Seizure Disorders

Dr. A. U. Ramakrishnan


     Seizures, or convulsions, are paroxysmal episodes involving sudden, violent, involuntary contractions of a group of skeletal muscles and disturbances in consciousness, behaviour, sensation, and autonomic functioning. Seizures may be tonic or clonic, focal and unilateral or bilateral. The term epilepsy denotes a group of neurologic disorders characterized by the repeated occurrence of any of the various forms of seizures. Approximately two to four million Americans have epilepsy, and many of them are children.

      I have had very encouraging results in cases of epilepsy. The first reality one has to contend with is that the homeopathic medicine must be prescribed while the patient is concurrently on allopathic drugs. A lot of my homoeopathic colleagues have run into serious problems in trying to stop the allopathic anti-seizure medicines totally. The patient goes into very severe and frequent seizures and sometimes even into status epilepticus. Hence one has to work with homeopathy along with the allopathic drugs until a very satisfactory level of progress is achieved. Only then can the other drugs be gradually phased out. You have to explain this aspect to the patient at the very outset, and also prepare them for the long time frame in which you have to work due to this factor.

      For a homeopathic physician this can also pose a few problems. Basically, one feels very uncomfortable about the idea of applying two therapeutic modalities, which are fundamentally acting at cross purposes. A big compromise for a homeopath! We also run into a problem of assessing the presenting totality of symptoms. The whole picture is altered by the drugs that the patient is taking. Some of the symptoms could be the side effects of a drug. For instance, Tegretol or Mazetol have the side effect of memory loss. In a case where the patient is taking one of these drugs, you can't key in "loss of memory" as a symptom or rubric. The patient may look very dull, placid, and unresponsive, and all this could be due to the various cerebral depressant drugs that he is on.

      Hence, in such cases, try to go back to the days just prior to starting on the medication. That is the period, which should be used for your case taking of the mentals, generals, etc. And it is at this point you will get lot of information about the causative or triggering factors for the seizure, the type of onset, behaviour pattern before the attack, after the attack, various modalities and so on. I always start at that point and work backwards, since all those data are much more valuable than the current picture while on medication.

A questionnaire for epileptic patients:

  1. When did the first epileptic symptoms (such as aura, distraction, loss of consciousness, etc.) appear?
  2. What was the cause or causes? (Genetic trauma, about which you may need to ask the parent;inadequate oxygenation; effects of an accident, head injury, other injury or trauma.)
  3. How was the patient faring psychologically at that time; what was his state of mind? Was he depressed or saddened over some specific event?
  4. What were the primary symptoms or the symptoms that appeared first, and what are the symptoms now? Have these undergone changes over the years?
  5. How long does each symptom last? (Loss of consciousness, spasms, etc.)
  6. What are the accompanying symptoms (nausea, vomiting, headache, lethargy, etc.)? Descriptions of all such symptoms.
  7. The frequency of these symptoms (weekly, monthly, etc.)
  8. What is the genetic predisposition in this case? Have other members of the family had this disease?
  9. What can give rise to these symptoms? (Immediate causes, such as anxiety, worry or grief, the sun, loud music, etc.)
  10. What drugs has the patients taken for his ailment, at what times, and for how long a period? Is the patient now taking drugs or undergoing any other therapy? (This question also includes past homeopathic remedies.)

      One other factor, which becomes important, is diagnosis. Of course, this is true in any type of case, at all times, but much more so in seizures. Because actually, the very definition and diagnosis of epilepsy is very tricky, since there are so many overlapping conditions, which can pass for it. On one end of the spectrum there are hysterical fits, which are not epileptic seizures at all, and on the other end of the spectrum, it could be an intracranial tumor, which is causing the seizures. Determining this is very critical for treatment, management and prognosis. Thus it is quite important to first have the patient sent to a neurologist for a full investigation and evaluation before you start on the case.

CASE 1
N.G. A businessman, age 37, married with two children. Initial visit, November, 1996:

      The first seizure occurred in 1991, in his sleep. After quite a long time (they really don't know how long it had continued) his wife accidentally noticed him in a state of unconsciousness, frothing at the mouth, etc. She became very panicky and took him to the emergency room, where he was finally diagnosed with epilepsy and given drugs. Now they had come for homoeopathic treatment, since in spite of all the drugs, he was having seizures every other day.

      When he came to me on the first day with his wife, he was looking dull and uncommunicative. His wife did most of the talking. The symptoms that came up during the case taking made me clinch the drug straightaway, since they were almost like the keynote symptoms of the remedy: When I went into the past history, she told me that he had been always dull, uncommunicative, stubborn, and unrelenting, ever since they got married. According to his parents, he had been that way since childhood. The convulsions first started in the hands or the feet and almost invariably, eight out of ten times, his thumb would be tightly clenched. The aura is always in the form of trembling of the legs and, a little later, trembling of the abdominal muscles. Though this is not a typical description, you will find in the books under Cuprum metallicum that the "aura begins in the knees and goes to hypogastrium."

Plan :

      Cuprum metallicum 200C. In these types of cases, where the fits are occurring regularly, the kind of "acute or chronic?" case, my dosage goes like this: "one dose" is prescribed as three pills to be taken in the morning, noon, evening and night, four times in a day. This is repeated once a week, on day one, day eight, day 15 and day 22, and then the patient will report to me at the end of the month.

      The report after the first month was excellent. Where he used to have, on average, 12 to 15 attacks in a month, during the following month he had only had five attacks.

December, 1996 :

      Repeated Cuprum metallicum 200C, same instructions. Again, just the same five or six attacks.

January, 1997 :

Repeat.

Cuprum Metallicum

  • Clonic spasms, beginning in fingers and toes, and spreading over entire body;
  • Epilepsy: aura begins in knees and ascends; < at night during sleep; about new moon, at regular intervals (menses); from a fall or blow upon the head; from getting wet.
  • Convulsions, with blue face and clenched thumbs.

February, 1997 :

      Same story. I wanted to give a nosode to help improve the response. Whenever there is a plateauing and you want to give something to activate the patient's system, I have always found it helpful to interpose a nosode. In this case, he had lot of skin symptoms: dryness, cracking, itching, recurrent vesicular eruptions etc. I prescribed Bacillinum 200C, one dose, and no other medicine for the whole month. No changes were noted in February.

March, 1997 :

      Again I put him on Cuprum metallicum 200C, once a week. And for the first time, the grand news came that he'd had no fits whatsoever the whole month. The aura came quite a few times, but never materialized into a fit. Everyone was very thrilled because in the last five years, he had never been free from the attacks for one full month at a stretch.

April and May, 1997 :


      The state of well-being persisted, except for two very minor episodes which the patient and his wife felt were insignificant. The neurologist was also very happy. He was willing to cut back on the dosage of his medicines a little bit.

      From July, 1997 to November, 1998, I kept him on Cuprum metallicum 1M, one dose once a month only. By now most of the allopathic drugs had been withdrawn except for Tegretol, in an almost pediatric dose, which the neurologist felt that he take for at least three years.

      From December, 1998 onwards he has continued to take Cuprum metallicum 1M, one dose on alternate months, and he is doing well. The patient is now leading a very active life in his business and is a totally different person in his personality and his behaviour towards his wife and family. His wife is extremely happy and reports that she has never seen him so good as a man.

CASE 2

A. O., a two-year-old boy. Initial visit, June, 1997 :

      He had one sister who was doing well. There was no parental history of epilepsy or any other neurological problems. The child had been born healthy; labor and delivery were short and uneventful. The baby weighed eight pounds and, for his first one and a half years, met his milestones and enjoyed normal health.

      Suddenly one day the mother noticed the boy falling down for no reason as he was walking. The next day he developed a typical seizure and lost consciousness. When he was examined and all investigations were carried out, he was diagnosed as having epileptic seizures and was prescribed Dilantin and Gardinal.


Aethusa Cynapium

  • Epileptic spasms, with clenched thumbs, red face, eyes turned downwards, pupils fixed and dilated; foam at the mouth, jaws locked; pulse small, hard, quick.
  • Complete absence of thirst
  • Intolerance of milk: cannot bear milk in any form; it is vomited in large curds as soon as taken; then weakness causes drowsiness

Two important factors came up in the homoeopathic case taking:

      When he had the fits, he became unconscious and his eyes rolled down.

      An extreme intolerance to milk since infancy. On several occasions when given milk, he would throw up with such violence that once or twice he fell down limp, as if unconscious.) They had stopped even attempting to give milk.

Plan :

      Aethusa cynapium 200C, once a week for four weeks. Right from day one of starting Aethusa cynapium, the child did not have even one single episode for the next three months, whereas prior to that he was having minor episodes every week or ten days. The parents were extremely happy and they wanted to gradually phase out the allopathic drugs. The neurologist refused; he was of the opinion that the child should be on medication for at least the next three years.

      The parents made a bold decision to stop seeing the neurologist. We started tapering off the Dilantin and Gardinal. The next three months I kept the child on Aethusa cynapium 1M, once a week, and then for the following three months, Aethusa cynapium 10M, once a month. At that time all the allopathic drugs were stopped.

      Now it has been two and a half years since I started treating him and to date there have been no more seizures at all. He is an absolutely normal, sweet, smart little boy, totally adorable.

CASE 3

Ms. K. M., a single female, age 31, working as a software consultant. Initial visit, January, 1995 :

      She had a history of seizures for the previous years, since 1985. In spite of all the medication she was getting an attack once a month or once in 45 days.

Two symptoms stood out prominently, crying for the remedy :

      Every time she had a seizure she felt a rushing of blood to the head; it would often come a few seconds before the actual attack, like an aura, so that it was a kind of signal that the attack was coming. She would quickly go and lie down in a safe place so that she wouldn't get hurt. After the attack, she would get up with a terrible feeling of heaviness in her head and a splitting headache, and she had to take an analgesic to get over it.

      For many years, as far as she could remember, from her teens, she had been getting severe headaches, and had been examined, investigated with CT scans, etc. Her condition had been treated under various diagnoses like sinusitis, tension headaches, migraines, cluster headaches and so on, but she was never cured of it. The headaches were always one-sided, on either side. They were better by lying on the side of the headache, better by pressure. Even this was not such a striking, rare or peculiar modality. But what was very stricking is that she got headaches on the side not lain on. She would go to bed normally and when she woke up she would have a headache on the side not lain on.

Plan :

      Calcarea arsenicosum , once a week for four weeks.

February, 1995 :

      She did not have any attacks during this period of time, but she had previously experienced seizure-free intervals of more than a month. Repeat Calcarea arsenicosum .

April, 1995 :

      One minor attack occurred since the previous consultation. But the distinct improvement was in her headaches. They were much fewer, and milder. She said that she had never felt so good all her life since as far as she can remember, the dreadful headaches would almost ruin the whole working day and they used to come so often.

      At this stage, I wanted to give her a nosode. There was a childhood history of tuberculosis which had been successfully treated; she was also a very bubbly, chirpy woman, extroverted, fond of travel, meeting people, etc.

Plan :

      Tuberculinum bovinum 200C, one dose immediately and another to be taken in two weeks.

May, 1995 :

      No seizures.

Plan :

      Calcarea arsenicosum 200C.

      From April to September she was on the same medicines, and experienced no seizures at all. She reported that she was almost 90% cured of the headaches! Between October 1995 and June 1996, I gave her doses of Calcarea arsenicosum 1M, and we started cutting down the allopathic drugs at two-month intervals. Finally, she was off all allopathic drugs except for Tegretol, 100 mg per day. When we started, she used to take 1400 mg daily, along with a combination of four drugs, which had all been totally stopped by this time. She feels rather nervous about totally discontinuing the Tegretol, and I have told her that she can do it when she feels comfortable about it. I see her once every three or four months, and she is a totally normal person, a very successful and aggressive professional. It is now more than four years since she has had an episode of convulsions.

Calcarea Arsenica

  • Great mental depression.
  • The slightest emotion causes palpitation of heart
  • Rush of blood to head and left chest
  • Epilepsies, from valvular diseases of the heart.


Dr. A. U. Ramakrishnan MBBS, MF (Hom)
22, Rajarathinam Street
Kilpauk
Chennai - 600 010
Phone : 044 - 26412400 / 26412533
E Mail : draur@vsnl.com