let me quote Gibson Miller (Comparative Value of Symptoms in the Selection of the Remedy) : "Amongst our other generals are the effect of sleep and dreams- such as the aggravations after sleep of Lachesis and Sulphur, the aggravations from loss of sleep of Cocculus; and the great relief from sleep of Phosphorus and Sepia. Often a study of the dreams revealed the hidden key to the remedy; for in sleep, man is off his guard, and his subconscious self can assert itself. Under such circumstances the veil is often lifted so that we are able to apprehend to some degree, the deep and hidden mysteries of that disordered life we call disease. Of course, such dreams must be regular and persistent to make them of value, and great care must be taken to eliminate the effect of all external influence.
"I recall a case of aortic aneurysm, giving rise to pain and many other pressure symptoms. The patient had not the slightest idea what the disease was, yet he dreamt night after night, of pools and seas of blood, and so distressing was this that sleep was one nightmare. The other symptoms were valueless so far as the selection of the remedy was concerned; but, taking the dreams as a guide, I gave Solanum tuberosum aegrotans, which completely removed the dreams, and so relieved the pains that he went to his grave in peace". Dr Pierre Schmidt had once reported a case (of a stubborn complaint which I do not remember) which was very much helped with Thuja, to which he was led by persistent dreams of falling.
I had the experience of two cases (separated by five years interval) in which dreams of snakes was used as confirmatory characteristic of Arg-nit. The first was that of a young man of 35 years who had a mucous colitis, with bloody stools, with mucus, which had recurred after allopathic treatment. the patient had all the typical symptoms of Arg-nit such as anticipatory anxiety, craving for sweets, worse from heat and anxiety if time is set.
The next was a case of Retinitis Pigmentosa, due to which the patient was blind for all practical purposes. He was on leave for six months and with the ophthalmic surgeon having declared in his certificate of leave addressed to his employer, that "there is no treatment for this condition". The chances of his going back to work was very dim indeed. Peculiarly enough, the symptoms usually found for Arg-nit were absent in his case (except for agg from heat and desires for sweets). I could not locate even the usual anticipatory anxiety in him. Under such circumstances it was his repeated dreams of snakes which were protecting him, which clinched the issue in favour of Arg-nit. His vision improved steadily, till a point that he was only short of reading the small print in the newspapers. He resumed work in the office catching buses to and from alone. He could walk freely in the busy streets. Several years have passed and he still goes to office.
I had a third case recently, which again happened to be Arg-nit. However, there is no history of dreams of snakes in this case. Rather he had dreams of going up and down in the train (Borivali to Churchgate and back) without reaching his destination. He dreams of problems which go on increasing and never end. He could not come out of them. He compared this dream to that of a broken record. Not finding any rubrics in the Dreams chapter corresponding to this situation, I turned to delusions and found the nearest rubric to his state of mind (of want of self-confidence, fear of failures, Anticipatory anxiety of failure) to be "Delusion, fail everything will", or "Delusion succeed he cannot; does every thing wrong". The group of symptoms which were characteristic led me to Arg-nit under which the patient is improving.
Correspondence between the remedy state and the dream state; we shall end this article with a few illustrations to show how the state of the remedy corresponds to the dreams which it gives rise to in provers; with the dreams thus pointing towards the remedy state. Take an example of the first grade remedies (3 marks) in the rubrics-Dreams amorous, viz Amm-mur, Lach, Nat-carb, Opium, Phos-acid, Staph, Viola-tr. We will find that it is natural for each of these remedies to have amorous dreams because -
  • Amm-mur- It is adapted to patients who are fat, puffy and sluggish, with thin limbs, who are always tired. The reason in this case is unfulfilled sexual desire on account of being fat, flabby and weak.
  • Lachesis- has strong sexual desire without physical power.
  • Nat-carb-has incomplete coition. Increased sexual desire with priapism.
  • Nux-vom- Penis becomes relaxed during an embrace.
  • Opium- Exhaltation of the mind, vivid imaginations. Also spasmodic stricture of organ from drinking poorly fermented alcohol.
  • Phos-acid-Weak relaxed genitals suddenly during coitus, preventing emissions.
  • Staph- Persistantly dwells on sexual subjects.
  • Viola-tr- Schlegel used it with good effort in venereal affections. Suppressed Gonorrhoea. Involuntary seminal discharge with vivid dreams (Clarkes dictionary).
Symptoms of other remedies taken from Pathaks Materia Medica:
  • Dreams of asylum of insane- Lyss which is potentised saliva of a rabid dog.
  • Dreams of robbers - Nat-mur which has fear of robbers in its waking state, naturally it dreams of robbers in sleep, so much that he will not rest until a search is made of the house.
Sleep
Considering that every person must have at least six to seven hours of sleep in twenty-four hours, it is hardly necessary to stress that it plays a very important role in the maintenance of good health. No case taking can be complete unless it covers this aspect of the patients health. A thorough study of the Chapter on Sleep is therefore essential, without which the prescriber will miss the significant aspects which affect the patient. There are rubrics which cover almost all aspects of sleep. Some of the rubrics which I have found useful again and again are : Sleep disturbed; Position during sleep; restlessness; Sleepiness (with various Conditions); Sleeplessness before midnight, after midnight; Sleeplessness until a specified time, or after a specified time. Sleeplessness from thoughts, activity of mind; after waking. Unrefreshing sleep. Waking frequent; waking as from fright; waking late. Yawning, though a part of Sleep chapter, is not necessarily a part of sleep. Yawning rubrics may be consulted with in association with any other complaints. I have particularly found the rubrics very useful, viz. Sleepiness, Sleepiness in general, and Sleepless after waking (some people lie awake for even one to two hours after waking) and Unrefreshing sleep (he wakes up more tired after sleep than when he went to bed).

dispepsia-অগ্নিমান্দ্য
indigestion- বদহজম
starchy food-অনমনীয় খাদ্য
flatulence-বায়ু
predominantly- প্রধানত
predominant- উদীয়মান
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