What are alternative treatments for schizophrenia?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

There are no alternative treatments for schizophrenia. Medications are necessary to keep the symptoms under control and to keep schizophrenic patients safe from harm. However, there are lifestyle remedies that sufferers can use to help them control their symptoms. These include learning to manage stress and getting support from professional support groups and others.

Alternative treatments for schizophrenia include:
  • Creative therapies: Although further research is needed, creative therapies that allow a person's inner world to be explored in a non-threatening way and that foster different types of communication may be beneficial. Art therapy may be useful for people with schizophrenia, particularly if they find it difficult to engage in verbal therapy. There is also a suggestion that music and drama therapy may provide some benefits.
  • Traditional Chinese medicine: Before antipsychotics were invented, traditional Chinese medicine was the main form of treatment for schizophrenia in China. Further studies are needed, but one study has suggested that traditional Chinese herbs may be useful when combined with antipsychotics.
  • Diet, rest and exercise: You and your family and friends should prepare to be patient during the treatment process. As with any recovery processes, it is important that the person with schizophrenia has a well balanced diet, adequate sleep, and regular exercise, even if the side effects of medication may make these goals challenging. Supervision of daily routines is often required.
  • Vocational rehabilitation: Often the symptoms of schizophrenia impact on the skills that people need to work. Vocational training is sometimes available to help people develop these skills again. Supported employment, such as within a rehabilitation program, may also be available.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.