Schizophrenia – Causes, Symptoms & Natural Treatment
Schizophrenia is a complex mental health disorder characterised by:
- Difficulty differentiating between what is imagined and what is real (hallucinations, delusions)
- Difficulty thinking and concentrating
- Abnormal emotional responses or lack of emotion
- Abnormal social behaviour
Schizophrenia affects men and women equally and usually begins in adolescence or young adulthood. For males it usually develops between 15-25 and females 16-35 years of age. The symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions can be quite confronting to watch for family members.
Causes of Schizophrenia
The underlying cause is unknown, but may be a combination of genetics, childhood infection and environmental triggers. Much research has been conducted by Dr William Walsh and has found that 90% of schizophrenic patients fall into one of three main chemical imbalances. Over methylation in the brain, under-methylation and pyrrole disorder.
A thorough assessment of neurochemistry, methylation and blood markers is required to diagnose which biotype patients fall into. Nutrient therapy balancing this irregularities has shown remarkable improvement in patients, some with voices stopping in a matter of days.
TREATMENT STRATEGY FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA
- Support brain function and neurotransmitter balance
- Balance and optimize methylation
- Address pyrrole disorder if present
- Address gut imbalances and dysbiosis
- Calm sympathetic nervous system
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce oxidative stress
- Support adrenal function
- Address copper overload if present
- Address any underlying contributing factors (diet, food allergy, heavy metal toxicity, drug use, hypoglycemia, chronic infection etc.
Diet plan guidelines for Schizophrenia
- Fresh, whole food, unrefined diet, high in fibre, fruit and vegetables, quality proteins and healthy fats
- Eat regular meals; avoid missing meals
- Include essential fatty acids e.g. oily fish, free-range eggs
- Include high-quality grass fed protein e.g. chicken, fish, nuts and seeds
- Avoid stimulants e.g. sugar, caffeine, alcohol
- Avoid food allergens especially gluten and casein
Supplements that support Schizophrenia
A comprehensive assessment is required for all patients before administering supplementation, particularly those affecting methylation and altering neurotransmitters, incorrect supplementation can dramatically make the symptoms worse.
Support neurotransmitter balance and healthy brain function
- EFAs – fish oil to assist brain function
- Other amino acid and methylation affecting supplements not listed here due to required testing prior to administration
Calm sympathetic nervous system
- GABA – calming effect on nervous system
- N-acetyl cysteine)
- Heavy metal detox (if indicated, only to be conducted with a practitioner)
- Alpha-lipoic acid
Herbal Medicine treatment that supports Schizophrenia
- Brain function – ginkgo, bacopa, gotu kola
- Relaxing nervines – passionflower, oats, valerian, lemon balm, chamomile
- Adaptogens – withania, rhodiola, ginseng
- Antioxidant/anti-inflammatory – turmeric, St Mary‘s thistle
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE NATURAL TREATMENT OF SCHIZOPHRENIA
Schizophrenia is a complex condition that requires a thorough assessment of the patient. Investigation into the levels of neurotransmitters, nutrients, minerals and other specific blood test markers are required for assessment. One patient may require supplementation to address lower levels of certain neurological markers while another patient may require supplementation to decrease these same markers.
Schizophrenia patients can respond to nutrient therapy, neurotransmitter adjustment through amino acids and the balancing of the methylation process.
At our Perth clinic of Advanced Functional Medicine we have experience with mood disorders such as schizophrenia.
If you or a family member are suffering from Schizophrenia, paranoia or other related symptoms such as auditory hallucinations we would love to hear from you. Have you looked into over methylation or under methylation as a potential driving cause of your condition? Have you investigated pyrrole disorder? What interventions have assisted you most? Please leave a comment.