Are There Alternative Treatments for Schizophrenia?
Are there alternative treatments for schizophrenia? Recently I was diagnosed with liver disease, cause unknown. As I don't drink and have a reasonably good diet, I suspect the psychiatric medication I am on, which metabolizes in the liver may be the culprit. It's left me wondering if there are alternative treatments for schizophrenia, and, if so, what are they and how do they work? Note that you should never go off your medication or start an alternative medicine without your doctor's approval--I'm putting this out only to start a discussion.
Vitamin Supplements as Alternative Schizophrenia Treatment
One theory is that schizophrenia is caused by a vitamin deficiency. A 2014 study/review by the National Institutes of Healthy found that:
1. "Low blood levels of B vitamins are a relatively consistent finding in patients with schizophrenia."1
Several recent B vitamin supplementation treatments show promise in alternative treatment for schizophrenia, according to the review. A 1990 Lancet study found that 33 percent of patients with schizophrenia had a folate deficiency, and when treated with vitamins in addition to psychotropic medication, showed marked improvement over the control group.2
A 2006 Biological Psychiatry study reported that patients with schizophrenia frequently had a high homocysteine level (that's also a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease) and that these patients responded to treatment by folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6.3
Finally, a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that folate plus vitamin B12 significantly improved the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, such as emotional blunting and flat affect.4
2. "Vitamin D deficiency has been implicated by several schizophrenia investigators."
The review goes into a great bit of detail about this, but cautions studies are inconclusive. However, it reads:
Within a cross-sectional study of 102 psychiatric inpatients in New Zealand, of 19 patients who had severe vitamin D deficiency, 13 had schizophrenia . . . In a cross-sectional study of Norwegian patients, vitamin D deficiency was present in 80% of the psychotic immigrant population with dark complexions. Among native-born Norwegians with psychosis, 43% had vitamin D deficiency and had lower serum vitamin D levels ... In a cross-sectional study of 35 adolescent inpatients, 33.7% patients were vitamin D deficient; of those deficient 40% exhibited psychotic features compared to 16% of patients who were not vitamin D deficient.
3. "One study reported a decrease in the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) scores among patients on antipsychotic treatment after supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acid."
In other words, vitamin supplementation may help with the symptoms of schizophrenia, especially when combined with psychiatric medications.
A Ketogenic Diet as an Alternate Schizophrenia Treatment
This typically gluten-free diet is high in fat, low in carbs, and features high-protein foods. One study describes one patient's diet as "unlimited meats and eggs, 4 ounces of hard cheese, 2 cups of salad vegetables, and 1 cup of low-carbohydrate vegetables per day").5 The bad news is it only works in certain subgroups of people with schizophrenia.
The study reads:
In this case study, the abrupt resolution of longstanding schizophrenic symptoms was observed after the initiation of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet used for weight loss. Previously, Dohan observed a decrease in hospital admissions for schizophrenia in countries that had limited bread consumption during World War II, which suggested a possible relationship between bread and schizophrenia. Dohan and colleagues also observed that overt schizophrenia was rare in remote tribal areas of several South Pacific islands where grains were rare, as compared to similar populations which had a higher prevalence of overt schizophrenia and grain consumption. Additionally, some researchers have previously noted an association between schizophrenia and celiac disease, an immune-mediated enteropathy that is triggered by the ingestion of gluten-containing grains.
In other words, gluten may cause an immune deficiency, which leads to schizophrenia.
Fish Oil Supplements as Alternate Treatment for Schizophrenia
According to the Psychiatry Advisor:
Paul Amminger, MD, PhD, of the University of Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues enrolled 81 people between the ages of 13 and 25 years old who were said to be at risk of developing psychosis and schizophrenia. Forty-one were given fish oil supplements for three months, while the rest were given a placebo.
After the three months, the participants were followed for another 12 months. During that time, only two of the 41 patients on fish oil developed a psychotic disorder, the researchers reported in the journal Nature Communications. But in the placebo group, 11 participants reported such a disorder.
Even more remarkable, seven years after the original study was completed, only 10% — four of the 41 — had developed a psychotic disorder. Meanwhile, in the placebo group, the figure was 16.
Fish oil 'may offer a viable longer-term prevention strategy with minimal associated risk in young people at ultra-high risk of psychosis.'6
So those are three alternative treatments for schizophrenia. Remember, though, before you use your body as a science lab, talk to your doctor about these therapies. There's no sense in going off a treatment that works for you to try something that might not work just because it's natural.
1 Vitamin Supplementation in the Treatment of Schizophrenia
2 Enhancement of recovery from psychiatric illness by methylfolate
3 Homocysteine-reducing strategies improve symptoms in chronic schizophrenic patients with hyperhomocysteinemia.
4 Randomized multicenter investigation of folate plus vitamin B12 supplementation in schizophrenia.
5 (Schizophrenia, gluten, and low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets: a case report and review of the literature.
6 Fish Oil May Help Prevent Psychosis, Schizophrenia
You can also find Becky Oberg on Google+, Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin. Her ebook, Comforting Tamar, is available on Amazon.
Oberg, B. (2016, November 21). Are There Alternative Treatments for Schizophrenia?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, March 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2016/11/are-there-alternative-treatments-for-schizophrenia
Author: Becky Oberg
I agree. I started to treat my adult son with Nordic Brand Omega's and methylated B vitamins and I feel that it maintained him reasonably well.At that time I had no choice but to try to treat him with supplements due the fact that no one would feel his scripts. Desperate. I researched Dr. Walsh via you tube. My son was released from a court ordered treatment program for his mental health issues after a suicide attempt.This is like a cancer and it doesn't go away. It may be dormant from time to time,but it's always there waiting to rise. A brief background and why I started the vitamins: I called the facility that filled his scripts while I waited to get in with a new Psych in a new county. I thought maybe If he stayed with me, I'd find a consistent doctor for him and he'd have my support his memory is poor. I just wanted to help him find the right cocktail with the right psychiatrist and not have to deal with traveling Psychiatrist's in the rural area he came from. However, I am grateful for them too. I called the old facility and I told them I had an appt with a new doctor but it would be three weeks before we could see her. Which I knew he would need a referral to a Psych after that appt. (add more time) I explained That appt was scheduled but would take three weeks to get into. He needs monthly shots on top of all the pills. We get into the new family doctor, they said we can't fill the list of his medications that I provided via the former group home. We need you to have you sign the ROI's for mental health records. He did everything that was expected of him. Two more weeks go by, I hear nothing and I call the receiving/former hospital they informed me they received the faxed the new hospital and faxed them back when the signed ROI came to them. They explained to the new facility that they couldn't take the ROI from the new facility because their protocal was to use theirs from the old facility with two witnesses. Thus I couldn't wait for the RN at the new facility to call me back all day..The new physician still doesn't see the information in the EHR because it still wasn't scanned into the EHR via medical records department ..by this time my adult child had enough... I am once again helpless and hopeless, by the time the paper work is solved..it's to late. He stopped coming home at night he met a girl at a restaurant and is off to self medicate. As far as Social services support forget it, I don't think they have a budget to do anything for anyone anymore. I still have him an a wait list for programs. Which I felt should he should have been in immediately after his release from a 6 months program. I assisted him with the paper work while he was still in a group home early June 2016. Still no call or return calls for that matter and it's almost December. I really don't know where he is today but I do know that he is back in a severe psychotic state of mind on top of self medicated. Im sure I'd be using every drug I could get my hand on if I was having hullinations and swinging from manic to mania states of mind just to try to make it stop. He is a risk to himself and to the public while in a paranoid state. I've never been so disgusted with the health care in the US. We live in a time where the casting system exists and talking to people at the WI state level is also so useless. They love to circle talk with the family, via all the departments and discussions are usually condescending as if you are not intelligent. It breaks my heart to hear the stories of the families on TV and to read the newspapers who are devastated by the tragedies that occur. In the back of mind, I can't make any promises to anyone.. I keep persistently calling people weekly at the state level including; Representors, NAMI, DHS and various department but I get the same circle talk. (Statutes, HIPPA..) This is a system to kick them to the mentally ill to the curb and let them curl up and die; the other option fill up the prison system and make them into criminals they wanted them to be in the first place. It all comes down to dirty money and avoidance. If someone does get hurt, the state and local governing bodies are the ones with blood on their hands. I know hospitals have turned my child away plenty of times. ( Sorry we have no beds) The budget cuts the state did to social services did no favors in Wisconsin. My child has never been giving a real chance to get well..and the longer he is left in this state of mind the worse they become. What happen with doing the right thing..? Where are people's morals? What about negligence? What about quality treatment and counseling programs such as cognitive behavioral therapy? What about regular therapists bi weekly for high risk patients not every 4 months.. Seems as if people just want to pop them a 1/2 cup of pills and say remember to take them at various times through out the day while your still adjusting to your meds. Hello can you hear me? Oh I should add this very common experience: Hi mom,dad,grandparents, siblings and offspring, unfortunately we can't fill your loved one's medications or help him but we would you like to invite you to take some pharmaceutical meds; to lesson your feelings of anxiety, depressions and anger. While you seek to change the inevitable reality of your loved one. It will help numb your pain, and make it difficult for you to remember and communicate. But that's ok, no one really cares what you have to say anyways. One more note: should I be on maternity leave, when you call no one will fill prozac because you never had a physical with another physician and they rest of them are not taking new patients at this time. Enjoy the withdrawals..(true story) The dream: How about passing me some quality vitamins and teaching me some coping skills instead? This story could on and on.."When I, becomes we."
Schizophrenia as serious mental disorder exhibits enigma for psychiatrist and for non-professional public, even there exist numerous pharmaceutic new efficient formulas that medicate in satisfactory way this hard psychosis. Up to date neuroscience discoveries has confirm the veracity that the disturbances of some neurotramiters in specific are of the brain are responsible for development of this mental illness. But the complex set of biochemical mechanism in schizophrenia is still unrecognized. However, the comprehensive psychiatric treatment and management of this proccessual psychosis is longstanding medication with appropriate psychosocial interventions. The supplementation of some nutritive product indicates new and promising approach toward the contentment of this disease. By me as clinical psychiatrist the addition of fish oil is useful approach, that should be the algorhythm of current psychiatric treatment of schizophrenia. For others complementary nutritive additions I haven't any experience, but it is value to investigate profoundly in this direction. In a word overuses of antipsychotics and others psychothropic medication is "vitium artis", because psychopharmacs have got many side effects with dangerous consequences for patients. So, to use and to require alternative ways for this psychosis indicates promising approach to satisfactory psychiatric treatment of schizophrenia.
Not sure about fish oil; guess I better buy some.
I think many disorders can be reduced with good friends and also with strong self-worth and great purpose in this world. A person needs a reason to get up in the morning. Without purpose and hope, many ailments can creep into the brain and destroy hope.