Treatment for schizophrenia
Treatment for schizophrenia is only palliative. The goal of schizophrenia treatment is to ease the symptoms and cut the chances of a relapse or return of symptoms.
Treatment for schizophrenia may include:
Medications for the treatment of schizophrenia
The primary medications for schizophrenia are called antipsychotics. These drugs don’t cure schizophrenia, but help relieve the most troubling symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, and thinking problems.
Older (commonly referred to as “first-generation”) antipsychotic medications for schizophrenia include:
- Chlorpromazine (Thorazine)
- Fluphenazine (Prolixin)
- Haloperidol (Haldol)
- Oxilapine (Loxapine)
- Perphenazine (Trilafon)
- Thiothixene (Navane)
- Trifluoperazine (Stelazine)
Newer (“atypical” or second-generation) drugs used to treat schizophrenia include:
- Aripiprazole (Abilify)
- Aripiprazole Lauroxil (Aristada)
- Asenapine (Saphris)
- Brexpiprazole (Rexulti)
- Cariprazine (Vraylar)
- Clozapine (Clozaril)
- Iloperidone (Fanapt)
- Lumateperone (Caplyta)
- Lurasidone (Latuda)
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- Olanzapine/samidorphan (Lybalvi)
- Paliperidone (Invega Sustenna)
- Paliperidone (Invega Trinza)
- Quetiapine (Seroquel)
- Risperidone (Risperdal)
- Ziprasidone (Geodon)
Psychotherapy: a safe and conservative treatment for schizophrenia
Psychotherapy for schizophrenia is another type of treatment for schizophrenia that can help with the behavioral, psychological, social, and occupational problems that go with the illness. Through psychotherapy for schizophrenia, patients can also learn to manage their symptoms, identify early warning signs of relapse, and come up with a relapse prevention plan. Psychotherapy for schizophrenia includes:
- Rehabilitation, which focuses on social skills and job training to help people with schizophrenia function in the community and live as independently as possible,
- Cognitive remediation involves learning techniques to make up for problems with information processing. It often uses drills, coaching, and computer-based exercises to strengthen mental skills that involve attention, memory, planning, and organization.
- Individual psychotherapy can help the person better understand their illness, learn to cope, and develop problem-solving skills.
- Family therapy, which can help families deal with a loved one who has schizophrenia, enables them to better help their loved one.
- Group therapy or support groups that can provide continuing mutual support
ECT: an effective interventional treatment for schizophrenia
ECT for schizophrenia is a procedure that involves the use of electrodes attached to the person’s scalp. While they’re asleep under general anesthesia, doctors send a small electric shock to the brain. ECT therapy usually involves 2-3 treatments per week for several weeks.
ECT for schizophrenia causes a controlled seizure. A series of treatments over time leads to improvements in mood and thinking. Scientists don’t fully understand precisely how ECT and the controlled seizures it causes help, but some researchers think ECT-induced seizures may affect the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. ECT for schizophrenia can help when medications no longer work or if severe depression or catatonia makes treating the illness difficult.
Insulin shock therapy for the treatment of schizophrenia
Insulin shock therapy for schizophrenia is another treatment for schizophrenia. However, insulin shock therapy was found to be effective in the treatment of 182 cases of schizophrenia in the following terms: discharged from the hospital, 34.1%; remained discharged after a period of 21 to 75 months, 19.8%; and full social recovery (after that period), estimated at 6%. These figures indicate that insulin shock therapy is certainly not sufficient as a sole form of treatment for schizophrenia. It may have more value when used as a preliminary psychotherapy or milieu therapy approach. On the other hand, the low social recovery rate after 40 months (average) of evaluation is discouraging.
Another alternative treatment for schizophrenia is the natural treatment method.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and debilitating mental illness characterized by disordered thoughts, abnormal behaviors, and anti-social behaviors. It is a psychotic disorder, meaning the person with schizophrenia does not identify with reality at times. People with schizophrenia often have problems doing well in society, at work, at school, and in relationships. They might feel frightened and withdrawn and appear to have lost touch with reality. This lifelong disease can’t be cured but can be controlled with proper treatment.
Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia is not a split or multiple personality. Schizophrenia involves psychosis, a type of mental illness in which a person can’t tell what’s real from what’s imagined. At times, people with psychotic disorders lose touch with reality. The world may seem like a jumble of confusing thoughts, images, and sounds. Their behavior may be very strange and even shocking. A sudden change in personality and behavior, which happens when people who have it lose touch with reality, is called a psychotic episode.
What causes schizophrenia?
The exact causes of schizophrenia aren’t known. But like cancer and diabetes, schizophrenia is an actual illness with a biological basis. Researchers have uncovered several things that appear to make someone more likely to get schizophrenia. Below are possible causes of schizophrenia:
- Genetics (heredity): Schizophrenia can run in families, which means a greater likelihood of schizophrenia may be passed on from parents to their children.
- Brain chemistry and circuits: People with schizophrenia may not be able to regulate brain chemicals called neurotransmitters that control specific pathways, or “circuits,” of nerve cells that affect thinking and behavior.
- Brain abnormality: Research has found abnormal brain structure in people with schizophrenia. But this doesn’t apply to all people with schizophrenia. It can affect people without the disease.
- Environment: Things like viral infections, exposure to toxins like marijuana, or highly stressful situations may trigger schizophrenia in people whose genes make them more likely to get the disorder. Schizophrenia more often surfaces when the body is having hormonal and physical changes, like those that happen during the teen and young adult years.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
The condition usually shows its first signs in men in their late teens or early 20s. It mainly affects women in their early 20s and 30s. The period when symptoms first start and before full psychosis is called the prodromal period. It can last days, weeks, or even years. It can be hard to spot because there’s usually no specific trigger. You might only notice subtle behavioral changes, especially in teens. Early schizophrenia symptoms include:
- A change in grades
- Social withdrawal
- Trouble concentrating
- Temper flares
- Difficulty sleeping
Positive Symptoms of schizophrenia
In this case, the word positive doesn’t mean good. It refers to added thoughts or actions that aren’t based on reality. They’re sometimes called psychotic symptoms and can include:
- Delusions: These are false, mixed, and sometimes strange beliefs that aren’t based in reality and that the person refuses to give up, even when shown the facts. For example, a person with delusions may believe that people can hear their thoughts, that they are God or the devil, or that people are putting thoughts into their heads or plotting against them.
- Hallucinations: These involve sensations that aren’t real. Hearing voices is the most common hallucination for people with schizophrenia. The voices may comment on the person’s behavior, insult them, or give commands. Less common types include seeing things that aren’t there, smelling strange odors, having a funny taste in your mouth, and feeling sensations on your skin even though nothing is touching your body.
- Catatonia: In this condition, the person may stop speaking, and their body may be fixed in a single position for a long time.
Cognitive Symptoms of schizophrenia
A schizophrenic person usually experiences the following problems:
- Understanding information and using it to make decisions (a doctor might call this poor executive functioning)
- Focusing or paying attention
- Using their information immediately after learning it (this is called working memory)
- Recognizing that they have any of these problems
Negative Symptoms of schizophrenia
The word “negative” here doesn’t mean “bad.” It notes the absence of normal behaviors in people with schizophrenia. Negative symptoms of schizophrenia include:
- Lack of emotion or a limited range of emotions
- Withdrawal from family, friends, and social activities
- Less energy
- Speaking less
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of pleasure or interest in life
- Poor hygiene and grooming habits
Types of schizophrenia
Clinicians who specialize in mental health used to categorize schizophrenia by dividing the disease into different groups based on the significant symptoms.
- Paranoid schizophrenia: A person feels extremely suspicious, persecuted, or grandiose, or experiences a combination of these emotions.
- Disorganized schizophrenia: A person is often incoherent in speech and thought but may not have delusions.
- Catatonic schizophrenia: A person is withdrawn, mute, hostile, and often assumes very unusual body positions.
- Residual schizophrenia: A person is no longer experiencing delusions or hallucinations but has no motivation or interest in life.
- Schizoaffective disorder: A person has symptoms of both schizophrenia and a major mood disorder such as depression.
But this classification didn’t work. Experts now speak of schizophrenia as a spectrum disorder that includes all of the previous subtypes. This is a group of related mental disorders that share common symptoms. They are like variations on a theme in music. They influence your idea of what is real. They change the way you think, feel, and act.
It’s a form of psychotic disorder, which means what feels natural to you isn’t. You can have:
- Hallucinations: seeing or hearing things that are not there.
- Delusions: erroneous but firmly held beliefs that are easily proven wrong, such as thinking you have superpowers, are a famous person, or people are out to get you.
- Unsystematic Speech: Using words and sentences that make no sense to others.
- Strange behavior: acting in strange or repetitive ways, such as walking in circles, writing all the time, or sitting still and silent for hours.
- Withdrawn and Lifeless: Lack of feelings and motivation or lack of interest in normal daily activities
People who suffer from schizophrenia manifest at least two of these symptoms for at least six months. One of those symptoms must be either hallucinations, delusions, or disorganized speech. One voice is enough to comment on your thoughts and actions, or the voices are talking to each other in real-time.
Schizophrenia is the most well-known condition of this type, but some conditions include psychosis and other symptoms similar to schizophrenia.
The DSM-5 lists schizophrenia along with many other conditions called the schizophrenic spectrum and other psychotic disorders.
The list of those conditions is as follows:
- Schizotypal personality disorder involves discomfort in intimate relationships, disturbances in cognition or perceptions, and eccentric behavior.
- Delusional disorder involves the person having delusions for one month but no other psychotic symptoms.
- Brief psychotic disorder: This occurs when symptoms of psychosis last longer than a day but less than a month.
- Schizophreniform Disorder: This occurs when symptoms of schizophrenia last less than six months.
- Schizoaffective Disorder: This primarily involves symptoms of schizophrenia, but it also involves significant mood symptoms such as mania or depression.
- A psychotic disorder that is caused by drugs or alcohol: Psychotic symptoms can happen after using drugs or alcohol, hallucinogens, sedatives, or alcohol, or after taking medicines like antidepressants, anesthetics, anticonvulsants, heart medicines, chemotherapy, or antidepressants.
- Psychotic disorder due to another medical condition: This is usually due to untreated endocrine, metabolic, or autoimmune disorders or temporal lobe epilepsy.
The symptoms of schizophrenia can overlap with those of bipolar disorder, which is a condition that causes changes in mood, energy, activity, and behavior.
Schizophrenia vs. psychosis
Psychosis is a syndrome or group of symptoms. Someone experiencing an episode of psychosis is having a ‘break’ with reality. Significant symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations are sensations that are not real, such as hearing voices or sounds that aren’t real. Hearing voices is a common form of hallucination, but hallucinations can be experienced with any sense—hearing, sight, smell, taste, or touch. Delusions are strong beliefs that can’t possibly be true. Common delusions include the belief that someone is following or monitoring you or the belief that you have extraordinary powers or abilities. Other symptoms of psychosis include difficulties concentrating, completing tasks, or making decisions. Thoughts may feel ‘jumbled’ or confused. Some people have a hard time following conversations or speaking clearly. Psychosis can even affect the way people move or express their emotions.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes psychosis, but schizophrenia also has other symptoms. And it isn’t the only cause of psychosis. In some cases, other mental illnesses cause psychosis, including depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, and borderline personality disorder. Psychosis may come up during times of extreme stress, a significant lack of sleep, or trauma. People who are using or withdrawing from certain drugs or medications may experience psychosis. A brain injury, neurological problem, or other health problem may also cause psychosis. Therefore, although psychosis can be a symptom of schizophrenia, there are many other possible causes as well.
Living with Schizophrenia
Most people who are living with schizophrenia make a recovery, although many will experience the occasional return of symptoms (relapses). Support and treatment can help you manage your condition and its impact on your life.
Caring for your health can also make treating your condition easier and help reduce anxiety, depression, and fatigue. It can help you have a better quality of life and be more active and independent.
- Maintaining good physical and mental health
- Preventing illness or accidents
- Effectively dealing with minor ailments and long-term conditions
- You’ll contact your healthcare team regularly as part of the care program approach.
- Having a good relationship with the team means you can easily discuss your symptoms or concerns. The more they know, the more they can help you.
Natural treatments for schizophrenia
Natural treatment for schizophrenia is another approach to treatment for schizophrenia that has been proven to be effective. Natural treatment for schizophrenia aims at the use of natural remedies for schizophrenia in combination with acupuncture, hypnosis, reiki, meditation, etc. Below, we describe some of the most common approaches to the natural treatment of schizophrenia.
Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese natural treatment for schizophrenia
Acupuncture is a form of natural treatment for schizophrenia that is used to re-balance internal medicine’s physical imbalances to treat schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is treated as a physiological imbalance resulting in a mental condition rather than merely an isolated mental disorder apart from biophysical processes. Some clinical studies did favor TCM treatment for schizophrenia when acupuncture was combined with other natural remedies. Clinical evidence suggests that acupuncture may have some measured antipsychotic effects on the overall and mental state with few adverse effects.
The study performed by a group of scientists under the supervision of Yasuhiro Kaneda showed that acupuncture treatment may help treat sleep disorders in schizophrenic patients. After acupuncture treatment, our patients’ overall psychopathology decreased, they had less severe sleep problems, and their cognitive function (working memory) improved markedly. In addition, this study showed that activatch, which objectively assesses sleep problems, is clinically informative because it can identify sleep problems that would not have been detected by psychological tests (sleep inventory) alone. In this study, Yasuhiro Kaneda found and proved a beneficial result of using acupuncture: sleep latency improved after acupuncture treatment, and trends were observed to increase sleep efficiency and decrease the number of minutes the patient was awake at night.
Homeopathy is the #1 natural treatment for schizophrenia
Homeopathy aims to use natural remedies for schizophrenia based on the philosophy of “like cures like,” which has been proven to be effective with no traces of side effects.
Homeopathy is one of the most prevalent holistic medical systems. The choice of remedies is grounded in the individuation and likeness of symptoms using a holistic approach. This is the only way to regain an entire state of health by removing all the signs and symptoms from which the patient suffers. The goal of homeopathy is not only to treat schizophrenia but also to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. Regarding therapeutic medications, several remedies are available to treat schizophrenia, which can be chosen depending on the cause, sensations, and modalities of the complaints. For individualized selection and treatment of remedies, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic physician in person. There are the following remedies that help treat schizophrenia:
The patient imagines seeing ghosts, hideous faces, animals, and insects. The patient bursts into fits of laughter or screams; he grinds his teeth, prone to biting others; he hits those around him. The patient loses the memory of all things and becomes savage; he wants to escape from all his attendants; he has an aversion to noise, company, and light; his head is hot; he has cold hands and feet; and he also experiences hydrophobia. Eventually, the person turns pale as the amazement increases.
Hyoscyamus is a paranoid state where a person is convinced that people are trying to poison him. He refuses to eat or drink for fear of poison. Jealousy motivates behavior, including the outbreak of violence; a person becomes shameless and exposes his genitals to someone, incessantly playing with his genitals. Increased sexual desire and behavior: The person imagines fancy paper on the wall and continues to imagine strange things about the figures. He talks about imaginary things. The illusion of parasites, rats, and mice in the room Picks up bed linen; makes no claims.
Lachesis: great talkativeness; loving; sad in the morning; no desire to mingle with the world. Restless and restless; does not want to serve business; wants to be out somewhere all the time. Jealous; mental work is best done at night; euthanasia; suspect; night fire illusion; religious insanity; disturbance of the sense of time.
This is another excellent homeopathy remedy for schizophrenia. The patients for whom this medicine is usually recommended are those possessing an exaggerated idea of self-importance, oversensitivity to all external impressions, depression, indifferent behavior towards family and friends, and strange imaginations.
The significant symptoms of schizophrenia for which Anacardium is beneficial are:
- fixed ideas;
- beliefs possessed by two persons or wills;
- Fear when walking, as if pursued; deep melancholy and hypochondria with a tendency to violent speech.
- Brain question.
- Impaired memory.
- Very easily offended.
- Malignant; seems intent on malice.
- Insecurity or uncertainty in yourself or others.
- Suspicious; clairaudient, hears voices from afar or from the dead;
- Senile dementia;
- Absence of any moral restraint.
Stramonium is recommended in cases of active variable delirium, delusional mania with cold sweat, and religious madness; homeopathic medicine talkstramonium for schizophrenia by others is intolerable; self-accusation; loss of reason or speech; strange absurd ideas—he thinks himself tall, double, lying sideways, having half of his body cut off, etc. laughs at night, cries during the day; lewd speech; limbs feel separate from the body; fear and anxiety in hearing the water flow; maniac; curses; tears clothes with his teeth. Violent speech. Exposes the part. Stupid; imbecile; he sits silently, with his eyes on the ground, teasing her clothes; he wants to kill people or himself; the wife thinks her husband neglects her; the man thinks her wife is unfaithful.
The prescription of Aurum Metallicum is recommended if a patient manifests the following signs:
- the feeling of self-criticism, total insignificance, and unimportance;
- deep hopelessness and misery, with suicidal thoughts;
- talks of committing suicide;
- inordinate distress along with fear of death;
- irritable, cranky, and violent; at least illogicality or irrationality; anthropophobia;
- mental imbalances and sanities.
Those patients also constantly ask questions without waiting for an answer. They can’t perform actions fast; they speak slowly, move slowly, etc. They demonstrate intolerance to noise that usually causes anxiety and confusion.
Hypnosis – one of the best alternative treatments for schizophrenia
Numerous schizophrenic patients pursue hypnosis when they have not progressed through traditional psychopharmacological healing. However, there is controversy about the use and effectiveness of hypnosis for schizophrenia. Some hypnotherapy techniques, like direct and indirect suggestions, psycho-strengthening suggestions and images, hypnoprojective restructuring, guidance, and neutralization of delusional effects, have been shown to work on some patients who are easy to hypnotize. Details about the structure and strategy of hypnotherapy for treating delusions in people with schizophrenia are shown using case studies that are meant to be representative.
Hypnosis is generally considered a dangerous therapy, sometimes contraindicated in the treatment of schizophrenic patients. There are undoubtedly situations where this technique must be used with special care. Hypnosis is a valuable and effective tool, using the proper techniques in suitable cases.
Clinical knowledge and much of the earlier literature hold that schizophrenics are much less hypnotic than ordinary people. Several studies have shown success in hypnotizing schizophrenics but lacked a methodology to compare with a group of ordinary patients. In the study, 26 children with a hospital diagnosis of schizophrenia received the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, a literal induction technique and rating scale for which data is available for the regular standardization group. Es gave results very similar to the standard group. The reasons for the difference between this and previous findings were discussed, including the hypothesis that previous workers found that schizophrenics were hypnotic, different from normal, because they treated them differently from normal ones.
Hypnosis is suitable for many conditions, but you should always work very closely with your psychiatrist or therapist and get permission first.
Then, do your research. Make sure you choose a qualified hypnotherapist with at least five years of experience. The best thing is to get hypnotic treatment from a medical doctor who is using hypnosis in his practice. The best example of a medical doctor who used hypnosis for the treatment of mental diseases was Milton H. Erickson.
Milton Hyland Erickson (December 5, 1901 – March 25, 1980) was an American psychiatrist and psychologist specializing in medical hypnosis and family therapy. Dr. Erickson was the founding chairman of the American Society for Clinical Hypnosis and a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychopathological Association. He is known for his approach to the unconscious mind as a creator and solution generator. He has also influenced brief therapy, strategic family therapy, family systems therapy, solution-focused brief therapy, and neurolinguistic programming.
If you plan to work with a hypnotherapist and are suffering from a mental illness, be sure to get permission from your doctor first.
Natural treatment for schizophrenia in Philadelphia
The best treatments for schizophrenia are usually a combination of medications and alternative treatments. In many cases, schizophrenia can be healed using natural approaches such as acupuncture, homeopathy, hypnotherapy, yoga, etc. Some providers may use talk therapy, communication and social skills training, family therapy, and career coaching.
In other cases, your doctor may ask you to relax and try exercises such as yoga. Yoga can help people cope with the weight gain associated with drugs for schizophrenia. Yoga can also help people manage their emotional regulation.
If you choose to get a holistic treatment for schizophrenia and are looking for a medical provider, contact Philadelphia Holistic Clinic at (267) 403-3085 to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive holistic evaluation and ask Dr. Tsan which natural treatment is best for you.
Dr. Tsan is a medical doctor who intensively uses homeopathy, hypnosis, reiki, and acupuncture. The team of licensed medical professionals works under the strict supervision of Victor Tsan, MD.