What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatric condition that manifests as abnormalities of perception, thinking, and behaviour. It can arise suddenly or gradually, and be anywhere from mild to disabling.

Schizophrenia symptoms are classified as “positive” or “negative”. Positive symptoms include paranoia and hallucinations, and negative symptoms include dampening of emotions, cognitive impairments and social withdrawal.

Genetic, environmental and psychosocial factors are involved in the development and manifestation of schizophrenia (Gaby, 2011).

Further information

 What is schizophrenia?

American Psychiatric Association webpage

Medical standard of care

The standard medical approach typically does not consider or address dietary, nutrient, and environmental contributors to schizophrenia.

Conventional treatment for schizophrenia mainly utilizes antipsychotic medications such as neuroleptics and tranquilizers.

For many people, these medications are only partially effective and have a variety of negative side effects. Nonpharmacological treatments like psychotherapy are used in addition to medications.

Medical standard of care for schizophrenia

(Treating schizophrenia, n.d.): 

  • Assess symptoms and establish a diagnosis.
  • Formulate and implement a treatment plan.
  • Develop a therapeutic alliance and promote treatment adherence.
  • Provide patient and family education and therapies.
  • Treat comorbid conditions, especially major depression, substance use disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • Attend to the patient’s social circumstances and functioning.
  • Integrate treatments from multiple clinicians.
  • Carefully document the treatment, since patients may have different practitioners over their course of illness.

Further information


Description of diagnosis, medications and psychosocial interventions

Schizophrenia Treatment and Self-Help

Schizophrenia Treatment and Self-Help

Why consider an orthomolecular approach?

Schizophrenia has numerous biological and molecular causes and contributors that have been identified through research and clinical practice. Each individual may experience schizophrenia symptoms for different reasons.

The orthomolecular approach:

  • Identifies the drivers and causes of schizophrenia and focuses on understanding them
  • Works WITH the body to restore balance and normal function, and considers the person with the condition versus just the condition
  • Addresses nutrient depletions that promote anxiety whereas medications do not
  • Can be done SAFELY in conjunction with most medical treatments

Orthomolecular recovery

According to Dr. Abram Hoffer, a pioneer in orthomolecular schizophrenia treatment, if the person with schizophrenia is provided the basic elements of shelter, good food, and care for personal dignity and respect (Gaby, 2011):

  • The natural recovery rate is 50%
  • Adding nutritional therapy increases the recovery rate of acute schizophrenics to 90% (acute means sick less than 2 years or have had several remissions and relapses)
  • Chronic schizophrenics will be much improved or well within 10 years

Orthomolecular approach and nutritional therapy

  • A goal of nutritional therapy is to reduce medication dosing to low, non-toxic levels, or to discontinue them completely (Gaby, 2011)
  • For acute schizophrenia, it may take at least 2 months to see effects of supplementation
  • Progress with chronic schizophrenia is often slow, and it may take years to see significant improvement
  • Once supplementation has taken effect, schizophrenia symptoms rarely return as long as supplementation is continued
  • Many patients, particularly chronic patients, continue to require antipsychotic medication, but at much lower doses than previously used (Gaby, 2011)

Gaby AR. (2011) Nutritional Medicine. Alan R. Gaby, VitalBook file. 

Treating schizophrenia: A quick reference guide. (n.d.). American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved October 5, 2020, from