Schizophrenia is a lifelong mental health condition that affects the way a person may see or perceive the world around them. It requires treatment from a licensed healthcare professional, which usually combines medication and therapy.

It’s estimated that 0.25 and 0.64 percent of people in the United States live with schizophrenia.

If you have this condition, it’s important that you follow your doctor’s order for treatment and use complementary treatments only in addition to prescribed treatment.

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder. It can cause many symptoms, including:

Treatment usually includes antipsychotic medications. It may also include:

  • group or individual therapy
  • psychoeducation
  • rehabilitation

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments are another option that people like to explore.

The terms “complementary” and “alternative” are often used interchangeably. But these words actually describe two different types of treatment.

The term “complementary” refers to nonmainstream treatments used along with conventional treatments. The term “alternative” refers to situations when nonmainstream approaches are used instead of conventional treatments.

Keep in mind

Medication is important in managing schizophrenia. CAM treatments should not replace the care of a doctor or prescribed medication. They should only be used in addition to traditional treatment.

Talk with your doctor before using any CAM treatment to see whether it’s safe for you. They can also help come up with a CAM treatment that fits your specific needs.

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Vitamin treatment

A 2014 research review notes that B vitamins, including vitamins B12 and B6, may be helpful in treating schizophrenia. Several studies have used a combination of these vitamins.

The researchers also looked at a few small studies suggesting that vitamins C and E may be beneficial. But the review concluded that more research is needed.

Some studies in this review have linked vitamin D deficiency, especially early in life, with schizophrenia. It isn’t clear whether people who have already received a schizophrenia diagnosis would benefit from taking the vitamin.

Fish oil supplements

Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients are known to reduce inflammation in your body. Inflammation may play a role in many mental health conditions, including schizophrenia.

In a 2015 study involving 81 young people at high risk of schizophrenia, those who took fish oil supplements were less likely to develop the condition. The results are promising, but more research is needed.

It isn’t clear whether fish oil supplements improve symptoms in people who have already received a schizophrenia diagnosis. But there may be other benefits, such as improved heart health.

For example, 2009 research notes that people with schizophrenia are at higher risk of metabolic syndrome. This, in turn, increases the risk of heart disease. So, some people with schizophrenia may decide to try omega-3 fatty acids for the heart health benefits alone.

Diet management

Research from 2019 on ketogenic diets has also shown promising results in treating schizophrenia.

A ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that also includes high protein foods. But diet changes do not always make a difference for people with schizophrenia.

More research is needed to determine whether there’s a relationship between diet and schizophrenia.

Always talk with your doctor before making major changes to your diet. A diet change should not be used to replace medication.

Relaxation and stress management

Most people experience stress. However, if you have schizophrenia, stress can increase symptoms of hallucinations and delusions, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Some ways to reduce stress include making lifestyle changes, such as:

  • recognizing stress triggers
  • creating a daily schedule or routine
  • exercising
  • meditating
  • doing breathing exercises
  • practicing yoga
  • eating a balanced diet
  • engaging in therapy
  • avoiding drugs and alcohol
  • following a sleeping schedule

Be sure to talk with your doctor before making any significant lifestyle changes. They will be able to help you come up with a treatment plan that works for you.


CBD is a newer alternative treatment for schizophrenia. Not only is there limited research on its effectiveness, but the research is also conflicting.

One small 2021 study showed that CBD may help improve cognitive function with low side effects. However, a 2021 review does not support CBD use in treating schizophrenia.

Always check with your doctor before using CBD products, especially if you take medication for your schizophrenia. CBD can interfere with some medications.


Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally present in your body. According to a 2012 research review, if you have schizophrenia, your melatonin levels might be lower.

This may cause side effects such as dyskinesia (when your body moves without your control) or insomnia. Taking melatonin supplements may help treat some of these symptoms.

Make sure you talk with your doctor before taking any melatonin supplements. Melatonin supplements should not be used in place of conventional schizophrenia medication.

If you have schizophrenia, CAM treatments may be an option for you. But it’s important to speak with your doctor before trying any new treatments.

Vitamins and natural supplements can interfere with some medications. Some alternative treatments are not based on solid evidence. They may also be dangerous.

Be sure to ask your doctor about the safety of any new treatment you are considering.