Homeopathy – Hierarchy of Symptoms

In a previous article we looked at the importance of disease symptoms and what they mean in the course of treatment. But what symptoms are important and how do they rank in terms of selecting a homeopathic remedy?
In many long-term chronic conditions there may be innumerable symptoms so what are the characteristics of symptoms that help a homeopath decide on a remedy, or course of remedies, for an individual?
The following bullet points are a hierarchy of symptoms which helps the homeopath make a decision on a remedy. A homeopath needs to work down the hierarchy of symptoms until his patient’s symptoms match with a hierarchy level. Do we have an etiology of the symptoms, do we have a diagnosis of the disease, is there a sudden onset of symptoms, and so on?
On finding the level for an individual a limited number of remedies are indicated from which a selection would be made. Once the hierarchy level of the patient’s symptoms is determined it may not be necessary to consider symptoms lower in the hierarchy except to confirm a remedy choice.
• Etiology (causation) of a disease and where symptoms start from. This is usually ‘ailments from’ or ‘never well since’ a certain trauma, event or illness. It could be grief from a death in the family, a divorce, an accident, withdrawal of a teenager due to bullying or never well since mononucleosis.

• Diagnosis or what is the condition. Is the disease condition known – mumps, arthritis, gallstones, asthma? Take a symptom like diarrhea, so many illnesses have it. Is it food poisoning, Crohn’s disease, stage fright? Knowing the symptom is not enough; the homeopath needs to know what’s wrong.

• Sudden onset. A sudden onset of symptoms may lead to an immediate consideration of remedies such as Aconite or Belladonna

• Delusions and strange/rare and peculiar symptoms including the most recent symptom.
o Delusion of being poor, being pursued, being not appreciated….
o Symptom that is bizarre, weird
o Recent symptom. Hering’s law says that healing takes place in reverse order so that the most recent symptom goes first (a remedy matching that symptom is essential)
o Peculiar or strange to the disease. It is normal to have thirst with a fever so thirst is expected, but fever without thirst is characteristic. Burning pains better for heat rather than the normal better for cold.
o A normal symptom but excessive
o Symptoms you would expect to be there but are not there or only slightly. A visibly sore throat without or with little pain.
o Symptom is a keynote of a remedy. Give that remedy.
o Symptom is characteristic by its concomitant. Vomiting and diarrhea at the same time.
o Alternating symptoms. As one goes away, the other one comes back
o Symptoms to be complete require sensation (feeling; burning, stinging), location (where located; heart, GI tract, skin) and modalities (what makes the symptom better or worse).

• Mental symptoms. Symptoms like poor concentration, confusion, irresolution, forgetfulness….

• Emotional symptoms. Symptoms like fear, crying, anger, whining, anxious, throwing things…

• Physical generals. Symptoms that start with the word “I”; I’m thirsty, I’m cold, I’m nauseous, I want to sleep….

• Physical local symptoms. Symptoms that start with the word “my”; my leg hurts, my throat is sore, my eyes itch, my feet are cold…

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