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9 Natural Approaches To Coping With Schizophrenia

9 Natural Approaches To Coping With Schizophrenia

Though it is difficult to pinpoint the actual cause of schizophrenia, the many symptoms — including hallucinations, abnormal motor behavior, lack of personal hygiene, lack of emotion, and many others — can be managed through treatment. Most doctors will recommend antipsychotics for this, but the side effects often make schizophrenics wary of taking them. For those looking to manage their symptoms in a more natural way, the following natural treatments may provide some options.
Please note that some of these herbal remedies may possibly have negative side effects and should not be combined with medications, so please consult with your doctor before commencing use. Also, be sure to notify your doctor if you experience any negative side effects during treatment.

1. Panax Ginseng

This herb can help improve memory and concentration. It also helps to reduce the lack of emotion that some schizophrenics experience. Ginseng can also boost a person’s energy. It is important to remember that Panax ginseng is Korean, and not to be substituted with Siberian or American ginseng.

However, researchers believe that Panax Ginseng may have some hormone-like effects that could be harmful with prolonged use. Be sure to discontinue use if you develop negative side effects.

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2. Fish Oils

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for healthy development of brain cells. Because people with schizophrenia usually have lower levels of these fatty acids in their bodies, taking fish oil supplements that are high in eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, is an effective way to not only reduce their symptoms, but actually improve their functions as well.

3. St. John’s Wort

Also called Hypericum, St. John’s Wort is listed among the natural alternatives to psychiatric drugs. It helps to reduce feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and fear. It also helps to relieve depression and elevate a person’s mood.

Prolonged use of St. John’s Wort can have negative effects, so remember to do the proper research and consult with your doctor before commencing treatment.

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4. Brahmi

Though it is not clear exactly how it works, Brahmi, or bacopa, can help by enhancing cognitive ability. It may also help schizophrenics by stabilizing some of the brain’s chemicals, as well as offering neuroprotective properties.

Brahmi may also have some side effects, but is considered safe to take for short-term periods of up to 12 weeks.

5. Regular Exercise

Exercise is not just great for a healthy body, it also helps to improve a person’s mood and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. This can be achieved with just half an hour of walking or jogging each day. Yoga is also a healthy alternative, as it can help reduce any psychotic symptoms. It can also help to improve cognition, as well as producing changes in neurobiology. Regular exercise can help create a better quality of life for those suffering from schizophrenia.

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6. Ginkgo Biloba

Due to its ability to improve memory and cerebral circulation, the leaves of this tree have been used in medicine for years. It can also help reduce fatigue and poor balance. Headaches and mood swings are also relieved when using ginkgo biloba, making it one of the better mental health approaches to schizophrenia.

Ginkgo leaf supplements are generally safe, but remember to consult with your doctor before use.

7. Antioxidants

There is the possibility that the development of schizophrenia in the brain may be affected by oxidative stress, and the use of antioxidants can help to reduce this problem. Certain vitamins, such as A, C, and E, can help by lessening the severity of the symptoms. Vitamin C also has the ability to lower stress. These vitamins can be taken in supplements or by including foods with high levels of antioxidants, such as blueberries, spinach, lemons, or carrots, into the schizophrenic’s diet.

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8. Ashwagandha

This herb has a calming effect on schizophrenics thanks to its ability to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. This is quite useful for those suffering from schizophrenia, since those two symptoms can lead to other worse ones, including suicidal thoughts.

While ashwagandha is considered safe for short-term use, large doses can cause negative side effects, such as stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Consult with your doctor about proper dosages.

9. Music

There is an old saying that claims music can calm even the most savage of beasts. Though the latter part is not quite accurate in relation to a schizophrenic, the statement of the calming effects of music rings true. The ability to express themselves through music has been proven to reduce many symptoms of schizophrenia. This is due to the ability to use any instrument, or piece of music, a person desires. They can play a variety of instruments, or just one that they find particularly soothing, and spend their time focusing on only the music, letting their stress and anxiety slip away.

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Last Updated on September 15, 2020

4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes in a Positive Way

4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes in a Positive Way

Life changes are constant. Whether it’s in the workplace or our relationships, nothing in life ever remains the same for long.

Regardless of the gravity of change, it can always be a little scary. So scary, in fact, that some people are downright crippled by the idea of it, causing them to remain stagnant through anxiety.

Have you ever noticed how much of life’s transitional periods are riddled with anxious vibes? The quarter life crisis, the mid-life crisis, cold feet before getting married, retirement anxiety, and teenage angst are just a few examples of transitional periods when people tend to panic.

We can’t control every aspect of our lives, and we can’t stop change from happening. However, how we respond to change will greatly affect our overall life experience.

Here are 4 ways you can approach life changes in a positive way.

1. Don’t Fight It

I once heard one of my favorite yoga instructors say “Suffering is what occurs when we resist what is already happening.” The lesson has stuck with me ever since.

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Life changes are usually out of our control. Rather than trying to manipulate the situation and wishing things were different, try flowing with it instead.

Of course, some initial resistance is natural if we’re going into survival mode. Just make sure you are conscious of when this resistance is no longer serving you.

If you’re feeling anxious about impending life changes, it’s time to practice some techniques to address the anxiety directly. These can include meditation, exercise, talking with friends about how you’re feeling, or journaling.

If you’re worried about a big life change, such as starting a new job[1] or moving in with your partner, do your best to control your expectations. It may help you to talk with people you know about their experiences going through similar changes. This will help you form a realistic picture in your mind of what things will look like post-change.

2. Find Healthy Ways to Deal With Feelings

Whenever we’re in transitional periods, it can be easy to lose track of ourselves. Sometimes we feel like we’re being tossed about by life and like we’ve lost our footing, causing some very uncomfortable feelings to arise.

One way we can channel these feelings is by finding healthy ways to release them. For instance, whenever I find myself in a difficult transitional phase, I end up in a mixed martial arts studio.

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The physical activity helps me channel my emotions and release endorphins. It also helps me get in shape, which generally increases my mood and energy levels.

Exercise is important in cultivating positive emotions, but if you’re struggling with anxiety in particular, it’s important to cultivate a regular exercise routine as opposed to a one-off workout. One study found that “Aerobic exercise can promote increase in anxiety acutely and regular aerobic exercise promotes reduction in anxiety levels”[2].

If exercise isn’t your thing, there are other, less intense ways of cultivating positive emotions and reducing anxiety around life changes. You can try stretching, meditating, reading in nature, spending time with family and friends, or cooking a healthy meal.

Find what makes you feel good and helps you ground yourself in the present moment.

3. Reframe Your Perspective

Reframing perspectives is a very powerful tool used in life coaching. It helps clients take a situation they are struggling with, such as a major life change, and find some sort of empowerment in it.

Some examples of disempowered thinking during life changes include casting blame, focusing on negative details, or victimizing[3]. These perspectives can make awkward transitional phases much worse than they have to be.

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Meanwhile, if we utilize a more positive perspective, such as finding a lesson in the situation, realizing that there may be an opportunity for something, or that everything passes, we can come from a greater place of ease.

4. Find Time for Self-Reflection

Having time to reflect is important at any stage in your life, but it’s especially important during transitional periods. It’s quite simple really: we need our time to step back and get centered when things get a little crazy.

As a result, big life changes are perfect for doing some self-reflection. They are opportunities to check in with ourselves and practice getting grounded for a few minutes.

Take a look at this reflective cycle adapted from Glibb’s Self-reflection guide (1988):[4]

Use self-reflection when facing life changes.

    Self-reflective exercises include meditating, yoga or journaling,[5] all of which require some quiet time to get yourself together.

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    One study found that journal improves “self-efficacy, locus of control, and learning”[6]. A healthy sense of self-control can make the process of change easier to bear, so that in itself is a great reason to try self-reflection through journaling.

    To learn how to start journaling, you can check out this article.

    Final Thoughts

    Big life changes may rock us for a little while, but they don’t have to be as bad as we initially perceive them. If handled in a positive manner, transitional periods can pave the way for some serious self-growth, reflection, and awareness.

    Cultivate a sense of positivity and find ways to diminish the anxiety around life changes. Once you make it to the other side, you’ll be grateful that you made it through in the best way possible.

    More Tips on Facing Life Changes

    Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

    Reference

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