Among the striking features of Opium is a class of complaints marked by painless, inactivity, and torpor. Many of the provers taking small doses had torpor, inability to realize or feel their surroundings, or to take in the nature of states and judge of things. Deception in vision, taste, touch; deception of the state he exists in; in his own realization; a perversion of all the senses with much deception.
The general characteristic is painlessness, but now and then an alternate state is produced, in which a small dose of Opium will cause pain, sleeplessness, inquietude, nervous excitability; the very opposite state from that produced in the majority of cases. The majority are constipated, but in some there is dysentery and tenesmus. The patient is sleepy, yet at times the drug is characterized by sleepless nights, anxiety, increased sensitiveness to noise, so that he says he can almost hear the flies walking on the wall, and hears the clock striking in the distant steeple.
It is generally supposed that in these opposite conditions one is primary and the other is secondary. This is true. e.g., those exhibiting stupor and painlessness will go into a state of increased insensibility, inquietude, anxiety, and irritability, and also one who has a state of increased sensibility first will have a docile state following. Some oversensitive provers will get a basilar headache in the first hour after taking a dose, so that they cannot raise the head from the pillow; they are paralyzed from it; the pain holds them down. This does not come on in most provers until the waning of a large dose. This has been debated over as the primary and secondary actions. What is the action in one is the reaction in another, but all are the effects of the drug, and all the actions that follow are the symptoms of the remedy.
The sluggishness and painlessness are most striking. The inaction is shown in the lack of reaction to the properly selected homeopathic remedy. It here completes with Sulphur . On studying the case you may find many Opium symptoms, and when given thus indicated, it rouses the system out of the state of sluggishness and causes reaction.
Ulcers which are perfectly painless, which do not granulate, and do not eat or spread, with numbness or lack of sensibility in the ulcer that ought to be sensitive; Opium will often heal. Insensibility in parts that are in a high grade of inflammation.
Paralytic conditions or paresis, partial paralysis, inactivity, sluggishness. Such a condition is found in the bowels so that they do not move, and the rectum fills with round, hard, black balls, which can be dug out with the finger or spoon. There is no activity, no ability to strain at stool.
The bladder is in a similar state. There is no ability to use the abdominal muscles; he cannot strain to urinate; retention of urine; accelerator muscles are in a state of paresis.
When drinking the esophagus seems to have no action and the fluid does not go down but passes out through the hose; a paresis, fluids go down the wrong way or out through the nose.
Weakness of limbs and muscles; weakness and paralysis.
Often there is a state of peace. Wants to be let alone. She tells you she is not sick; and yet she has a temperature of 105oF-106oF, is covered with a scorching hot sweat, has a rapid pulse; is delirious. You ask her how she is and she says she is perfectly well and happy; no pains or aches; wants nothing and has no symptoms. But the nurse tells you that the patient has passed no stool or urine. The face looks besotted, bloated, purple; the eyes are glassy and the pupils contracted. The brain is in a state of confusion, yet she can answer questions. Or the mental symptoms may be more marked and the physical condition less prominent; there is confusion of mind, delirium, loquacity, but this is rare, more commonly only talks when aroused; a condition of stupor in which the patient will say nothing and do nothing. Delirium with a happy turn of mind.
The stomach is in a state of undue warmth, sinking, all-gone, hungry, and this is not relieved by eating. He fills the stomach full and yet the faint feeling remains. The food sours in the stomach and is vomited. He can take no more food. He becomes covered with a cold sweat; great exhaustion; nausea, retching and the vomiting continues. This nausea is a trouble some symptom following the administration of Opium or Morphine. It is a prolonged vomiting and nausea. He can take nothing into the stomach and nothing will stop the vomiting for him. The homeopath knows the use of Chamomilla and one dose will give wonderful relief at once and stop the deathly sinking and nausea.
There is never any use for the crude Opium in the sick room. In surgery at times it is admitted that something seems necessary, and we will not quarrel with the surgeon. But in disease, in sick people, it is not necessary. It performs no use and in the end it is an injury; it prevents finding the homeopathic remedy. It has masked the symptoms and spoiled the case, and you cannot do anything for days.
Opium has been much abused and much has been learned about it, but this abuse has not helped much in its proving, for the individualizing symptoms are not obtained. Big doses cause gross effects, and the symptoms thus obtained are sometimes useful, e.g., in cerebral apoplexy with stertorous breathing, jaw dropped, pupils dilated or contracted, generally the latter, face mottled, purple, or hot, hot sweat, one-sided paralysis. You would wonder on seeing such a case whether he had been paralyzed, had Opium, injured himself in a fall or had been indulging in the bottle, and you would examine the case to distinguish. This is a mechanical trouble, there is pressure of blood on the brain. This alone may not kill but later on inflammatory action is set up around the clot. Opium causes a flow of blood to the brain, and when given homeopathically it checks this, and in six hours he will become rational, his skin cool, face normal color, pulse normal. We thus see the usefulness of the crude effects of Opium in giving us a picture of apoplexy.
Nervous headaches beginning in the back of the head and spreading over the whole face; worse in the morning. He feels as if his head were held down to the pillow by the intense aching pain in the base of the brain, and yet when he gets up he is unable to lie down again. This is common in women; a false plethora; excitable; going through pregnancy or menstruation; headache. The patient sits up and is unable to lie down. The pain begins in the morning and is so violent that the patient cannot move, cannot wink the eye, turn the head, cannot bear the least jar or the ticking of the clock; face is mottled, purple, blue; eyes injected. It is difficult to get symptoms from her. Opium will relieve at once.
But most of the complaints are painless.
It takes on the appearance of drinkers, besotted; fever with besotted countenance. Delirium tremens with awful anxiety, vomiting, congestive headache, contracted pupils; violent headache after drinking, exhaustion; not able to get out of bed; delirium. Most of the complaints are attended with stupor; lies in a stupor like apoplexy, cannot be aroused.
The Opium patient is full of convulsions. The patient wants to be uncovered, wants the cool air, the open air. Convulsions if the room is too warm. Opisthotonos; head drawn back; cerebrospinal meningitis. In a case of cerebrospinal meningitis we find convulsions approaching, opisthotonos, head drawn back, kicks the covers off, wants a cool room; skin red; face red and mottled, pupils contracted. Now if the mother puts that child into a hot bath, to relieve the convulsions, it will become unconscious and cold as death. If you are called to see such a case be sure to give Opium, and in twelve hours you will be astonished to see the state of quietude. It competes here with Apis. Puerperal convulsions.
A mental state appears in these constitutions. Fear and its results. The Opium patient, when not too stupid, rouses up as if startled, rouses up with the appearance of awful fear or anxiety. The old Opium eater is overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. If a dog jump at him suddenly, he will be thrown into convulsions, have diarrhea, fits of some sort, and it will be days and weeks before that fear is gone. Complaints from fear when the fear remains, or the idea of the fear remains, or the cause of it comes before the eyes. A pregnant woman is frightened and an abortion is impending, and the object of the fright continually looms up before her eyes. Epilepsy dating back to a fright, and that object comes up before the eyes before the attack comes on, and the fear of the fright remains. Hysterical attack; physical shock with diarrhea and sometimes constipation; retention of urine or return of the menstrual flow as results, or it may stop the menses for months. In these conditions there is great fear and the object of the fear remains before the eyes.
An Opium prover, when coming out from under the influence of the drug, sees frightful images, black forms, visions of devils, fire, ghosts, someone carrying her off, murder. Imagines that parts swell and that he is going to burst.
There is also a sensation of bodily well being; great happiness; great state of confidence in the first hours of the drug. Hence, complaints from sudden joy, anger, shame, sudden fright. Coffea has a similar state of beatitude. It is both a physical and mental beatitude in Opium. Opium and Coffea are related; they antidote each other.
Opium eaters like whisky drinkers are constitutional liars. They have no conscience left.
“Great sensibility to sound, light, and faintest odors.” “Drowsiness with headache, amounting almost to stupor.” “Marasmus; child wrinkled and looks like a little dried up old man; stupor.”
Old cases of lead poisoning. Pulsatilla cures the diarrhea following the abuse of Opium.