Baryta carbonica children have a characteristic appearance which includes an enlarged belly — they are not fat but have a marasmic appearance like Calcarea carbonica. Baryta carbonica is famous for glandular swellings, and often in these children the tonsillar enlargement is so large as to make the swallowing of food difficult, and to force them to breathe through their mouth. This open-mouthed expression gives them somewhat of a “stupid” look which is at the same time rather serious and rather vacant, as if they can never quite figure out what is happening around them.
If you have a child who looks marasmic, has tremendously swollen cervical glands, with frequent tonsilitis, very swollen tonsils, and you see the child does not have the development of a normal child for his age, you almost certainly have a case of Baryta carbonica, even though the parents may tell you how intelligent the child is. There is always a tone of immaturity, especially in the voice and mode of talking which resembles that of a baby, and you will surely see some other aspects of Baryta carbonica in them.
Yet if the mind is primarily affected you will see that they are backward children. They are very timid and shy. They do not grasp the situations in which they find themselves, and therefore feel very insecure. For instance, if they want a drink of water, they will go and whisper in their mother’s ear. On the first day of school the child cries, clings to its mother, and does not want her to leave. When left at school it throws a fit, and this is repeated every day for months. They feel particularly threatened and fearful with strangers. When strangers are present, they cling to their mother or hide behind her or the furniture. They peek out for a little while at the doctor and then withdraw again. The child may go and hide for he thinks that all visitors laugh at him. The presence of strangers aggravates to such an extent that the child may start coughing in their presence. These children will be resistent to gentle coaxing, remaining hidden behind their mother. If one goes to them and takes them by the hand or gives them a forceful command, they either emerge in a fearful state or they start crying. In the interview one rarely hears these children speak a word. One gets the information primarily from gestures or subtle signs, and even that with difficulty. When one tries to physically examine such children, they withdraw, resist and if you force a bit they cry. Baryta carbonica children don’t like interference from strangers, although they are very docile and obedient where their own parents are concerned.
The mother will notice that her child seems to suffer from a lack of concentration. When he plays with a toy, he seems to pay only superficial attention and then loses interest. He seems unable to concentrate or apply his mind. Often the child may sit without playing at all. He has no interest in the toys around him and just sits staring, inactive. This child is also late learning to talk and walk. One may stand him on his feet to encourage him to take a few steps, but he does not seem to comprehend that he is supposed to put one foot in front of the other. This mental inefficiency will create difficulties when another child comes into the family. The Baryta carbonica child feels inferior to other children and responds with a type of jealousy. This jealousy is not overt but is displayed by a variety of physical disorders such as loss of energy, enuresis, hair loss, periodical fevers and embarrassed nail biting. The Baryta carbonica child can also be rather fearful. Nightmares are very frequent in Baryta carbonica; the child may awaken terrified and in a panic. However, he does not seem to understand why he has awakened nor why he is afraid. In this aspect there can be a similarity to Stramonium.
When this child reaches school age, his problems become more visible. It is not unusual to hear that a Baryta carbonica child has repeated several school years. His memory is very poor; he cannot remember what he has just heard or read. The mind breaks down even to the point of forgetting words (Ph-ac.). Consequently, he does very poorly at school, even though he applies himself. He willingly sits with the parents and studies his lessons. With their guidance he seems to be able to repeat the lesson almost word for word, but by the next day his knowledge seems to evaporate as he goes in for his test.
Baryta carbonica children tend to be rather passive. They do not make friends nor play with other children. They prefer to stay passively at home. They can sometimes suffer an irritability which may lead them to break their own favorite possessions. Normally, though, they are shy and easily repressed. Adults also occasionally exhibit anger, but at the same time will display a degree of cowardice. This anger can also be malicious. They may be furious at trifles, exemplifying the immaturity and narrow-mindedness of Baryta carbonica. There will sometimes be spells of great despondency and grieving over the merest trifle, where the patient goes off alone and sobs and cries as though he had no friends in the world.
The antisocial streak remains throughout all the stages of Baryta carbonica.
Children and adults alike prefer to stay home in familiar surroundings. They may fear to stay alone, and yet they are averse to company. They feel better when alone. When in company they can be very critical of others but will never voice criticism. In general Baryta carbonica does not talk much, or may prefer not to talk at all. However, a keynote for this remedy is extreme talkativeness during pregnancy or during menses.
They often become very attached and cling to close family members. This attachment explains why Baryta carbonica people can have anxiety about others — they are fearful of losing their protectors, the people to whom they cling for help and advice.
In a case of mild pathology, the Baryta carbonica individual may finish school without real difficulty, the tendency for mental decay remaining dormant. If the pathology is centered on the physical body alone then you may even have a briliant student.
In a non constitutional type needing this remedy as a first prescription, we may for instance give Badiaga to a child who, while doing very well at school, suddenly and without apparent reason stays behind and has difficulties in comprehending and remembering his lessons, and where in general one sees clearly a backward movement.
Baryta carbonica will be needed in cases of autistic children who present the following picture: muscles lacking in tone so much so that they cannot stand even for a few seconds without support. The head falls to the side. The fingers cannot close upon an object placed in her hand. Vacant eyes turn and move about incessantly, never resting for a second upon any object. The child obviously does not recognise anything. Lack of response to your attempts to bring bright objects to his attention, or to your shouts. This is a perfect picture of total passive retardation with very little action apart from a general restlessness, especially of the eyes. You will have difficulty in differentiating such a state from Cicuta.