Importance of Family History in Homoeopathic Prescribing
My MD thesis was on importance of family history in prognosis of chronic diseases since then the topic has preoccupied myself as a practitioner of medical science. I tried reading each and every article and research work available which led me to an interesting field of Biogeneology discussion on which may wait for some other time.
Today let me discuss importance of family history from homoeopathic view point.
There has been a tendency our times to give more importance to the mental symptoms along with totality of symptoms while completely ignoring the Hahnemann's doctrine of chronic miasms.
By doing so we completely ignore history of development of doctrine of miasms. It was persistent failure of a well selected remedy in chronic cases which led Hahnemann to look for some fundamental cause and search his patients' past and family history.
We need to consider miasms and their practical application, using family history and the patient's symptoms to access the true similimum otherwise we are bound to face difficulties Hahnemann faced prior to 1816…(”Their beginning were promising, the continuation less favorable, the outcome hopeless”) when he started his in depth evolutionary anthropological study of chronic diseases which ended in his publication of Chronic Diseases in 1828.
Here I take the privilege to narrate a case from my whatever small experience in homoeopathic practice.
So just relaxed don't get over diagnosed and over treated.
Mrs.S.M a domestic help consulted me for her heel pain, skiagram shows bilateral calcaneum spur which is so troublesome that she cannot discharge her duties properly. She has consulted two of my colleagues previously both quality prescribers on consulting their prescriptions I found that while one have prescribed on the basis of pathology in consideration of local modalities, the other have prescribed the constitutional remedy, taking in account the generalities meanwhile she also consulted an orthopedic surgeon who have advised her conservative management and painkillers, the utter failure of both of my esteemed colleagues led me to take the case in detail, giving emphasis on past history and the family history only to find few cases of suicide and insanity in numbers of close relatives. This was a clear indication of syphilitic dyscrasia in background. Considering this background and bilateral symmetrical pathology I prescribed Syphillinum 200 with a marked relief of the symptom in next follow-up after two weeks patient continued on placebo for next two months with almost total disappearance of the troublesome pain, she was asked to report with a skiagram of both the feet in vain as she never showed-up afterwards and was presumed to be relieved of her complain and discharging her duties as domestic help properly.
It has been an observation of mine which is supported by the opinions of stalwarts that a bad family history (of multiple, grave and incurable diseases) doesn't promise a speedy cure and often a good prescription fought with difficulty Dr. George Vithoulkas in his The science of Homoeopathy states that if the family history reveals a strong history of cancer and diabetes, and a few relatives had been institutionalized for mental disorders. To a homoeopath, such a case is very quickly recognized to have a poor prognosis. Even the best laboratory examinations might reveal merely "osteoarthritis." Yet the homeopath knows that within a matter of years, such a patient is likely to develop a serious pathological ailment; even good homeopathic treatment will be fraught with difficulties. J.T.Kent at one place states that “patients arising out of families with many deep miasmatic influences — i.e., deaths at early ages from serious pathological changes, relatives with chronic debilitating diseases, severe mental disturbances in the family, etc. — can be expected to have more difficulty during the course of treatment.”
Finally we may conclude that difficult cases become more easy to prescribe upon only if family history of the case is given its due importance.