Can schizophrenia be cured before it starts?

Prevention in Schizophrenia

Prevention takes on new meaning when you factor in the potential of advanced nutrient therapy. The nutrient intervention of choice in schizophrenia is niacin (vitamin B3) therapy and it has been studied in various contexts. In functional, orthomolecular and naturopathic medicine circles, vitamin B3 therapy for schizophrenia holds the best outcomes ever documented in history. High dose niacin therapy emerged in the early 1950’s with reports of profound response in neuroleptic-naive acute psychosis. Six-double blind trials were done at the inception and later, with more and more practitioners using niacin therapy, a distinct trail of evidence showed better responses in cases treated earlier on.

Good response characteristics

Schizophrenic patients that respond the best (good responders) were those that were less chronic and less exposed to anti-psychotic medication. These patients can acheive significant symptom alleviation (see Case 3 of Treatment Response Article).

The biochemical traits that are treatable but make you less likely to respond optimally to niacin therapy are methylation imbalance (blocks the on-demand manufacture of neurotransmitters), heavy metal dominance (copper, mercury, lead, cadmium), thyroid dysfunction (with or without blood test confirmation), protein catabolism (a protein deficiency state) and food intolerance (especially gluten sensitivity).  This diversity of secondary conditions requires Targeted Treatment as a Standard of Care treatment model .

Signs of pre-schizophrenic versus first-episode schizophrenia

Early in the course of schizophrenia we see the ‘pre-schizophrenic’ or prodromal phase as the putative most treatment responsive group. More outcome research is required on pre-schizophrenic cohorts but given the significant response in neuroelptic-naive acute cases we might expect that prodromal cases that are less chronic might achieve similar or better response with reduced conversion or transition to first-episode schizophrenia.

In the prodromal phase we see symptoms that are seemingly more indistinct and more on and off versus the more obvious and more constant symptoms of first-episode schizophrenia.  Prodromal symptoms may be similar or identical to the symptoms of schizophrenia, but typically not as long-lasting or intense. The prototypical signs of prodromal schizophrenia include the following collective profile: functional decline (academic decline for example) and concentration difficulties, social withdrawal, odd behaviour changes, unusual beliefs, heightened sensitivities to sound/sight/touch/smell, disinterest,  suspicions of others and sleep/appetite changes. People can undulate in the prodromal phase for years and in such cases, it may never progress to full blown schizophrenia and, therefore remission is possible.

Remission from the prodromal stage can be long-lived and some people never ever experience the same array of symptoms ever again.

If it’s not the prodromal phase and symptoms have been more constant?

If symptoms have progressed and have been more constant for at least six months then it is more likely that you are facing first-episode schizophrenia.

Niacin therapy is underestimated in its ability to address all levels of schizophrenic illness and the primary reason for this is simply the lack of full blown funded research and the lack of research being done in a manor that leverages the obvious by treating those less than 2 years post-onset who are not on neuroleptics.

If symptoms have been constant for more than 2 years

Targeted treatment is required in cases more than 2 years post-onset. Here the aim is to leverage the use of advanced niacin therapy while also neutralizing/normalizing secondary biochemical aspects to achieve the healthiest brain cell environment for recovery. We see a significant protion of these cases acheiving 40-60+% improvement.

Depression in adolescents

If your teen is experiencing odd behaviors outside of sadness, depression or anxiety, then you probably need a diagnostic workup. Depression and anxiety are among the most commonly seen overlapping symptoms of psychosis but, typical mood disorder symptoms are drastically different from psychotic mood disorder symptoms.

If an adolescent does not have the ‘wooden’ expressionless component with blunted emotional repertoire and, if he/she does not completely withdraw from stimulating environments then it is less likely that he/she has schizophrenia.

What to do if its depression?

If it is a type of depression or anxiety then our standard of care  mood disorder protocol is a good assessment and treatment model.

The Semantics of Preventing Schizophrenia

If you were to prevent schizophrenia from ever occurring it would be considered a Primary prevention intervention. Reversing the symptoms of schizophrenia after onset would be considered a Secondary prevention intervention or cure. Early detection-intervention takes on new meaning when you factor in advanced niacin therapy. This stresses the need for future research to document the successes so society can recognize the benefits empirically and move forward.

Treatment outcomes with the standard of care mental health system drug approach

The NIH endorsed CATIE studies reveal generally less than 20% improvement in less than 20% of chronic cases (when compared to older typical neuroleptic response) and, this margin of improvement is not improved on in first-episode cases, despite all the optimism of better results (see for example, Marshall M, Rathbone J., Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jun 15;(6): Early intervention for psychosis). The 20% threshold of symptom alleviation is rarely exceeded in schizophrenia drug treatment protocols.