I am often struck by how often people having mental difficulty intuitively do exactly what is in their best interest. Asking others to allow them to withdraw from some kinds of activity or just withdrawing reduces demands upon the mind system. Withdrawal in allopathic medicine is often seen as ‘symptomatic’. Withdrawal can be seen homepathically as an intuitive adaptive strategy. In the event of ‘first onset’ mental difficulty ‘withdrawal’ can be ‘therapeutic’ in and of itself.
- If your friend or loved one is speaking they may tell you it is temporarily helpful for them to withdraw.
- If they do not speak and you ask them if their withdrawal is helpful to them, they may nod.
- If they neither speak nor nod you may advise them that you will assume by their manner that it is helpful for them to withdraw and that you will do your best to take that into account.
Granting them periods of solitude may create important conditions conducive to ‘recovery’. The science: Feedback systems including discomfort increase the likelihood that withdrawal will occur. The withdrawal creates the conditions for the system to perform ‘maintenace’ tasks as demands upon the system to ‘field so many balls’ in a complex world are reduced. Maintenace tasks may be physical as in mobilizing defenses in the presence of a virus or ‘organizational’. As we intuitively know; we often advise friends and loved ones to “sleep on it, you’ll feel better in the morning”. The power of the system to organize itself and indeed help people feel better in the morning cannot be underestimated. The ‘sleep on it’ regimen is sufficient for management of many challenges. Withdrawal, however may be proportionate to the demand that stressors in the life of a given individual present. Management of prolonged stressors (e.g. unhappiness in one’s marraige) or intense stressors (e.g. victimization) may evoke much more withdrawal. To the extent that the withdrawal may be functional (serving the interest of recovery) it behooves us to work with it, not against it. A functional withdrawal may last for a weekend or for 2-3 months. A longer term withdrawal may be indicative of the need for dramatic change as the withdrawal may in effect represent a statement, e.g. I cannot continue in this job, this marriage, etc.