Argentum nitricum (arg-n.)
The central idea of the Arg. nit. patient is a person who has a weakness on the mental sphere which is most obvious when a challenge appears. This is a mental weakness accompanied by an emotional state of excitability and nervousness and impulsiveness.
His mental faculties are weak while his feelings are over-strong. Such a combination produces a person who is ready to act on any idea which happens to flit through his mind, no matter how ridiculous it may be.
The patient may be sitting on a balcony and suddenly the idea comes to mind; “What if I were to fall”? This idea sticks in his mind and in his imagination he produces the whole scene of falling to the ground and SEEING HIMSELF CRUSHED FULL OF BLOOD etc. Finally, he becomes overwhelmed with this image until he has the actual impulse to jump in order to see what it would be like. He may even make a move toward the edge, but at this moment he comes to his senses – full of fear. He goes inside and he closes the window. Another example of this combination of weakness and excitability might be a man working on the pavement in the street who finds himself compelled to work in a particular way. If the pavement is laid out in squares, he finds it necessary to work on every other square, or he finds he must step only on the lines between the squares taking very tiny steps.
A further example: A man walking down a street planning to turn a particular corner suddenly becomes obsessed with the thought that the moment he turns that corner a heavy object will fall on him. The thought is so powerful that he continues on past that corner and turns at the next one.
Still another image: A woman crossing the street sees a car passing in front of her at a safe distance. She knows the car cannot hit hr and indeed it passed in front of her without incident. Then, as she crosses the street she flashes on a whole scenarios of what MIGHT have happened if she had crossed the street a moment earlier. The vivid image of the car crushing her jolts her back to her senses. The Arg. nit. patient becomes temporarily obsessed with such irrational thoughts which possess him for a time and then vanish. A body jerk or sudden movement seems to coincide with the moment the idea leaves.
For example, a man looking from his window sees a child playing in the street. He notices a car which passed the child quite safely. He then starts thinking about what MIGHT have happened had the child been playing in a different part of the street when the car came. He invents a whole horrible scene in his mind and is so carried away by it that he starts down the stairs to the street. As he descends, the idea hits him that he is about to slip and fall. He becomes so overwhelmed by this idea that he is sure it will happen. At this moment, he makes a slightly unusual movement, possibly a jerking motion, and the idea leaves him. He is sane enough to realize that he is constantly tormented by these silly ideas but powerless to stop them.
In Arg. nit. we also find a fear of heights, or a fear of high buildings. The idea behind these two fears is similar: either he will fall from a height, or a building will fall on him as he crosses a street.
For example, a student who has become overtired from too much study sits at his desk and his mind wanders away from his subject. He glances at an electric socket and suddenly wonders: “I wonder what would happen If I put a wire into that socket”? He gets up and finds a wire and starts toward the socket. He comes back to himself with a jerk just as he is about to insert the wire into the socket. Another patient during an illness becomes absolutely certain that in three hours when the clock strikes a certain hour he will die. He watches the clock in agony. Kent, in the Repertory, under the rubric “Predicts the time of death”, lists Aconite, Arg. nit. Agnus castus also should be included. In each of these remedies the idea is quite different. With Aconite, there is a tremendous, overwhelming fear of death which makes him think he is going to die. With Arg. nit. it is a question of a “fixed idea” that he is going to die at a certain hour. The Arg. nit. person realizes that he is weak mentally. He can easily make a fool of himself in public. In a social situation, an overwhelming fear and anxiety may overtake him. He asks himself, “How shall I ever cope with it? What am I going to do? I shall make such a fool of myself”. This anxiety so overwhelms him that he starts to urinate frequently or possibly diarrhoea occurs. This is a state of very low self-confidence. The idea of appearing in public to give a speech seems impossible. The most characteristic aspect of the fears is their “fixed” nature coupled with superstitious paranoia. To the rubric “Superstitious”, which lists Conium and Zincum, should be added Arg. nit., Rhus tox and Stramonium.
The mental weakness manifests throughout the body in ways familiar to us as simple aging. The mental weakness is similar to what we see in senile states. The face appears wrinkled and shriveled and the patient appears older than his or her actual age. This is not like Calc. carb. this may look old with the furrowing of the face, the fine squares. It is not the same as Lycopodium where the body seems to be aging in the upper half. With Arg. nit. it is more of a shriveled look (Secale, Ambra grisea). The Arg. nit. patients emotionally are quite easily over-stimulated. Their emotions are quite strong, even to the point of impulsiveness. They can be very impulsive whether in expressing anger or love. Arg. nit. is the leading remedy for impulsiveness.
It is interesting to note that as the weakened nervous system causes a diminishing of mental function, a corresponding over activity may occur in the circulatory system. Tremendous palpitations can occur which are felt all over the body, especially while lying on the right side. Flushes of heart can also occur This Arg. nit. type is aggravated by heat. They like fresh air and cold bathing.
Considering the digestive system, there is a strong desire for sugar and sweets in general, but sugar can disagree, sometimes causing diarrhoea. In addition, there are desires for salt, salty foods and strong cheese. Arg. nit. bloats easily. There is much belching and eructations. The eructations can be continuous and very loud – like cannons. When we have a patient with a strong desire for sugar, a desire for salt who is worse from heat and better from cold, then we must think of Arg. nit. If, in addition, the patient is aggravated by sweets then it is definitely Arg. nit.
The characteristic mental state of Arg. nit. can appear in the sexual sphere as well. He could be emotional and full of feeling but as he begins the sexual act he may be overwhelmed with anxiety, causing his penis to relax. This usually occurs because some silly idea has forced itself on him which he cannot let go of. Often the idea is a fearful one, and it renders him incapable of continuing the love act. Arg. nit. have ulcers mostly of the cornea and conjunctiva. Before there is an ulcer there can be a redness in a specific spot.
Stitching, raw pains are also characteristic, not only in the eye, but in the throat as well. It is a “splinter like pain” similar to what we see in Nitric acid and Hepar sulph.
Homeopathic Remedy ARGENTUM NITRICUM (ارجنٹم نائٹریکم) – The Essence of Materia Medica – George Vithoulkas
Argentum nitricum (arg-n.)