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Schizophrenia Introduction

Scott Olson, ND

Schizophrenia is best described as a group of psychotic disorders whose symptoms include altered perceptions of reality. These altered perceptions can include delusions (fixed, unchallengeable, false opinion or beliefs) and hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or smelling things that are not actually present). People with schizophrenia also have illogical thinking patterns, and often have behavioral, emotional or intellectual disturbances. People who have schizophrenia may show very little emotion and appear apathetic and disconnected from the world around them. They may also have problems with memory and attention.

girl with schizophreniaIt was long thought that schizophrenia was the result of too much dopamine present in the brain, or to an excessive sensitivity to dopamine. This theory has fallen out of favor as newer medications that affect other brain chemicals (such as serotonin) are proving to be effective in the standard medical treatment of schizophrenia.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Schizophrenia

Unlike some other conditions, such as anxiety or depression, there is no stand-alone CAM treatment for Schizophrenia. Given the seriousness of the disease and the lack of good-quality studies on alternatives to conventional treatment, it is best to seek conventional care from a Psychiatrist first. Once traditional care has been initiated, you can then consult with a qualified CAM health care practitioner to determine whether adding CAM therapies to traditional treatment might be recommended. Research supporting the use of Omega-3 fatty acids as a supplement is the strongest, but again, these oils cannot be used as the sole treatment for schizophrenia.

The following chart summarizes the common natural treatments for schizophrenia and the degree of scientific study available to support their use:

Natural Therapies for Schizophrenia


These complimentary medicines have been well-studied for both effectiveness and safety issues and can be recommended on the basis of their scientific and traditional-use background.

· None


These complimentary medicines have at least some clinical studies in humans to support their use along with a long history of traditional use. They can be recommended for use on the basis of their traditional use and their relative safety and are often used in conjunction with standard therapies.

· Omega 3 Fatty Acids

· Glycine

· Tryptophan

· Ginkgo biloba


These complimentary medicines lack the support of good clinical studies in humans, but have been used traditionally, or have some studies that suggest that they might be effective. They can be recommended for use with the caution that they are not well-supported by research.

· Vitamin C

· B-Complex vitamins

· Diet


These are complimentary medicines that cannot be recommended for use because are harmful, not effective, or are too new to make a judgment about their safety or effectiveness.



(A) Well Supported Integrative Therapies for Schizophrenia

There are no well-supported integrative therapies for schizophrenia that can be considered the only treatment for the disease. If you have schizophrenia, you need to seek treatment via a conventional Psychiatrist prior to consulting with a CAM practitioner.