Homeopathy and Behavioral Problems

Aggression, separation anxiety, obsessive behavior, self mutilation, phobias and submissive urination are just a few of the common behavioral problems seen in pets. Often, these are the reasons that animals are given up for adoption or killed. As a result, we are seeing a dramatic increase in the use of drugs such as Prozac, Elavil, Trexane and Clomicalm. Most of these medications are not approved for use in non- human species. Veterinarians usually combine medications with behavioral modification. Like all medications, antidepressants and anti anxiety drugs have many unwanted effects. Aggression, abnormal heart beat, bone marrow suppression and bizarre behavior. They may sufficiently control the symptoms, but they do not cure the underlying condition. Behavioral and emotional disturbances arise from imbalances in neurotransmitters. These are the chemical messengers used by the nervous system. Following is a list of a few neurotransmitter imbalances and some emotions for which they are responsible.

Reduced serotonin: Depression and psychomotor agitation Increased dopamine: Sense of persecution from outside sources Increased ACTH 6-7 amino acid fragment: Intense fear

These imbalances result from a malfunction of those cells that produce the chemical messengers. Drugs used to treat behavioral and emotional conditions do not correct cellular dysfunctions. They temporarily increase or decrease a particular neurotransmitter level creating a change in the associated emotional state. To cure such a condition completely, one must restore correct function to the cells. Once accomplished, no reason remains to continue giving any medication as the problem has been eliminated at its source.

Classical homeopathy is the best hope for curing these types of conditions. To treat such a condition homeopathically, one must attempt to find the cause of the dysfunction in that individual. Some common causes to consider are vaccinations, emotional traumas, physical traumas and suppression of other symptoms such as skin problems, digestive problems, etc. Other information necessary to select the correct homeopathic remedy is the pet's medical history, temperament, physical build, sensitivities, desires, urges and general nature. Once the correct remedy is found and given, neurotransmitter balance will return. The prognosis for most of these problems is very good if the correct remedy can be found. Since this is a functional problem and not generally associated with changes in the actual structure of the brain tissue, the problem can resolve in a relatively short time. It is possible that some gentle behavioral therapy will be necessary, but that should be done once the general emotional state has improved. Otherwise, suppression of the emotions may occur. This can lead to many more serious health problems. Drs. Ullman and Ullman have written several excellent books on the treatment of similar problems in humans. I highly recommend people with "problem" pets read Prozac Free, Ritilan Free Kids or Rage Free Kids. They will be very enlightening to those skeptical about homeopathy.

There are, in addition, nutritional supplements than can provide some stability and comfort while the homeopathic remedy is being sought. One example is L- theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and is very safe. A typical dose is 50-200 mg. two hours before an anticipated stress situation or 2-3 times daily in a chronic condition.

Russell Swift, DVM, HMC