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Homeopathic treatment of ADHD/ADD: Increased Precision with Polarity Analysis of
Swiss Association of Homeopathic Physicians and Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, KIKOM, University of Berne, Switzerland
Submission: February 13, 2017;; Published: August 13, 2018
*Corresponding author: Heiner Frei, Swiss Association of Homeopathic Physicians and Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, KIKOM, University of Berne, Switzerland; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to cite this article: Heiner Frei. Homeopathic treatment of ADHD/ADD: Increased Precision with Polarity Analysis of Perception Symptoms. J
Complement Med Alt Healthcare. 2018; 6(4): 555692. DOI: 10.19080/JCMAH.2018.06.555692
Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity (ADHD/ADD) is one of the difficult fields in pediatrics. Since the Swiss ADHD double-blind trial  has proved significant effects of homeopathy on impulsivity, attention deficit and hyperactivity/ passivity, the demand for this treatment has clearly increased. This paper introduces Polarity Analysis (PA), the method of remedy selection used in the study, which allows more precise matches between patient symptoms and homeopathic remedy, and leads in turn to better results. The procedure is demonstrated with a case history. Prospective outcome studies with short- and long term results in ADHD patients are included.
Keywords: Homeopathic treatment; ADHD/ADD; Hyperactivity; Polarity Analysis; Perception Symptoms; Conventional standard treatment is methylphenidate
ADHD/ADD consists of the main symptoms hyperactivity or passivity, impulsivity, and impaired attention . It has been diagnosed with increasing frequency since the 1990s. Conventional standard treatment is methylphenidate (MPD), an amphetamine derivative that is subject to narcotics legislation in most countries. In Switzerland the consumption of MPD was 10 kg in 1996 whereas by 2011 it had increased to 349kg, and there is no foreseeable reduction in this upwards trend . Many parents are uneasy with administering such powerful medication to their children and seek other treatments, especially homeopathy.
In contrast to other illnesses, it is usually difficult to elicit reliable symptoms for remedy determination in ADHD/ADD because the symptom set is often dominated by stereotypical complaints, while the characteristic disturbances of perception go unnoticed. Our treatment results with a conventional homeopathic procedures were chastening. Figure 1 illustrates these difficulties.
Several attempts were usually needed to find the most suitable remedy. In order to improve the precision of our
prescriptions, we analysed the symptom set of 100 successfully treated patients, who initially received ineffective remedies. The aim was to find out which symptoms had prevented a correct prescription on first attempt. The result was sobering: 77 symptoms, almost everything that we used so far for remedy selection, were found to be potentially unreliable, including
many mind symptoms (Table 1) .
In the search for more reliable symptoms we began to
experiment with perception symptoms. Perception disorders
are the pathophysiological cause of ADHD/ADD: The peripheral
perception organs function normally, whereas the selection of
stimuli, their processing and the reaction to them are disturbed,
which leads to restlessness, poor concentration, rapid fatigue
and maladjusted behaviour . Impaired perception can
affect sight, hearing, smell, touch, temperature sensitivity and
proprioception. Secondary effects are speaking disorders,
inadequate fine and gross motor skills, slow thinking, weak
memory and mind symptoms such as sadness and irritability.
To achieve an improvement, it was necessary to identify
symptoms in Boenninghausens Therapeutic Pocketbook (PB
1846) , that are related to disturbed perception. Evaluating
the success rate of remedy selection by perception symptoms,
we found that the number of suboptimal remedies given prior
to the optimal one dropped from the previous four to two .
Yet we also saw that not all perception symptoms are equally
reliable. Table 2 shows the actual questionnaire for perception
disorders and ADHD/ADD, with highly reliable symptoms in the
upper section and symptoms of intermediate reliability in the
lower one. We use the second category only if there is a lack of
highly reliable symptoms.
The back side of the questionnaire contains all the symptoms
that have proved unreliable (see: www.heinerfrei.ch). We do not
include them in the repertorization. The individual combination
of perception deficits allows a precise remedy determination in
We always supplement case-taking with the Questionnaire for
Additional Complaints where the parents list disorders unrelated to ADHD/ADD. It is relatively common to find there additional
perception symptoms that can be included in the repertorization.
Further symptoms are only used when the perception symptoms
don’t permit an accurate remedy selection. The homeopathic
remedy for ADHD/ADD normally brings about a substantial
general improvement, and the additional complaints often
disappear too. Yet the restriction to reliable symptoms can also
result in a lack of information, such that too many remedies
remain for the differential diagnosis. With polarity analysis it is
generally possible to overcome this problem.
Polarity Analysis (PA) is a new method of remedy
determination, based on the grading of the symptoms of
Boenninghausens Therapeutic Pocketbook (PB 1846). It consists
of the elements polarity difference and contraindications, which
are explained below . PA enabled us to demonstrate in the
Swiss ADHD double-blind study a significant difference between
placebo and homeopathic remedies . Later on, the evaluation
studies of acute, chronic and complex illness invariably revealed
improved results in comparison with conventional homeopathic
Hahnemann established in the Organon (ORG) § 133 that
the modalities show the peculiar and characteristic aspects of
each symptom . In combination with ORG § 153, this means
that homeopathic remedy selection in particular ought to be
determined by the modalities.
Boenninghausen himself strived to match the patient’s
characteristic symptoms with the “genius of a homeopathic
remedy”. The genius of a remedy includes its characteristic
symptoms, with modalities, sensations and findings observed
in provings in various localizations. Genius symptoms must also
have been healed by the remedy to deserve this qualification. In
the PB 1846 they are listed with a high grade (3-5).
The concept of contraindications concerns polar symptomsthose
which have an opposite pole, such as: thirst / thirstlessness,
cold aggravates / cold ameliorates, desire for fresh air / dislike of
fresh air. The patients symptom can only correspond to one pole
of a polar symptom. But a remedy can cover both poles, due to
the fact that its symptoms are observations of several provers.
Normally one pole of the polar symptom is in a high grade, i.e.
what is typical for the remedy; the other in a low grade, i.e. what
is nonspecific to the remedy. Because the patient’s symptoms
should correspond to the genius of the remedy, Boenninghausen
strived to match them at as high a grade as possible. If the
remedy contained the patient’s symptom at a low grade (1-
2) but the opposite pole of the same symptom at a high grade
(3-5), he regarded this as a contraindication for the remedy.
According to his experience, such a constellation rarely led to
healing. The Polarity Analysis Software identifies remedies with
contraindications by marking them with a gray background .
The polarity difference is a new concept. To calculate it, the
software adds for each remedy the grades of the patient’s polar
symptoms and then subtracts the grades of their opposite poles.
The higher the polarity difference, the more likely the remedy
corresponds to the patient’s characteristic symptoms. With other
words: The higher the sum of grades of the patient symptoms,
and the smaller the sum of grades of their opposite poles, the
higher is the similarity between patient symptoms and remedy.
To elicit polar symptoms homeopathic case-taking
is supplemented with checklists for acute illness and
questionnaires for chronic illness. Here the patients underline
the symptoms that they have observed. So far eight checklists
and twelve questionnaires have been developed for different
problem areas, such as neurology, gynecology, ENT and airways,
gastroenterology, musculo-skeletal system, and so on  (see
Homeopathic case-taking for chronic illness requires two
sessions. During the first consultation, a brief case history is
taken and the patient is examined. Then the treatment and
the prospects of success are explained, and the parents are
introduced to the questionnaires for Disturbances of Perception
and ADHD/ADD, and Additional Complaints as well as the form
for ADHD/ADD Assessment, which is designed to record the
success of the treatment. Here the parents must evaluate the ten
most important symptoms on a scale of intensity from 0 to 3-first
before treatment starts, and then again at every check-up. The
symptoms are: excitable and impulsive / cries easily and often /
restless, fidgety / restless, always on the go / destructive / lack
of stamina / poor concentration / rapid mood changes / easily
frustrated / disturbs other children. It is derived from the Conners
Global Index (CGI), an instrument widely used in conventional
medicine for the assessment of MPD treatments . When
discussing the course of treatment, it is important to alert parents
to the fact that treatment takes time and the prospects of success
improve with increasing duration. By the second consultation
the parents are expected to have filled out the questionnaires as
carefully as possible. We discuss the symptoms they noted and
perform the repertorization. - With this procedure one normally
arrives at a small group of remedies. For the final selection
we look at the hight of the polarity difference and search for
confirmatory symptoms in the materia medica.
According to ORG § 211, “… the patient’s emotional state often
tips the scales in the selection of the homeopathic remedy.” Kent
taught that remedy selection should be especially orientated to
the mind symptoms. However, “tips the scales” does not mean that
mind symptoms are the best source of information. The original
meaning of ORG § 211 was different: after determining the likely
remedies on the basis of characteristic symptoms (especially the modalities), the changes in mind can be decisive for final selection
of the remedy (see also ORG § 216 and 218). Table 3 contains a list
of possible confirmatory symptoms for the remedies frequently
found in ADHD/ADD.
Matthias is a thin 9 year old boy with hypotonia of the
muscles, dark hair and dark skin. At school he is restless
with a short attention span, clumsy and absolutely passiv
at times. His thinking and understanding is slow, especially
concerning abstract matters, and he has a poor memory. Due
to dyslexia he receives special teaching. Since early childhood
Matthias has suffered from fear of the dark and has poor selfconfidence,
yet at home he is dictatorial towards his mother and brother, especially since his parents separated three years ago.
Following a comprehensive neurological and neuropsychological
examination, he is diagnosed with ADHD. Since his mother
does not want him to take MPD, she comes for a homeopathic
In the Questionnaire for Disturbances of Perception, ADHD/
ADD, she underlined the following symptoms:
On the Questionnaire for Additional Complaints, she also
mentions abdominal pain and extreme irritability when hungry.
Matthias prefers frequent but small meals. His mother rates
his CGI with 17 points (moderately severe ADHD). For the
repertorization we only use highly reliable polar perception
symptoms, including the symptom muscles flabby because it was
verified in the examination.
Repertorization chart: Below the blue bar: patient’s
symptoms. Below the red bar: opposite polar symptoms (Figure
Colors mark symptom reliability: Green= high,
Definition of Contraindications CI: The opposite pole
is found at a high grade (3-5) whereas the patient’s symptom
is found at a low grade (1-2). The opposite pole therefore
corresponds to the genius of the remedy, not the patient’s
symptom. Let’s take Borax for example: the patient’s symptom of
warmth aggravates is found at grade 1 whereas the opposite pole
warmth ameliorates is found at grade 3. Warmth ameliorates is
therefore the genius symptom of the remedy, which is therefore
contraindicated. Remedies with contraindications are indicated
by grey shading.
Polarity difference: To calculate the polarity difference
we add the grades of the polar symptoms for each remedy and
subtract from the result the grades of the opposite poles. For
example Borax: 15-4 = 11. The higher the polarity difference,
the more the remedy corresponds to the patient’s characteristic
Eight remedies cover all symptoms, but only four of these
have no contraindications. Due to the hight of the polarity
difference the best candidates are Lycopodium and Chamomilla.
The additional complaints such as dictatorial behaviour coupled
with a lack of self-confidence, and irritability when skipping a
meal are a prominent confirmatory symptoms for Lycopodium.
Matthias is given Lycopodium Q3 daily. After four weeks
things are going better at school. Matthias has begun to read
books, which he never used to do, and he is reading more fluent.
He calms down quickly after arguments and upsets, and his CGI
has dropped from 17 to 15. Although this is not much, we decide
to continue with Lycopodium Q6. For the next two weeks, he is
very irritable before calming down again. But he starts writing
a diary for the first time in his life. A month later the mother
still has a good feeling about Lycopodium: Despite fits of rage
and oppositional behaviour her son listens better to her, and
the CGI has fallen to 14. Another month later, after Lycopodium
Q9, she says he is very sweet now, can listen properly and calms
down immediately after arguments. His CGI has dropped to 8.
This trend continues in the long term, and his CGI eventually
stabilizes at 7 points (Figure 4)
In our practice we treated in 2012 417 children with ADHD
and ADD. Of these 357 (85.6 %) used only homeopathy, 45
(10.8%) MPD and 15 (3.6%) Atomoxetine. In the homeopathy
group, 90 children (25%) were given Q-potencies, all Software
received single doses at average intervals of four weeks
(potencies 200C, 1M, 10M, 50M and 100M). Many patients
had already been in homeopathic treatment for several years.
Those who did not improve sufficiently with homeopathy were
transferred to treatment with either MPD or Atomoxetine. The
most common reason for conventional treatment was school
pressure (Figure 5).
In 40 newly admitted patients, the progress of the
improvement as reflected by the CGI was prospectively recorded
over 12 months. With homeopathy the CGI dropped on average
in 32 of the 40 patients (80%, responders) from 18 to 7. This
is an improvement of 61%. In the remaining 8 patients (20%,
nonresponders) we did not achieve a sustained improvement
At the end of the Swiss ADHD/ADD trial, parents and patients
were free to choose with what type of treatment they would like
to continue. Five years after the start of treatment, 60 of the
62 study participants were available for a long-term follow-up.
Twentyeight children were still treated with homeopathy: their
CGI averaged 6,8. Twentyfive children had stopped all treatment:
their CGI averaged 8,8 and seven children had switched to MPD:
their CGI averaged 10.6 (Figure 7).
The Swiss ADHD/ADD double-blind study, which was
completed twelve years ago, provided proof of a significant effect
of highly diluted homeopathic remedies. Equally important
in this study was the discovery of polarity analysis, which was
responsible for the successful outcome. Meanwhile this method
has been further refined and successfully tested in other fields
like acute and chronic disease and multimorbid patients.
Possible obstacles for successful treatment have been identified.
To obtain optimal results the following rules must be observed:
a) In ADHD/ADD not all perception symptoms are highly
reliable for remedy selection; if possible avoid those of
b) Do not mix Polarity Analysis with another homeopathic
procedure: this is a frequent beginner’s mistake.
c) Unsuccessful treatment is very often characterized by
poor observation of symptoms. Careful instruction of the
patients and parents is a crucial prerequisite.
d) It is possible that the approximately 20% nonresponders
are due to the limited number of 125 remedies covered
by the PB 1846. One can counter the problem by relying
on knowledge of the materia medica or by using another
repertory in cases where we might expect a remedy not
listed. Overall the advantages of the PB 1846, most especially
the high level of reliability in remedy grading, are so
substantial that the author of this paper would never like to
work without it.
Despite some hurdles, and with patience and perseverance,
we can achieve very gratifying results in most of our ADHD/ADD
patients. This brings great relief to the child, the family and the
school, allowing the child to live a normal life once more.