Orthomolecular Applications in Integrative Psychiatry – Schizophrenia & Psychosis Course
May 24, 2018 - May 24, 2019
Schizophrenia is a highly variable, multifactorial mental disorder producing a spectrum of symptoms ranging from odd but harmless behavioral abnormalities to full psychosis. The concept of biochemical individuality is therefore of particular importance within integrative approaches to treatment of this unique illness. This five-module course incorporates the theories of orthomolecular medicine into nutritional psychiatry, presenting decades of supportive research evidence. In addition to vitamin deficiencies, multiple contributors to inflammation are implicated in the etiology of schizophrenia and addressed in a comprehensive, integrative treatment plan for use in clinical practice.
Like many psychiatric disorders, schizophrenia lacks a clearly defined pathophysiology; consensus suggests the combination of genetic susceptibility with various environmental triggers interacting to influence disease manifestation and severity. Still struggling to break free of negative social stigmas, current opinions and treatment models vary across time and place. An evolutionary theory presented in this module suggests the intrinsic value of mild schizophrenia symptoms, delivering a unique perspective on the condition.
The legacy of Abram Hoffer, deemed the father of orthomolecular psychiatry, remains strong after almost 50 years. His zealous contributions to a nutritional perspective on schizophrenia stimulated ongoing research in the biochemical bases of psychiatric illness with immeasurable benefits to the field. The second module in this course describes Hoffer’s progressive treatment strategies and recommendations, highlighting his primary practice of using high-dose Niacin and Vitamin C to target schizophrenia symptoms.
In addition to Niacin (Vitamin B3), schizophrenia research and clinical trials suggest that additional vitamin deficiencies are involved in producing brain abnormalities. Individual genetic variations in nutrient and drug metabolism can result in biochemical deficits or excesses that significantly impact energy homeostasis and neurotransmitters in the brain. This module explores the roles of B-Vitamins (folate, B6, B12), Vitamin D, and Zinc in normal mental function.
Many disease states in humans are the result of acute or chronic inflammation, and mental disease is no exception. Unremitting inflammatory responses as a result of physiological or psychological stress creates a degenerative cycle of damage to brain structure and function. Adequate nutrients that support and repair neurons and combat oxidative stress are fundamental components in the orthomolecular and integrative treatment of schizophrenia. This module discusses how a patients diet may result in the delivery of toxic metabolites to the brain, the invaluable contributions of essential fatty acids to neural integrity, and the distinct utility of N-acetyl cysteine in reinforcing the brain’s defense mechanisms.
Bringing together data from multiple lines of evidence, the orthomolecular and integrative interventions for schizophrenia target the root cause of illness in each patient, from the minute to the more conspicuous. Adding what is needed and removing what is harmful is at the core of nutritional psychiatry. The final module in the schizophrenia course reinforces how valid, comprehensive testing techniques and personalized recommendations bring together the biochemical, environmental, social, and emotional components that are key to successful treatment.