Are Vitamins the Answer to Schizophrenia?
It is sometimes too easy to believe that someone is healthy when they look “just fine”. For those suffering from schizophrenia however, living is a trial that is often overlooked or highly trivialised.
Schizophrenia is a long-term, mental disorder that breaks down the barriers between thought, emotion and behaviour, which leads to social and personal problems. This can include apathy, social withdrawal or lack of emotion.
Studies in Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that adding vitamin B12 and folate supplements to standard medical treatment can help to reduce some of the symptoms of this debilitating illness. Whilst the effects were limited, the researchers noted that it could be down to the patient’s genetic make-up that determines the success of the vitamins.
“The symptoms of schizophrenia are complex, and anti-psychotic medications provide no relief for some of the most disabling parts of the illness. These include negative symptoms, which can be particularly devastating,” noted Joshua Roffman, M.D., an MGH Department of Psychiatry specialist who helped conduct the trial.
The test involved 140 patients, half of which were given the combination to take along with their medication, whilst others were given a set of pseudo (dummy) pills.
Although it had taken 16 weeks to show any effects, what was found was that the combination improved negative traits of the disorder, which could potentially improve the relationship between emotions, thoughts and behaviour around the brain. Folic acid especially, is vital, since it ensures that these three traits are consistently ticking.
During a pregnancy, a lack of Folic acid may increase the risks of babies developing schizophrenia at a young age.
If the results are based on genetics however, how many can be treated?
Whilst the results have been limited, they also show promise – that may, for the most part, imply that in the near-future, the needs of those of those suffering from schizophrenia will be met with brighter shades and happier consequences.
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