Survey on Homesickness among Homoeopathic Medical College Students

CHAUGULE SAMADHAN MOHAN. 2. SANDEEP S KEADARI.(Interns, AMSHMC, Belagavi).Under the guidance of Dr Sangeeta C. Belgavimath. Asst.Prof. & PG Guide ( Dept of Repertory, AMSHMC, Belagavi)

Survey on Homesickness in College-going students of A M Sheikh Homoeopathic Medical college Belgaum

BACKGROUND:
Homesickness is the distress caused by being away from home. Its cognitive hallmark is preoccupying thoughts of home and attachment objects. Sufferers typically report a combination of depressive and anxious symptoms, withdrawn behavior and difficulty focusing on topics unrelated to home. Experienced by children and adults, the affected person may be taking a short trip to a nearby place, such as a summer camp, or they may be taking a long trip or have moved to a different country.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The subjects for the survey study will be taken for the students of age group 16-20 years of A.M.Shaikh Homoeopathic Medical College

INTRODUCTION:
Homesickness is a condition familiar in today’s world. Homesickness is a commonly experienced state of distress among those who have left their house and home and find themselves in a new and unfamiliar environment. Its generally represented as an intense longing for home accompanied by a depressive mood and a variety of somatic complaints. Moving away from home has always led most people to feel homesick. Leaving a familiar environment in order to resettle somewhere else implies numerous changes, losses and adjustments.

Changes in rules, habits and routines, loss of friends, family, home and possessions, and adjustments to new living conditions and new rules. These all require adequate coping resources and energy from the individual. A typical reaction to the separation from home is missing home and yearning for home, the so-called grieving for home or homesickness.

The present survey has taken up to know the effects of homesickness in college going students of age group 16-20 years.

OBJECTIVE OF STUDY:

  • Primary: To know the various presentations of homesickness.
  • Secondary: To create awareness of homoeopathy as an available alternative, among subjects participating in the study.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE
DEFINITION: Cambridge dictionary says homesickness means  “the feeling of being unhappy because of being away from home for a long period”1

SYMPTOMS OF HOME SICKNESS:

  • a disturbed sleeping patterns.
  • feeling angry, nauseous, nervous or sad.
  • feeling isolated, lonely or withdrawn.
  • feeling overwhelmed, insecure, anxious or panicky.
  • feelings of low self-esteem or self-worth.
  • a lack of appetite or concentration.2

TREATMENT OF HOME SICKNESS:
Treating homesickness involves normalizing homesickness, coaching young people on effective ways to cope, working on building new social connections, helping them keep some perspective on the duration of the separation, and involving them with the new environment in meaningful ways that enhance their commitment to it.

In homoeopathy the constitutional medicine helps to relieve the feelings of homesickness.3 Homesickness is indeed a common emotional response to being away from one’s familiar and comforting home environment. Here are some additional factors and causes that can contribute to homesickness:

  • Social Disconnection: Being away from family and friends, especially in cases of long-distance relocations or international moves, can intensify feelings of homesickness. Loneliness and a lack of a social support system can exacerbate these emotions.
  • Loss of Familiarity: Being in an unfamiliar place can be unsettling. Everything from the physical environment to the daily routines can be different, making individuals feel disoriented and uncomfortable.
  • Stress and Pressure: For students, for instance, the academic pressure and responsibilities associated with a new school or university can add to the stress of being away from home. Similarly, work-related stress in a new job or career can contribute to homesickness in adults.
  • Lack of Control: When you’re away from home, you often have less control over your surroundings and situations. This loss of control can lead to feelings of vulnerability and anxiety.
  • Reminders of Home: Seeing or experiencing things that remind you of home can trigger homesickness. This could be something as simple as a familiar scent, a song, or a specific type of food.
  • Transition Period: The initial period of adjustment to a new environment can be particularly challenging. During this time, individuals may long for the predictability and comfort of their old routines.
  • Cultural Shock: This is related to your point about cultural distance. Culture shock can be a significant contributor to homesickness, as individuals may find it difficult to adapt to a new culture with different norms, values, and behaviors.
  • Physical Symptoms: Homesickness can manifest physically with symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, and sleep disturbances. These physical symptoms can further contribute to emotional distress.

It’s worth noting that while homesickness is a common experience, its intensity and duration can vary widely from person to person. Some individuals adapt to new environments relatively quickly, while others may struggle with homesickness for an extended period. Support from friends, family, or mental health professionals can be valuable in helping individuals cope with homesickness and make the adjustment to their new surroundings.

  • Difficulty Adapting: Some individuals may find it challenging to adapt to new situations due to their resistance to change or rigid behaviors. They might be more comfortable sticking to familiar routines and habits, which can make it harder to adjust to new environments and lifestyles. This resistance to change can amplify feelings of homesickness because they are constantly comparing the new situation to what they had at home.
  • Feelings of Not Belonging: Feelings of not belonging can be particularly prominent in individuals who have been living in a new country or environment for an extended period. This phenomenon is often referred to as “cultural dislocation” or “identity crisis.” People may experience these feelings if they are caught between two cultures, feeling like they don’t fully belong to either their home country or their host country. This can lead to a sense of isolation and homesickness, even when the surroundings are familiar.
  • Age and Duration of Stay: The study you mentioned about employees aged 30 to 39 experiencing homesickness after 6 to 8 years in the Netherlands highlights the notion that homesickness can persist even after a significant amount of time has passed. This can occur because as people settle into their new environment, they may start reflecting more on their identity and where they truly belong, especially if they’ve formed attachments or started families in the new country. This reflection can trigger homesickness.
  • Children’s Sense of Belonging: As you mentioned, this sense of belonging can be particularly complicated for families with children. Parents may grapple with questions about their children’s cultural identity and whether they belong in the new country or their country of origin. This can add another layer of complexity to the homesickness experience, as parents may worry about their children’s adjustment and sense of belonging.
  • In such situations, it’s essential for individuals and families to seek support, both from within their own communities and from professional counselors or therapists who can help them navigate these complex emotions and challenges. Building connections, participating in cultural exchange programs, and finding ways to bridge the gap between cultures can also aid in the process of adaptation and reduce feelings of homesickness and isolation.

Homesickness can have profound emotional and psychological effects on individuals, sometimes resembling symptoms of depression. This emotional state, often underestimated, can manifest as a range of symptoms that overlap with clinical depression. These similarities include frequent crying, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, and a tendency to withdraw from social interactions.

One of the most striking parallels between homesickness and depression is the persistent feeling of sadness. When individuals are homesick, they often experience a profound sense of longing for their familiar environment, family, and friends, which can lead to a constant feeling of sadness and emotional distress. Sleep disturbances are another common symptom shared by both homesickness and depression. People who are homesick may find it challenging to fall asleep or maintain a regular sleep pattern due to their preoccupation with thoughts of home. This sleep disruption can exacerbate their emotional state and lead to fatigue and irritability, further mirroring depressive symptoms.

Concentration difficulties are also prevalent among those experiencing homesickness. The preoccupation with thoughts of home and the emotional turmoil that accompanies it can make it hard for individuals to focus on their daily tasks, studies, or work. This impaired concentration can have a significant impact on their overall well-being and productivity. Perhaps one of the most concerning aspects is that, in some cases, homesickness can escalate into clinical depression itself. Prolonged and intense feelings of homesickness, if left unaddressed, may contribute to the development of major depressive disorder. It’s crucial to recognize these warning signs and seek appropriate support and interventions when necessary.

In conclusion, homesickness is a complex emotional state that can closely resemble the symptoms of depression, including persistent sadness, sleep disturbances, concentration difficulties, and social withdrawal. It’s essential to acknowledge the potential impact of homesickness on mental health and to offer support and resources to individuals experiencing these feelings to prevent the progression into clinical depression.

Grief. While migrant workers and other foreigners may have moved away from home for a better job or better pay, they feel grief for the loss of the comforts of home, and for the place they felt that they belonged.

Affects productivity. The overwhelming feeling of being in a new environment and away from the familiar can lead to performance issues at work and school. Intense homesick feelings can also result in difficulty focusing on topics that are not related to home.

Physical effects. Homesickness can also lead to physical symptoms such as lack of appetite, stomach problems, lack of sleep, headaches, and fatigue.

HOMOEPATHIC APPROCH:
Homesickness is a condition familiar in today’s world. Homesickness is a commonly experienced state of distress among those who have left their house and home and find themselves in a new and unfamiliar environment. Its generally represented as an intense longing for home accompanied by a depressive mood and a variety of somatic complaints. Moving away from home has always led most people to feel homesick.

Leaving a familiar environment in order to resettle somewhere else implies numerous changes, losses and adjustments. Changes in rules, habits and routines, loss of friends, family, home and possessions, and adjustments to new living conditions and new rules. These all require adequate coping resources and energy from the individual. A typical reaction to the separation from home is missing home and yearning for home, the so-called grieving for home or homesickness.

TREATMENT:
Treating homesickness involves normalizing homesickness, coaching young people on effective ways to cope, working on building new social connections, helping them keep some perspective on the duration of the separation, and involving them with the new environment in meaningful ways that enhance their commitment to it.

  • Do something fun, such as play with friends, to forget about homesick feelings (distraction and social connection).
  • Do something (write a letter, look at a family picture) to feel closer to home (contact with home).
  • Go see someone who can talk with you to help you feel better (social support).
  • Think about the good side of things (activities, friends) to feel better (optimism).
  • Think that time away is actually pretty short to make time go by faster (perspective).
  • Try not to think about home and loved ones to forget about homesickness (cognitive avoidance).
  • Think about loved ones to figure out what they would say to help (vicarious social support).
  • Doing nothing because of a belief that nothing would help make things better (relinquished control).

WAYS OF COPING
The most effective way of coping with homesickness is mixed and layered. Mixed coping is that which involves both primary goals (changing circumstances) and secondary goals (adjusting to circumstances). Layered coping is that which involves more than one method. This kind of sophisticated coping is learned through experience, such as brief periods away from home without parents. As an example of mixed and layered coping, one study revealed the following method-goal combinations to be the most frequent and effective ways boys and girls.

  • Doing something fun (observable method) to forget about being homesick (secondary goal).
  • Thinking positively and feel grateful (unobservable method) to feel better (secondary goal).
  • Simply changing feelings and attitudes (unobservable method) to be happy (secondary goal).
  • Reframing time (unobservable method) in order to perceive the time away as shorter (secondary goal).
  • Renewing a connection with home, through letter writing (observable method) to feel closer to home (secondary goal).
  • Talking with someone (observable method) who could provide support and help me make new friends (primary goal).

Sometimes, people will engage in wishful thinking, attempt to arrange a shorter stay or (rarely) break rules or act violently in order to be sent home. These ways of coping are rarely effective and can produce unintended negative side effects.

HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT
There are quite a few homeopathic remedies to help relieve the feelings of homesickness, and the following are some of the most common:

Arnica: Though not usually thought of as a homesickness remedy, Arnica addresses shock of many kinds, and every emergency kit should keep this on top. If the separation is shocking, hugely upsetting, repeated in the mind (“I can’t stop seeing them come to take me away…”), or an emotional “blow” to the heart and soul, consider Arnica.

Aurum metallicum: Literally the gold standard of remedies for sadness, longing, and melancholy, this remedy appears in the repertory rubric, “Mind, Sadness, pining in boys.” The child who needs Aurum feels profoundly forsaken and responds with despondency and self-reproach, believing he has done something horrible to deserve the abandonment. The child might desire open air and can be irascible, unyielding, and taciturn.

Belladonna: This remedy can be useful for the person whose homesickness symptoms are vigorous and volatile. Are acutely sensitive, have nightmares, and be surprisingly agitated, even violent without clear cause. Symptoms come and go suddenly. The person may experience and demonstrate an urgent need to escape (a child at camp may try to run away, for example). The person may crave lemons or lemonade and cold food. They tend to be averse to water, to be aggravated by light, noise, and touch, and to have right-sided symptoms, spiking fevers, and redness of the face. This remedy may need to be differentiated from Capsicum.

Bryonia alba: Delirium: talks constantly about his business; desire to get out of bed and go home.

Capsicum annuum: This is one of the most important remedies to consider when a person’s homesickness is accompanied by sleeplessness and red cheeks. The person may want to be alone. They may be cross and unable to concentrate. Often, children who need this remedy cannot study or work and will unceasingly complain that they want to go home. The person may look a bit like they need Belladonna, but they are more obstinate and sullen, and they show a diminishing of reaction. The redness of Capsicum is cold to the touch (“false plethora” as it’s called in the old books), whereas the flush of Belladonna is burning hot.

Gelsemium: This is a wonderful gift for a person who is terrified of having to perform, an issue that may surface strongly when a child is away from home for the first time or an adult is traveling on business for an important engagement.

Ignatia: The premiere homesickness remedy, it is indicated in people who are agitated, overwhelmed, and upset; sometimes to the point of “hysteria” (e.g., fainting or dramatic mood swings). Worse from stress, coffee, and cold air and may have fevers, headaches that feel like nails driven into the skull, or other physical symptoms that can be traced back to a disappointment, separation, grief, shock, or trauma. They sigh a great deal and feel disconnected from what is going on. For that reason, they may be heard saying, “I just can’t believe…”  Do not like consolation, but are not made angry by consolation.      Longing after his friends; inward grief; flat watery taste of all food; gone feeling in stomach, not relieved by eating; brooding in solitude over her imaginary grief and disappointments.

Phosphoricum acidum: The homesick person is prostrate with grief and hopelessness. On the surface they may seem apathetic and mentally unfocused, although the longing is right under the surface. The person may speak and respond quite slowly. Their pain results in a sad kind of resignation, and they appear to be what people commonly call “depressed.” Low spirited and anxious about the future, they may lose their appetite.

Pulsatilla: This is an effective remedy for those who feel lonely, forsaken, and weepy. They are as sad as sad can be and give homesickness a truly poignant cast. They cry easily, and they feel better from consolation, touch, company, and sympathy. They may develop a cold with a thick or yellow nasal discharge. They feel all alone in the world and may elicit in others a need to nurture and protect them. They may be indecisive and reach out for help and reassurance.

Carbo-an [Carb-an] Sorrowful feeling as if left alone, cannot be consoled; fearful in the dark; easily frightened and low-spirited, especially mornings.

Eupatorium-purp [Eup-pur]:Feels homesick when at home with her family; sighing; sick- headache; choking fulness of throat, must swallow often; bowels loose; constant desire to urinate; restless and moaning; weak, tired and faint, with urinary symptoms

 METHOD OF COLLECTION OF DATA:

  • Study design: survey type
  • Type of research: Survey research
  • Sampling technique: Purposive sampling method.
  • Selection criteria: Subject will be selected depending on inclusion and exclusion criteria, history and finding based upon above questionnaire.
  • Data evaluation and statistical tools : Data collected from subject is evaluated by googleforms

INCLUSION CRITERIA:

  1. Subjects of age group 16-20 years
  2. Homesickness questioner score between 15-25

EXCLUSION CRITERIA:

  1. Subjects who are clinically diagnosed with any psychiatric disorder.
  2. Subjects with systemic disorder, if any

RESULTS

BEFORE

AFTER

Discussion:   On short survey conducted we are able to understand that students  group of 19-21 yrs are more suffering from homesickness .Among 74 responses starting of six months 16.17% are between 16-18yrs ,82.1% are between 19-21yrs, 1.2% are between 22-24yrs. And after six month repeat survey has been conducted 9.5% are between the age group of 16-18yrs,87.8% are between 19-21yrs,2.7% are 22-24yrs. As it is pilot as well as short survey research further dig into cause of homesickness in students is required with huge sample size and from other college.

Conclusion: Survey has been done on college going student in A M sheikh Homoeopathic Medical college Belgaum of age group 16-24yrs. According to survey during initial days

the maximum students who suffered from homesickness belong to the age group of 19-21yrs

After six month repeat survey has been done 19-21 yrs age group people suffered from Homesickness more then initial days

Home sickness significantly impacts students well being regardless of age and associated with over all

  • Distress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

LIST OF REFERENCES:

  1. Bail, M. (1980). Homesickness. Macmillan. Link:https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/homesickness
  2. Tilburg van, M., &Vingerhoets, A. (2006). Psychological aspects of geographical moves : Homesickness and acculturation stress. Amsterdam University Press. page no 35
  3. homesickness-and-mental-health, acssessed on August 30 https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-to-know-about-
  4. Homesickness questionnaire. (n.d.). Scribd. Retrieved April 1, 2023, from https://www.scribd.com/doc/308069285/Homesickness-Questionnaire.
  5. Homesickness – Homoeopathic Approach,

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