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Dec 25, 2011

Epilepsy of Long Standing By Dr. H. Gouixon

This Case Orginally published in "Allg. Hom. Ztg,, vol. Lxix.
Vol. xxm, No. xci.—January, 1865" and same year published in "THE BRITISH JOURNAL OF HOMEOPATHY VOL 23"


August E—, of T—, aet. 28, at present of stout appearance and well-formed; when one looks at the shape of his skull he gives the idea of a good-natured man of limited intellect. When he was ten years old he had, one day in school, without appreciable cause, a violent epileptic attack. He lost consciousness completely, and nearly twenty-four hours elapsed ere he recovered from the paroxysm. At that time he was of quite a different character of body from what he is now. In fact, his acquaintances described him as a wretched, withered-looking little fellow. He was put apprentice to a tailor for some years, and afterward became servant to a landed proprietor. Suddenly, about fourteen years after the first single attack, he had again a violent outbreak of epilepsy. Curiously enough the fits now came on periodically, one occurring every Saturday, or at latest Sunday. The fits seldom kept off for a fortnight. On the 15th April, 1864, he sought my advice. He had a curious appearance. His face covered with small and large, old and fresh scars, like that of a warrior, all reminiscences of fits of epilepsy he had had, these fits taking him so suddenly that he fell to the ground as if struck down. On this account he had been obliged to give up his place as servant long since. His tongue presents not only several scars from wounds inflicted by biting, but the anterior third is, in fact, only connected with the remainder of the tongue at one side, whilst the middle of this third is still further removed from the rest of the tongue by a complete fissure. The patient asserts that he has an attack now once a week. Previous to the fit he experiences peculiar jerks in the body, and hears distinct voices, saying in rapid succession,  "Ja, ja, ja, ja," or else he has roaring noises in the head. The premonitory symptom, known as "aura epileptica," is absent. Although, in general, as is often the case, the fit is followed by great prostration and sleep; still, occasionally, he is cheerful, and quite himself immediately after the fit. The fits are not connected with any particular time of the day. Sometimes they come on in bed in the morning, sometimes while he is at work, fetching water, &c. The complexion intimates fullness of blood and congestion. The conjunctiva are very red. Speech is difficult for him (perhaps partly owing to the split tongue); he betrays a certain amount of laziness, and a constant smile gives him the appearance of a great amount of good humour or commencing moria. He confesses that in former years he used to masturbate excessively, and this circumstance I regard as of much more importance in an anamnestic point of view, since other possible causes, such as hereditary tendency, wounds, mental affection, excesses of other kinds, &c., are wanting.

In consideration of the present physical and psychical state, of the existing plethora, the attacks of giddiness depending thereon, the illusions of hearing, which amount to actual hallucinations, the difficulty of speaking and thinking, I considered Causticum to be the most appropriate remedy. I moistened sugar of milk with three drops of the 3rd dilution and divided it into eight powders, one to be taken every night at bed-time.

A fortnight afterwards the patient reported, with visible joy, that a fit had occurred, but that it was much milder than usual. I did not attach much importance to this. After the continued use of this remedy (waiting always a week without medicine) the attacks became not only always milder, so that the fourth and fifth (since commencing the medicine) consisted only of a transient "jerk" and at length they went off completely. Whereas, formerly, an attack occurred every eight days, the patient has now been a quarter of a year without one, a result certainly deserving of notice.

That there cannot be here a question of a cure by nature is very evident. There may be many self-deceptions among the records of homoeopathic cases, many pneumonias, many acute catarrhs of the stomach, cured in an equally short time without Aconite and Pulsatilla, but all the more striking are cases like the above, of which it would be absurd to allege, after the epileptic fits had occurred regularly every week for six years, that left to themselves they should rapidly decline in intensity from the 15th April, 1864, and after about five weeks quite disappear. It is not requisite to be an adherent of the post hoc ergo propter hoc, still where the facts are so, then the favorable issue of the disease must be solely ascribed to the remedy employed. In similar cases Causticum has already been useful. Perhaps in course of time we may be able to determine with precision, the whole series of epilepsies for which Causticum may be universally acknowledged and employed as the specific.

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