Symptoms Are Not The Disease

© 2009 Dr. Peter J. Prociuk, M.D. All Rights Reserved

Dr Hahnemann did not equate symptoms with a disease.  He saw the disease as a disturbance of the vitality of the organism which expressed itself in a variety of different symptoms. Hahnemann’s approach was unique. He looked at the totality of the symptom picture as defining the illness. For example, a patient may complain of abdominal bloating and discomfort after meals, feeling very hungry shortly after eating, bowel irregularity, weakness and lethargy in the late afternoon. The patient may suffer from frequent colds and sinus infections, and headaches that involve mostly the right side; in addition, the patient has an usually strong craving for sweets and feels very intimidated by authority figures; but while at home, this same patient is very bossy. In a homeopathic evaluation, all these seemingly disparate symptoms and personality traits are considered to be the expression of a single disturbance deep within the organism. In a conventional medical approach to treatment, different medications would be prescribed to deal with each of these symptoms as though they were not related to one another. Dr Hahnemann’s intention was to discover a means to arouse the natural healing response of the body which would heal the underlying disturbance, and as a consequence all the symptoms would spontaneously improve or resolve.

Understanding the Total Symptom Picture

This is a striking and fundamental difference from a conventional approach. The total symptoms picture is the basis of homeopathy. A disease-oriented conventional approach sees the dysfunction of different organs as different diseases, requiring different medications or procedures. Furthermore, in conventional medicine, all diseases are treated similarly for all people. For example, all asthmatics treated conventionally will receive essentially the same medicines, no matter how much difference there may be in their individual symptoms. An asthmatic with gastric ulcers will be treated for two different diseases. An asthmatic whose primary symptom is coughing upon physical exertion will get the same bronchodilator as one who is awakened by wheezing early in the morning. They all have a diagnosis of asthma-- and that is what defines conventional medical treatment. The symptom differences between the asthmatic who coughs on exertion, the asthmatic who wheezes in the morning and the asthmatic with gastric ulcers are at the very heart of homeopathic prescriptions. In homeopathic treatment, each of these patients would receive a different remedy. The homeopathic practitioner takes in consideration all the symptoms which make a complete individual picture when prescribing a single homeopathic remedy or sequence of remedies.

A common perception is that antibiotics cure infections.  The conventional approach looks at a bacterial infection as a disease and makes the claim that an antibiotic will cure the disease.  This is a superficial analysis.  The disease is really the weakness in the patient that allowed the infection to occur.  The infection is only a symptom of the disease which will have other manifestations in the same patient.  Accordingly, antibiotic treatment is suppressive only whereas a homeopathic approach aims to strengthen the underlying weakness. 

If the electrical current in your home is faulty, every appliance will be compromised in some way.  The problem is not with the appliance but with the current.  A conventional approach will look at each appliance as a separate malfunction.   The homeopathic approach looks at the malfunction of the appliances as a totality and aims to restore the current to normal.

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