Schizophrenia may be a lifelong condition, but you can successfully manage symptoms to improve your quality of life.
Living with schizophrenia can present many challenges. You may experience hallucinations, delusions, and changes in your thoughts and abilities that can impair day-to-day function.
This condition can feel overwhelming and you may wonder how you’ll find balance again, but know that there is hope. Schizophrenia can be successfully managed with a treatment plan.
Psychotherapy for schizophrenia is one of the key components to positive long-term outcomes.
Modern therapy comes in a variety of formats and is a far cry from the stereotypical process of lying on a couch talking about your day.
Psychotherapy is a term that describes a broad realm of psychological interventions.
When you live with schizophrenia, many of the challenges you face may have to do with functioning around symptoms of the disorder.
Medication can help relieve many of the outward symptoms of schizophrenia, like hallucinations, but psychotherapy can help help teach you new:
- coping strategies
- thought processes
Psychotherapy for schizophrenia isn’t about “curing” the disorder. It’s about helping you live your best life — with schizophrenia.
Living with schizophrenia may not mean the same thing for you as it does for someone else. This condition can be complex, and not everyone’s symptoms will be the same.
For this reason, there are many different approaches to psychotherapy for schizophrenia.
Your healthcare team may focus either on one primary format or a combination of several that can best serve your needs.
Like all mental health conditions, it may take time and effort to find what works. Many people often try multiple types of therapy before settling into one that suits them best.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy used for many different mental health disorders and situations.
CBT is a management strategy that focuses on identifying untrue or unhelpful patterns of thinking and behavior.
Once these challenges are uncovered, CBT can help you:
- learn to recognize them
- understand where they came from
- approach them with new problem-solving skills
Since schizophrenia is accompanied by symptoms of psychosis, CBT for this disorder commonly involves additional psychosis supportive measures (CBTp) intended to help prevent more severe symptoms of psychosis in the future.
Cognitive enhancement therapy (CET)
One of the latest options in psychotherapy for schizophrenia is cognitive enhancement therapy (CET).
With CET, you’ll often participate in group and computer-based training sessions aimed at improving cognitive function and confidence.
Preliminary research in 2016 — on a group of 14 individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia — suggests CET may provide benefits by improving the neuroplasticity of brain regions related to emotional regulation.
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
Based on practices of mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) focuses on:
- acceptance of schizophrenia
- commitment to positive changes
- behavior modification to help you remain focused in the moment
- promoting psychological adaptability based on what’s happening in the present
Dialogue therapy is based on creating a trustworthy relationship between you and your mental healthcare team.
This form of therapy engages with you in a way that aims to help you feel safe to explore your own thoughts, using:
- language skills
- humanistic tradition
- family approaches
A 2019 study of 108 people found that dialogue therapy could help improve functioning in schizophrenia, as well as decrease the need for hospitalization and other psychotherapy interventions.
In addition to traditional psychotherapy management programs, you may benefit from psychosocial options, which involve community and family support.
These options can include:
- Peer support: outlets where you can speak with other people living with schizophrenia
- Group therapy: focused on improving social and relationships skills in the everyday world
- Assertive community treatment: community-based network of professionals that help you stay on track and meet your needs
- Family therapy: helps your family develop behaviors that support your treatment plans and keep the psychological wellness of the family unit intact
Thus far, no cure-all natural remedy has yet been identified for schizophrenia.
Natural options for schizophrenia are often hindered by limited research. But with traditional treatment, the symptoms of schizophrenia can be vastly improved.
It is possible to lead a quality life while managing this condition.
Natural options that do show promise are primarily used in conjunction with traditional medication and psychotherapy for schizophrenia.
A 2017 review of 18 studies focused on vitamin B supplementation in schizophrenia found high-dose B vitamins may help reduce psychiatric symptoms of the disorder, such as:
Vitamin C and vitamin E were found to have inconclusive effects in a
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to schizophrenia risk; however, data from a
A 2021 review suggested both gingko biloba and bacopa monniera extracts possess qualities that may help reduce positive and negative schizophrenia symptoms.
Positive and negative symptoms
Positive symptoms of schizophrenia add a feature to what was already present, like auditory hallucinations or confused speech, for example.
Negative symptoms take a feature away. Withdrawal or anhedonia (a lack of pleasure) are two examples.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish oil, have been applied to schizophrenia treatment due to their ability to improve neural connections and integrity in the brain.
The complexity of schizophrenia is still being unraveled by researchers, but one theory suggests that abnormal glucose handling and mitochondrial dysfunctions may lead to a communication breakdown in the brain.
This malfunction of brain networking might present as symptoms of schizophrenia.
To help address this specific function, a
Other natural remedies
A number of other potential natural remedies for schizophrenia are under investigation, such as the use of:
Many of these substances have ties to physiological processes implicated in schizophrenia, but an exact link to the disorder remains undetermined as more research is needed.
Psychotherapy for schizophrenia is typically part of a well-rounded treatment plan for this mental health condition.
While medications can help take the edge off some symptoms you’re experiencing, psychotherapy can provide you with coping mechanisms for everyday life.
If you’re ready to start therapy but don’t know where to begin, check out Psych Central’s guide to finding mental health support in your area.
Natural remedies may help enhance the results of traditional therapeutic options, but research in this area is limited.
Before starting any over-the-counter supplement to treat schizophrenia, it’s important to speak with your healthcare team first. Your doctor and therapist can guide you toward options that are safe and effective for your specific needs and symptoms.