Managing Schizophrenia Naturally: 6 Remedies to Try Today29 May 2023
- Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder characterised by positive symptoms like hallucinations and delusions and negative symptoms like emotional flatness and social withdrawal.
- Antipsychotic medications help to manage positive symptoms of schizophrenia, yet, herbal remedies and dietary changes may ease more difficult-to-treat negative symptoms. As a result, most patients will benefit from using natural approaches alongside conventional treatment methods.
- Emerging research suggests that CBD (cannabidiol) may work as a natural antipsychotic with fewer side effects than traditional pharmaceuticals. At Lyphe, we are proud to be leaders in the UK medical cannabis space. Arrange a consultation today with one of our physicians for more trusted information on cannabis and psychosis.
- Patients must consult their healthcare provider before changing their medication or trying new supplements or therapies. Supplements may interact with other medicines and cause harm to health.
Schizophrenia is a lifelong and complicated condition affecting around one in one hundred people in the UK. Doctors typically classify schizophrenic symptoms in two categories – positive and negative. Any symptoms like hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking that add to a patient’s behaviour are classified as positive.
Negative symptoms take away from a patient’s experience and include emotional flatness and social withdrawal. While antipsychotic medications typically manage positive symptoms, they do little to help with negative symptoms, which can significantly reduce a patient’s quality of life.
While the cause of schizophrenia is unknown, there is emerging evidence that inflammation, particularly neuroinflammation, may play a role in worsening symptoms. A natural cure incorporating antipsychotic treatment alongside herbal remedies and a diet rich in antioxidants may help improve both positive and negative symptoms and reduce the side effects of medication.
In this article, we explore six complementary natural remedies that show promise in managing symptoms of schizophrenia, from medical cannabis to ancient herbs.
Most patients should benefit from using natural methods alongside conventional methods of treatment. Alternative treatments for schizophrenia aren’t recommended for everyone and should only be practised by working with a healthcare professional.
Six Natural Remedies for Schizophrenia
1. Medical Cannabis
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis plants that is being explored as a potential novel treatment for psychosis. Traditional antipsychotic medications have a high success rate at controlling positive symptoms but are associated with several adverse side effects like sedation and sexual dysfunction.
CBD is being explored as an alternative as it has a good safety profile, is well tolerated by most people and has few side effects. In states where it is legal in the US, CBD is already being recommended by some physicians to help manage atypical patterns of neural behaviour, like hearing voices.
A 2019 study found that in initial clinical trials, CBD showed promise as an antipsychotic, especially for patients in the early stages of psychosis, with fewer side effects than traditional antipsychotic medications. Another 2011 study found that symptoms of psychosis were significantly lower in subjects who used cannabis with high cannabidiol content.
There is a theory that cannabis with a high THC content may trigger or worsen psychosis, although this is not proven. If using cannabis for medicinal purposes, it’s imperative to do it in a supervised, clinical setting and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
If you are in the UK and looking for a treatment plan involving medical cannabis, our expert team of physicians at Lyphe can help. Book a free call with us today for more information on medical cannabis.
Research suggests that taking vitamin supplements, particularly folic acid, B12 and vitamin D, can successfully ease symptoms in schizophrenic patients. According to a 2015 review, vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial in reducing psychosis, most notably in patients with low levels of vitamin D.
B vitamins, on the other hand, may have a genetic link, with researchers finding that participants with a specific gene that helps your body process vitamin B9 had a more significant reduction in negative symptoms after taking B vitamin supplements. Those who took high doses of B vitamins alongside their medications had significantly reduced negative symptoms compared with those who took medicines alone.
Doses of 2 mg of folate and 400 mcg of B12 supplements may be effective in helping with symptoms of schizophrenia, according to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital. A daily vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms in the winter months is recommended by the NHS for all adults and children over four.
Omega-3 fatty acids are highly beneficial to the brain, reducing inflammation and promoting the growth of new brain cells. Evidence suggests that these nutrients may be advantageous for people with psychosis, particularly in individuals with low levels.
A diet of naturally omega-3-rich foods like shellfish, fish, nuts and seeds can be a natural way to boost brain and heart health. A study published in BMC Psychiatry found psychotic-like symptoms were less severe in women who ate fish three to four times per week compared to women who never ate fish.
Although the causes of schizophrenia aren’t fully understood, it is theorised that neuroinflammation contributes to the pathophysiology and exacerbates the severity of symptoms. A diet of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables, like green leafy vegetables, berries, citrus fruits and nuts, is a healthy and effective way to reduce inflammation and boost overall health.
4. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba is a herb used for centuries as medicine and food in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is high in antioxidants and may improve brain function and memory. It has been used as a mental health remedy for its ability to reduce fatigue, anxiety and depression, which can worsen the severity of schizophrenia.
According to a 2010 Chinese review and meta-analysis, a compound called EGb that is extracted from the dried leaves of this tree was found to reduce symptoms of psychosis when used alongside typical antipsychotic medication. These findings indicate that EGb therapy combined with antipsychotic medication may be more efficacious than medication alone. However, this review was based on a small sample who were given high doses of EGb, so more research is needed.
Ginkgo leaf supplements are generally safe but can interact with certain medications that affect blood clotting and NSAIDs like ibuprofen. Always consult your doctor before taking any new supplements.
Ginseng is a herb beneficial for cognitive development, lowering inflammation and boosting energy and immunity. In particular, a form of Korean ginseng called Panax ginseng has been shown to work on the same brain receptors as antipsychotic medications.
A small study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association found that Panax ginseng eased more difficult-to-treat negative symptoms of schizophrenia, like the flat affect, when used as an adjunct to typical antipsychotic medications.
Panax ginseng may cause side effects like disrupting sleep and may also cause harmful hormone-like effects with prolonged use. If adverse effects are experienced, it is recommended to discontinue using the supplement.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It is known for having a calming and balancing effect and is classed as an adaptogen for helping the body adapt to stress.
A small clinical trial published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggested that taking ashwagandha alongside antipsychotic medications may help relieve worsening symptoms of schizophrenia. A 2018 randomised, double-blind study found ashwagandha significantly reduced negative symptoms of schizophrenia with minimal side effects.
Ashwagandha is generally considered safe for short-term use, but always consult your doctor about proper dosages and potential risks.
While the research on herbal remedies as a treatment for schizophrenia is limited, they can be a simple yet effective way to boost overall health and brain function. While antipsychotics are generally effective at treating positive symptoms of schizophrenia, natural remedies can target the more difficult-to-treat negative symptoms.
Patients that do not respond well to antipsychotic medication may consider alternatives like medical cannabis. While most of the herbal supplements mentioned here are safe to use with antipsychotic drugs, always consult a doctor before trying any new therapies or supplements.
If you want to learn more about medical cannabis and schizophrenia, our team of expert physicians are here to help. At Lyphe, we bring accurate information about the benefits and risks of medical cannabis and make treatment accessible to patients in the UK. Call us today for more information and to learn more about our services.
What are the most effective vitamins and minerals for schizophrenia?
Vitamin D, B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial for schizophrenia by reducing inflammation and protecting the brain. These vitamins and minerals can be incorporated via dietary changes and supplements.
How can I cure schizophrenia naturally?
Holistic and herbal remedies may help to manage symptoms, in particular, negative symptoms that antipsychotic medications do not target. A combination of diet, vitamins and herbal supplements can work as an adjunct therapy to medication and may also be effective on their own in the early stages of the disorder.
Are essential oils effective for schizophrenia?
While no conclusive scientific research supports the use of essential oils as a primary treatment for schizophrenia, aromatherapy with essential oils may have calming and anxiolytic effects. However, these benefits have not been demonstrated explicitly in the context of schizophrenia.
American Psychiatric Association 2008 Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., May 3-8, 2008.
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