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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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