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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.