Perfectionism …Differential Diagnosis

Dr. Jothi, MD (Hom.)
Asst. Professor
RVS Homeopathic Medical College
Sulur, Coimbatore.

    To understand the qualities of Arsenicum Album individual, we can take up Freudian theory of development. According to him, the life can be divided in to many stages like oral stage, anal stage, phallic stages etc., if any problem occurs in normal development during these stages, the individual will express this in his or her future life. The pathology of Arsenic album resembles that of the Freudian “anal retentive type”. The Anal type becomes orderly, parsimonious and obstinate. Parsimony may appear in the exaggerated form of avarice and obstinancy can go over in to defiance, to which rage and revengefulness are easily joined.

    In Kent’s repertory “anal retentive type” is represented in following rubrics, Obstinate, Fastidious, Avarice, Rage and Orderliness.

Arsenicum Album
    “The most fastidious of all the constitutional remedies”. Arsenicum patients try to create order in their environment in an attempt to allay anxiety. Arsenicum individuals have an attention for details that is unsurpassed. Often they choose meticulous jobs, such as craft work, accountancy and manicurist. Arsenic is a perfectionist at work, particularly with regard to the final approach of the product, weather it be a bookshelf or painting. Patients feel insecure when they are not in order. Arsenicum is motivated more by fear of chaos and physical disintegration. He feels anxious but not guilty, if the work is not perfect (Nat. Mur.). further more Arsenic imposes his meticulous standards upon those around him. ( Opp. Nat. mur.) Arsenic’s attention is usually expressed in the clothes he wears. His clothes are immaculately clean and smart. Even his casual clothes looks freshly pressed. Arsenic has tendency to feel resentful when his own high standards are not adhered by others. Arsenic perfectionism is also expressed in speech. They would correct sloppy grammar and pronunciations.

Nux Vomica :
    Nux. Vomica perfectionism is really concerned more with efficacy than orderliness, hence the patient is usually tidy at work and in workplace, but usually not at home. He imposes his perfectionism to others with an authority. When Nux vomica person is coming in to a work place, if he is a higher official, the first thing that happen will be cleaning the surrounding and house keeping. He knows how to impose this fastidiousness on others.

Natrum  Muriaticum :
    Nat.Mur is also a perfectionist at work in many cases. NatrumMur patients are very self-critical, and feels guilty or a failure when his work is not perfect. This is really a compensatory mechanism for his sense of being unworthy. Nat.Mur. imposes his fastidiousness and perfectionism only to himself and sometimes to his family. They are more concerned about the timings, they are always punctual. Nat. Mur perfectionism may be global, or only applicable to certain things. In Natrum own performance must be perfect, especially at school or at work. If it falls below his own high standards, Natrum patient becomes very self-critical, and sets about getting it right next time. They keep extreme tidiness (Carc.). They also tend to put great importance on appearances. Natrum perfectionists are often workaholics as well,they cannot bear to be idle, and passive pursuits like reading. They become restless. Workaholic, hates holidays, unless they are very active and dread the thought of retirement. All this is to avoid the feeling of being worthless mainly.