Holistic Nursing Practice - March 2020

(YAP, Micronesia) — NEWS: Schizophrenia may find a cure in individualized treatment. So says a new article in the science journal Holistic Nursing Practice. According to Dr. Daniel Helman, a researcher on the small island of Yap in Micronesia, long-term recovery is often possible, but appropriate studies are not being done.

Helman teaches at the College of Micronesia-FSM, in their division of education. He recently assessed the evidence-based literature related to schizophrenia. While there are promising avenues related to diet, exercise, and social roles that have some anecdotal support, treatment remains difficult because large, randomized trials are not being carried out.

“[P]sychiatric medications include major health risks from effects that appear during long-term adherence,” Helman writes, while many other non-medical treatments remain promising, awaiting further study. None of the existing studies of nonmedical treatment ideas are large enough to be conclusive. “For example, having a [coach or personal trainer] help with 20 hours of exercise per week, the evidence base needs to be more complete so that funding for supports such as this can be instituted.”

One rarely sees people suffering from the major symptoms of schizophrenia who have such an intensive exercise routine, according to Helman, so a path for future studies is likely to be useful.

Moreover, dietary interventions which could target autoimmune features, or vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or abnormal lipid metabolism, or gluten sensitivity await further study, and in the meantime long-term outcomes for those suffering from schizophrenia are not as good as they might be.

Helman has published several articles related to alternative and complementary treatments, but resistance, according to him, may be based on how medical practitioners think about the disease. Medications to mask the symptoms may be less effective in the long-term than finding a tailored solution to each patient by looking at them as an individual within a context.

Helman’s “Nonmedical Interventions for Schizophrenia: A Review of Diet, Exercise, and Social Roles” is featured in the March/April 2020 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Holistic Nursing Practice which is part of the Web of Science. Read here:

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