Chloride of Barium
Ba Cl2 2H2O
The essential features
This remedy, though presenting many similarities in its gross symptomatology with Baryta carbonica, yet has features of its own. It has all the main symptoms of Baryta carbonica including the difficulty in concentration, the dulness of mind, the confusion, the indecision and the immaturity. The Baryta muriatica patient is confused in her mind. She does not answer properly, as if she were thinking of something else at the moment. She has great difficulty in concentration while studying or reading, and difficulty in learning, comprehension, and memory. She is irresolute and indecisive, and very similar to Baryta carbonica in her immaturity. There is anxiety about the future, and a rapid progression to a state of idiocy.
The primary action of Baryta muriatica, which presents us with the unique picture of this remedy and on which I shall now focus, is concentrated on three particular areas: the nervous system, the vascular system and the glands.
The effect on the central and peripheral nervous system
This is primarily a “convulsive remedy” in the broadest sense of the word. When the nervous system is affected we see a hysterical person with a tendency to convulsions, twitchings or choreic movements. The picture one gets from this remedy is of a build-up of unexpressed energy that suddenly erupts in the form of hysterical fits, epileptic fits, convulsions or twitchings. During such a hysterical fit the patient feels a tremendous anxiety that almost prevents her from breathing and her tendency is to fall down on the ground and roll there in agony. Another condition can be great anxiety, with pressure in stomach, nausea and retching, where the patient must bend double in order to feel better.
Baryta muriatica patients experience the strange feeling that the legs are non-existent, and have the illusion of walking on their knees without legs. This is accompanied by the tendency to bend over and roll on the ground.
As an example of such a case you may see a woman who suspects that her husband is not interested in her any more, or who believes that her husband is having an affair with another woman. On the least provocation, following the mildest remark from her husband, she goes into a hysterical state. She falls to the ground in a semiconvulsive state of anxiety. The idea underlying this behaviour is that she falls to her knees, totally helpless in front of the all-powerful master, as she is incapable of a better reaction.
A feature of this remedy is the lack of a sense of humiliation, prevalent in Natrum muriaticum. On the contrary, the Baryta muriatica patient is essentially humble without any egotistic element whatsoever. Baryta muriatica is weak-willed and weak-minded, and therefore does not have the courage to voice an argument or to carry a discussion to demand her due. She feels better when she stoops down or bends over physically – but also when she yields and submits mentally. The anxiety is better when stooping, the stomach and abdominal pains are better when stooping. She must “lean over” in order to feel better, and, most remarkably, has an aggravation of symptoms when “rising up”.
It should not be forgotten that this behaviour is exhibited by a person whose mind is confused, whose understanding is restricted and who is timid and cowardly, needing protection to face the challenges of life. These patients easily develop fears of people and of evil; they indulge in few social contacts and little conversation, being by nature suspicious and averse to company. The insecurity that dominates the patient causes her to cultivate excessive sexual excitement in her imagination, should she fall in love with somebody, with the result that the excess of excitement can lead to explosions of apparent acute insanity. In fact the patient is suffering from manic-depression, with the mania state manifesting every time she falls in love when the sexual excitement that is generated cannot be fulfilled.
The Baryta muriatica woman characteristically shows an exaggerated attachment to the loved one, with a tendency to suffocate him. A typical result will be an increase in sexual desire and excitement on her part, with a corresponding decrease of interest on the part of her husband. It is this state of conflict that brings about the syndrome of “acute insanity from sexual excitement” that is one of the main characteristics of this remedy.
The imagination turns to sexual matters and produces a frenzied desire for sexual intercourse, so much so that it will lead women to nymphomania and men to satyriasis. The sexual element is particularly strong in this remedy, and a great deal of its symptomatology originates from this feature, quite unlike Baryta carbonica where the sexual element is by no means so important.
The prevalent symptoms during the Baryta muriatica state of insanity are confusion, disorientation, and idiotic or childish behaviour. There are delusions where familiar things seem strange, and where the locality around the patient seems changed. Out of all the Baryta’s, this remedy is the fastest to bring about a state of idiocy, of imbecility, with all the characteristics of the disease. The facial expression is idiotic, with drooping jaw and drooling saliva, the eyes are vacant. This state can be accompanied by epileptic fits, chorea or swollen glands. It is similar to Cicuta in this respect.
The convulsive tendency, as mentioned, is a very important feature for this remedy. The convulsions characteristic of Baryta muriatica are as follows: convulsions with headache, deafness, vomiting and burning in the the stomach; convulsions with full consciousness, with electric shocks; clonic spasms. Periodical attacks of convulsions, with excessive jactitation of the limbs. Convulsions, accompanied by shocks which shake the whole body. Convulsive tremor and twitches. Epileptic convulsions. Convulsions from worms. Convulsive trembling. Further important symptoms include:
Violent chorea, the arms and legs are in constant jerking so that she cannot feed herself nor walk. The face is spasmodically twitched, and the the speech is unintelligible. All the spasmodic movements cease during sleep.
Voluntary muscular power gone but perfectly sensible.
Multiple sclerosis and other neuro-muscular disorders will fit its picture, as do icy coldness of the the body, with paralysis, paresis after influenza and diphtheria, paralytic weakness and left sided paralysis.