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  • Schizophrenia can take a drastic toll on your health. It's been found that the mortality rates of schizophrenics are two to three times higher compared to the general population due to poor diets and low amounts of exercise
  • Ailments like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and respiratory disease are common among schizophrenics, which contribute to the higher mortality rate
 

Treatment and Medication for Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia can take a drastic toll on your health. It's been found that the mortality rates of schizophrenics are two to three times higher compared to the general population due to poor diets and low amounts of exercise.1

Ailments like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and respiratory disease are common among schizophrenics, which contribute to the higher mortality rate.2

Reducing Your Sugar Intake May Help Manage Schizophrenia Better and Improve Your Physical Health

Diets high in sugar have been found to influence your propensity for schizophrenia. It's speculated that sugar suppresses the brain's ability to produce a hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a hormone responsible for producing healthy neurons in the brain.

In turn, low BDNF levels may cause brain shrinkage overtime, which has actually been found among schizophrenics.3

The important thing to do is reduce your sugar intake. Foods high in sugar have been linked to chronic inflammation throughout your body and, as mentioned earlier, may intensify your schizophrenia as well. Equally important is cutting back on processed foods and grains.

Replace your sugar-loaded processed food diet with organic fruits and vegetables and grass-fed meat to give your body the nutrients it needs for optimal health. Probiotic-rich food may also help with proper brain function and psychological well-being.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Improve Your Overall Mental Health

Plenty of evidence has already shown the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for physical health, but what's amazing is that they may also help improve your mental health.

According to a study published in Schizophrenic Research, taking an omega-3 supplement along with vitamins E and C has shown a noticeable decrease in both positive and negative symptoms among schizophrenics after four months of treatment.4

It's recommended that you obtain omega-3 from fatty fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, sardines and anchovies as they contain high concentrations of this nutrient.

However, if you cannot obtain organic sources of these fish (because commercially grown fish are contaminated with pollutants), a high-quality krill oil supplement will do. Krill oil is harvested from pristine oceans far away from pollution, making it a clean, organic source of omega-3.

Commonly Prescribed Medication for Schizophrenia and Their Side Effects

Medications are considered to be the "cornerstone" of treatment for mental disorders. Antipsychotic drugs in particular, are commonly prescribed to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia.5 However, they come with plenty of side effects, some of which are life-threatening.

There are two types of antipsychotic drugs sold today. The first one is the typical antipsychotics, which are the first-generation of antipsychotic drugs developed in the 1950s. The second one is the atypical antipsychotics, which are second-generation drugs developed in the 1990s with the intention of giving off fewer side effects.6 The table below shows the commonly prescribed first- and second-generation antipsychotic drugs:7,8

First Generation (Typical) Second Generation (Atypical)
Chlorpromazine (Thorazine) Aripiprazole (Abilify)
Fluphenazine (Prolixin) Asenapine (Saphris)
Haloperidol (Haldol) Clozapine (Clorazil)
Perphenazine (Trilafon) Iloperidone (Fanapt)
Loxapine (Loxitane) Lurasidone (Latuda)
Thioridazine (Mellaril) Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
Trifluoperazine (Stelazine) Paliperidone (Invega)

The table below compares the side effects between the first- and second-generation medications. As you'll see, atypical medications have just as many side effects:

First Generation (Typical) Second Generation (Atypical)
Shaking Drowsiness
Trembling Weight gain
Muscle twitches Blurred vision
Muscle spasms Constipation
Temporary paralysis Lack of sex drive
Restlessness Dry mouth
Changes in breathing and heart rate Nervousness

If you absolutely must use medication, please be aware of the possible side effects and discuss them with your doctor. However, don't rely on medication for treatment alone, as it only treats some of the symptoms and will not cure schizophrenia. A healthy diet, exercise, supportive therapies and quitting unhealthy habits like smoking all contribute greatly towards an optimistic recovery and management of this condition.

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