Written by Nina Garrard

31 March 2023

Acute vs Chronic

Many of my clients ask me about the difference between acute disease and chronic disease so I thought I’d write a short blog to explain how we differentiate between the two from a homeopathic perspective.

First of all, why do we need to know if a disease is acute or chronic? This is important for us as homeopaths as it will determine how we approach treatment of each individual case. We use different treatment methods for acute and chronic disease. We generally use CLAMS for acute case taking.

So What Is Acute Disease?

Well, we’ve all had some experience of a cough, cold, influenza, a tummy bug, food poisoning, chicken pox, ear infections etc. These examples would all be classed as Acute illnesses and what they have in common is that they are self- limiting. In other words they are not deep-seated and will usually heal on their own within a short period of time (several hours to a couple of weeks at most).It should be noted that there are also some acute diseases which are extremely serious and can, rarely, be fatal like meningitis and pneumonia.

How Can I Use Homeopathy With An Acute Illness?

Well simply put you can either have a go yourself by self-prescribing or you can have an acute consultation with a homeopath.

Acute illness is where many people start independently trying homeopathy at home possibly by using a homeopathy first aid book to help them. As this was exactly how I started my own amazing journey with homeopathy I really support anyone who is keen to try and help their family in this way. I’ve listed a couple of my favourite books for home prescribing at the end of this blog.

The framework we use for taking an acute case is called CLAMS. This stands for the following;

Concomitant. What is the main symptom plus what other symptoms are occurring that may not seem at all related

Location of the symptom. Where in the body is the issue and does it extend to another location?

– Aetiology. This means causation. Can you think of a reason why this person has fallen ill? Common examples might be shock, trauma, weather, drugs, diet.

Modalities. What makes the symptom feel worse and better? When does it feel worse or better?

Sensation. Can they describe the pain or discomfort? What does it feel like? Examples might be throbbing or sharp pain, tight feeling like a band across my chest, tickle like a feather in my throat.

– It’s also worth noting their emotional state for example are they irritable and want to be left alone or crying and needing company

See my blog on Remedy Selection for more help.

Once you have a basic understanding of symptoms, modalities and how to match them to a remedy then you can start to choose remedies from your Homeopathic First Aid kit and enjoy the healing power of this safe, gentle form of medicine.

So What Is Chronic Disease?

Well Chronic disease is more deep-seated than acute disease. Usually the symptoms of chronic disease creep up on us slowly. We hope they will resolve on their own but they don’t and they can be with us for a long time and are often accompanied by a general deterioration of health. The symptoms are usually less severe than in acutes, but they can really affect quality of life for the person suffering and might get worse over time. In some cases there might be a genetic element to the condition. The symptoms might also be harder to describe and seem more general. Examples might include allergies, anxiety, back pain, constipation, arthritis, eczema, menstrual issues, acne, migraines and menopausal symptoms. In contrast to the majority of acute illness, our immune system doesn’t have the ability to overcome the condition without help. It is possible that an acute illness can be followed by complications which can then develop into a chronic, long-term disease.

Can Homeopathy Be Used For Chronic Illness?

Absolutely! Chronic Illness, however, might require several different approaches. To get to the root cause will involve a lot of digging. This is not easy to do on your own and requires objectivity that few of us have when it concerns ourselves or our close family. Even homeopaths see other homeopaths for this sort of thing! What makes chronic illness more complicated to treat is that many people will have been living with the symptoms for a long time and are likely to have used conventional medication which may have had a suppressive effect. This results in a murkier picture, less well defined symptoms and overall a more challenging case to work with. This is why a full consultation usually lasts 60-90 minutes. We need the extra time together so we can fully understand exactly what the symptoms are from a physical, emotional and medical perspective and discuss your medical history and that of your close family. Homeopathy is a truly holistic form of medicine. It is highly likely more than one remedy will be needed over time, and we may need to give advice on lifestyle changes too. So, with Acute illness we are looking purely at the surface i.e. what is currently occurring. With chronic illness we need to look much deeper into your history to find the information we need, which may be much less obvious, obscured or hidden. Gradually over time, with well-chosen homeopathic remedies, the layers are peeled back as we get to the root cause of the illness. Chronic symptoms will ease and overall health is improved.

What if I’m not feeling able to self-prescribe in an Acute Illness?

Of course, there are scenarios where you may be feeling too unwell yourself to be able to self-prescribe or perhaps you are nursing a poorly child and feel overwhelmed and that’s when an acute consultation with a Homeopath may be useful. I work with Homeopathy 247 which is an international acute prescribing platform launched during the pandemic so that people across the world had access to acute homeopathic consultations 24/7. You can book an acute consultation directly with me, or if time zones aren’t in our favour then you can go to the Homeopathy 247 website where there is always a Homeopath on duty 24 hours a day so you can always see someone when you need help.

I hope you find this blog useful for you and your family.

Warmest wishes,


My favourite Home Prescribing Books are;
Your Healthy Child with Homeopathy by Tricia Allen
The Complete Homeopathy Handbook by Miranda Castro

Whether you think you are suffering with an Acute or Chronic illness, I’m more than happy to chat about it with you in a FREE 15 minute no obligation consultation.