Holistic Practices in Schizophrenia Therapy and Treatment


Considering the Impact of Schizophrenia on All Aspects of Life

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder that can dramatically impact a person’s life with its symptoms. People with schizophrenia generally experience symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking. Many individuals with the condition feel paranoid or believe they’re hearing voices. The condition can impact behavior and functions of daily living and physical aspects of a person’s life. Although the medical community has not found a cure for this condition, it can be managed in many cases with medication and schizophrenia therapy.

The mental health community has embraced many treatment approaches for the disease. Evidence-based treatments for schizophrenia are therapies that have the support of the medical community because they have been thoroughly researched and clinically proven to be safe and effective for treating associated disorders. However, many alternative and holistic practices are also used in mental health treatment. Many mental health therapies are considered safe and helpful for promoting condition management.

At the Alter Behavioral Health™ network of mental health treatment centers in California, we offer multi-type schizophrenia therapy and treatments based on the best evidence-based, alternative, and holistic practices known to the mental health field. We individualize treatment to ensure that each patient gets the support needed for improved symptom management. Our treatment facility is well known for its supportive environment and experienced clinicians. If you or a loved one needs treatment for schizophrenia or other mental health disorders, you can rely on Alter Behavioral Health™ for help.

Holistic Approaches to Schizophrenia Therapy and Treatment

Schizophrenia can be a debilitating condition, especially when left untreated. Its symptoms can impact all important aspects of life. Individuals with the disease can experience a distorted sense of reality and hallucinations. People with the disorder often find working or managing various aspects of their lives difficult. During schizophrenia flare-ups, symptoms can be severe and patients may even require hospitalization to manage symptoms.

Individuals with schizophrenia can find it challenging to work, attend school, socialize, adhere to a schedule, care for family, care for themselves, and live independently. With optimal schizophrenia therapy and support, as well as schizophrenia therapy, it is possible to achieve condition management, but effective lifelong management of the condition is essential. While medication and therapy can help people manage the condition, social support is also important to many individuals with this mental illness.

Alter Behavioral Health™ offers holistic approaches to schizophrenia therapy that are safe and known to enhance the treatment of the condition. In addition to our evidence-based therapies, our holistic treatments target aspects and symptoms of the condition, providing patients with helpful support. For instance, researchers have shown that medication alone cannot effectively manage all aspects of the brain disorder. Exercise, for instance, is ideal for improving cognitive processes among schizophrenia patients. Exercise is a helpful holistic approach to treating many mental health conditions, including schizophrenia.

Yoga is also a beneficial holistic approach to schizophrenia therapy. The physical aspects of yoga can promote improved cognitive functions for schizophrenic patients while the meditative aspects of the practices can promote feelings of calm in patients. Natural or holistic treatment approaches can complement evidence-based schizophrenia treatments. Even though studies are limited, early research into certain types of holistic treatment appears promising.

For instance, fish oil has been shown to help prevent schizophrenia onset among high-risk individuals. Schizophrenia is associated with a high degree of inflammation, but fish oil can decrease inflammation in the body. By reducing inflammation with fish oil supplements, some at-risk individuals may be able to ward off the disease. Other holistic therapies that may help treat some aspects of schizophrenia include diet (especially inflammation-reducing diets), meditation, and melatonin. 

Effectiveness of Art Therapy in Schizophrenia

Some mental health care providers have documented the effectiveness of art therapy in schizophrenia. Art therapy can benefit schizophrenia patients by helping them express emotions and thoughts in a non-verbal format, which can be helpful for patients who struggle with verbal communication. Art therapy can also improve patients’ self-confidence and willingness to engage in social situations. 

Unlike art classes that provide instruction to help people improve their art skills, art therapy is designed to help someone with a mental health disorder like schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress disorder express their thoughts and emotions through art. Someone who has schizophrenia experiences delusions, thoughts that are disconnected from reality. It can be difficult to express these thoughts in words. Art therapy provides patients with an alternative means for communicating these thoughts or feelings that are triggered by their delusions or hallucinations. 

Patients who experience medication side effects, common among schizophrenic patients, can also use art therapy to help them cope with these side effects. Art therapy can help to alleviate stress and allow patients to manage other symptoms such as agitation more effectively. As with other forms of schizophrenia therapy, art therapy isn’t a cure for the illness but can improve its management.

The Role of Music Therapy in Schizophrenia Treatment

Like art therapy, music therapy can improve the management of schizophrenia. Some research has demonstrated that music therapy can improve schizophrenia symptoms in individual and group sessions. The therapy is used to help patients improve their ability to express their thoughts and feelings. Like art therapy, patients use music instead of art as a vehicle for communication. 

creative schizophrenia therapy treatment

According to medical researchers, music therapy for the treatment of schizophrenia patients has been shown to:

  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Decrease feelings of agitation
  • Improve interpersonal communication and relationships
  • Improve self-motivation
  • Increase verbal communication
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Provide a safe platform for emotional expression/release

Studies conflict about how long music therapy can support these positive outcomes. Still, clinicians are excited to have alternative treatment options to conventional therapies to promote positive results in schizophrenic patients. More high-quality clinical studies are needed to evaluate music therapy and schizophrenia further. Still, the therapy does not appear to deliver adverse effects, which makes it safe for patients to try in association with other treatments in their plan. 

Other Creative Therapies in Schizophrenia Management

Other creative therapies may be useful for treating schizophrenia. Some patients may benefit from dance therapy, for instance. Dance therapy can promote benefits associated with music and art therapy and benefits associated with exercise. Aerobic exercise, in particular, offers schizophrenia patients support for managing their condition. Aerobic exercise can improve cognitive functioning, memory, and processing. Dance may involve aerobic exercise when offered as part of therapy. When participating in dance therapy, patients can also look forward to improved symptom relief, like reduced muscle tension. 

Visual art therapy, similar to art therapy, focuses on various types of art–not just drawing or painting–for making art to express feelings and communicate thoughts. Patients may use techniques like sculpture as part of their visual art therapy. Therapists may use materials like clay, chalk, or even digital devices for taking photos to help patients. Creative therapies aren’t cures for schizophrenia, but they can provide symptom relief and improved management of the mental disorder. 

How Therapy and Medication Work Together in Schizophrenia Treatment

Neither therapy nor medication alone provides optimum support for patients who have schizophrenia. Together, however, they form a powerful support for schizophrenic patients. In some cases, therapeutic interventions like aerobic exercise, for instance, can improve symptoms that medication cannot. 

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder, so its management is crucial. The degree to which someone experiences symptoms or severe symptoms varies from one patient to another. Early intervention has been shown to improve condition management, and effective management can greatly help reduce schizophrenia flare-ups. 

Of course, several types of medications and therapies can be used to treat schizophrenia. Not all will be effective for each patient. It’s the goal for clinicians to develop a treatment plan for each individual that will provide optimum support for them. It’s not uncommon for some therapies to work better for some patients than others. Some patients may require changes in medications or doses to manage their condition. Some patients have symptoms resistant to conventional treatment, requiring clinicians to embrace more alternative solutions to support patients. 

Alter Behavioral Health Is a Top Provider of Schizophrenia Treatment 

The Alter Behavioral Health™ network of top mental health treatment facilities in California provides patients with empathetic care and the expertise we’re known for. Our clinicians have the experience needed to treat schizophrenia and other mental health disorders. Although our core treatment programs are based on evidence-based therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy, we also offer holistic therapies that are known to support the optimum management of mental health conditions like schizophrenia. We also continue to espouse best treatment practices as they enter our field. If you or a loved one suffers from schizophrenia or mental health symptoms, contact us for help. We individualize therapy to ensure patients get the support they need for their unique symptoms. Call us to learn more or schedule an appointment. 

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