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Abilify Alternatives

This entry was posted in Antipsychotic and tagged on by .
Medically Reviewed Fact Checked

Last Updated on August 4, 2021 by Diane Ridaeus

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Samuel Lee MD

We look at potential misdiagnoses or over-medication issues with a critical eye, and in 75% of Abilify cases, we find that natural Abilify alternatives provide a more sustainable program of recovery.

Antipsychotic drugs such as Abilify can cause side effects — serious side effects — that can include seizures, stroke, tardive dyskinesia, just to name a few.6

Does Your Diagnosis
Require Abilify?

successful ability alternatives
Alternative to Meds has offered help to clients looking for antipsychotic alternatives for over 15 years. Please see our published evidence regarding our success for more information. Underlying issues can in many cases be addressed without toxic prescription drugs. In many cases, we discover that medical conditions were missed or left unresolved, and other contributing factors were overlooked. Tragically, this often resulted in misdiagnoses. We can help.
Watch this video of a young man who had a tragic life in and out of psychiatric wards and persistent psychosis who, after ATMC methods, has gone on to be an international speaker, author, and model of what type of transformation can occur when using strategic holistic therapies. Gordie, featured in the video has been successful over bipolar and schizophrenia without even a hint of his diagnosis for 10 years.
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Why Choose Alternatives to Abilify (aripiprazole)?

Abilify is licensed by the FDA to be prescribed to treat schizophrenia, episodes or mixed episodes of mania and psychosis associated with bipolar, major depressive disorder, irritability in autism, and Tourette’s Disorder.7

Abilify is classed as an atypical (newer) antipsychotic medication. First-generation antipsychotics affected dopamine distribution and newer antipsychotics (the atypical set) affect both dopamine and serotonin distribution.24 Atypical antipsychotics are also prescribed for a large number of non-approved (off-label) uses such as anxiety, ADHD, severe geriatric agitation, eating disorders, insomnia, OCD, PTSD, personality disorders, dementia, and addiction treatment, and for depression after antidepressants did not work.8

For some, Abilify is well tolerated and effective at treating symptoms as mentioned above, at least in the short term. However, antipsychotics have many possible side effects that may occur during treatment. Unlike antibiotics given to “cure” pneumonia, psychiatric drugs are not designed to cure conditions, but to suppress or control symptoms.10 Unfortunately, in many cases, antipsychotics cannot adequately control a person’s symptoms. For many, the side effects of antipsychotic drugs make them intolerable as well as unhelpful.9 Individuals may prefer to seek natural Abilify alternatives to achieve drug-free mental health, by addressing the root causes of symptoms.

Natural Alternatives to Abilify

We know that much better alternatives to Abilify exist compared to having to take antipsychotic medication for a whole lifetime. Would you or a loved one like to become more familiar with a better way forward, one that you can have confidence in? In this article, we cover some of the supplements that are Abilify alternatives, dietary corrections, and other therapies that we have found useful in working with clients at our center.

Natural Alternatives to Abilify Include:

  • Overhaul your diet.15,25-27
  • Support a clean gut, healthy microbiome flora.16
  • Cleanse out neurotoxic accumulations from the body.17, 19
  • Test for and correct micro-nutrient/vitamin/mineral deficiencies.20
  • Psychotherapy/psychosocial therapy.1,11,12
  • Holistic treatments for symptoms such as insomnia, depression.13,17
  • Exercise.14
  • Orthomolecular treatment such as NAC, high-dose vitamin C, inositol niacinate.18,26
  • Avoid neurotoxic chemicals such as MSG or glutamate in foods.21
  • Avoid sugars, artificial sweeteners.22,23
  • Adequate sunshine on the skin.17

Orthomolecular Holistic Treatments as Natural Alternative to Antipsychotics

abilify orthomolecular treatmentsAccording to a 2014 article by Dr. Prousky,25 long-term use of antipsychotic medications to treat schizophrenia can so thoroughly suppress and disrupt the normal functions of the central nervous system and the person’s life generally, that treating schizophrenia with an orthomolecular approach would be near to impossible. Alternative to Meds Center first uses gentle methods of stabilizing and then withdrawing the client from medications or at least reducing the dosage as much as possible, creating a better pathway for success using orthomolecular and other holistic treatments.

In many cases, the same could be said for treating other conditions, such as insomnia, depression, PTSD, and other psychiatric symptoms — an orthomolecular approach can be equally difficult unless the drugs are reduced or eliminated as part of the overall treatment plan.

Orthomolecular treatments could include NAC, a precursor to glutathione, nebulized glutathione, amino acids, and other specific ortho molecules (found naturally in the body) to help the CNS regain normal proper and balanced function.25,26

Corrected Diet as a Natural Alternative to Abilify

Improving the diet has clearly demonstrated profound improvement of psychiatric symptoms in many populations, including schizophrenic persons. Another benefit is the stabilization of blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia is linked with symptoms that can resemble mental illness such as brain fog, depression, and lowered cognitive function.15, 25, 26. 27

Healthy Microbiome as an Alternative to Abilify

healthy microbiome second brainThe gut is often referred to as “the second brain,” due to its important role in the creation and distribution of hormones and neurotransmitters responsible for regulating and operating the myriad of systems in the body, including the CNS and brain functions. An unhealthy microbiome is associated with depression, anxiety, mood swings, fatigue, allergies, cravings, and other undesirable symptoms.28,29

Evidence shows that adding fermented foods, probiotics, green leafy vegetables and adequate fiber to the diet will help build and maintain a healthy microbiome (gut). Things to avoid are sugars, processed foods, antibiotics (if possible) as they strip out both the good and bad bacteria from the trillions of living microbes in the gut. Antibiotics can kill the immune cells a body needs to protect itself. If you must take antibiotics, be sure to replenish the good bacteria to keep the “second brain” healthy.30

Psychotherapy as an Effective Alternative to Abilify

The summary above demonstrates that Alternative to Meds Center’s focus is not on substituting one drug for another similar drug. We also don’t engage in hoping by trial and error to find one that doesn’t cause further injury. Abilify alternatives in our programs provide non-toxic, safe, and effective treatment protocols for conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and others, in a warm social setting. Alternative treatments include psychotherapy — we deliver many genres of effective talk therapy at the center.

abilify talk therapyTalk therapy is a fundamental aspect of an alternative Abilify treatment plan. Such therapy is used in combination with other protocols in a well-rounded Abilify Tapering plan. Several research studies have demonstrated the efficacy of psychosocial therapies in a variety of programs that support natural healing methods.

Psychosocial therapy can successfully help persons in dealing with specific aspects of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder.1 For example, clients may want to achieve improvements with communication skills and raise their ability to comfortably interact with others in a social setting. They may also seek to improve satisfaction with their quality of life and may appreciate guidance leading to better self-care. Individual and group-based planned activities within a structured program can provide these opportunities. Other areas that a person may wish to improve are maintaining and perhaps repairing relationships, and improved family relations, for instance.

Valid Approaches of Holistic Abilify Alternatives

abilify nutritional supplementsResearch has shown psychosocial interventions can lead to an increase in mood stability, fewer and shorter hospitalizations, and improvement in other areas including interactions with others. It is tragic that simply switching to other drugs is the mainstream option offered as an alternative to Abilify. This often occurs when a person cannot tolerate the side effects or the drug simply does not “work” as hoped. However, most “replacement” antipsychotic drugs will have the same or additional side effects as Abilify. We feel a superior approach is to find effective natural Abilify alternatives, which can consist of a wide range of different therapies. For example, natural supplements, testing for nutritional deficiencies, correct diet, such things as equine therapy, art and music therapy, and other healing activities have demonstrated efficacy.

Other examples of valid Ability alternatives would be acupuncture, yoga, simple changes in lifestyle, learning coping mechanisms, as well as educational components relating to mental health.

An individual’s environment and lifestyle are some of the biggest factors that can contribute to symptoms.17 With care and attention to these factors, there can be a specific answer carefully developed for each person. We feel it is important that individuals receive a program from our clinical team based on their unique needs, tolerance, and requirements.

Excessive Dopamine and Psychosis

dopamine and psychosisResearch on psychosis2 shows an excessive amount of dopamine can present as, or at least contribute to psychosis or other undesirable symptoms. The CNS is a highly refined, complex system of interacting chemicals and reactions. On-going research shows that other neurochemicals are likely also involved in such a multi-layered operation.3 But what is fairly certain is that dopamine is the neurochemical corresponding to feelings of reward, and when there is an excess it makes everything seem stimulating which may result in manic states.

This can be a result of neurotoxins stimulating the neurology. This overstimulation of dopamine, et al., can occur after toxin exposure. It is also commonly related to genetic issues that are associated with the way the individual clears toxins. For example, a poor diet may lack vital nutrients such as zinc, niacin, vitamin B6, or vitamin C. Additionally, low blood sugar, food preservatives, or other food or dietary problems can cause psychosis.4 This is especially true in sensitive people. When a person then takes an antipsychotic, the drug is aimed at reducing dopamine. Unfortunately, this leaves the person without the enjoyment of rewards in life. Our treatment center programs address these core issues.

We have an amazing staff who are highly trained in their therapeutic fields, who are dedicated to helping clients along their healing journeys. We draw from an arsenal of techniques to successfully withdraw individuals from psychiatric medications. Firstly, our rehab does lab testing to find what caused or contributed to the initial symptoms. Toxicity is a common culprit, sometimes a person is affected by genetic factors or the environment; then we work to clear the individual of these toxins. Therefore, we restrict anything that may add to toxicity, including sugar, caffeine, and processed foods. We also use supplements that are known for their beneficial effects in these individuals and supplements that support aspects of the neurochemistry that are inhibitory.5

Inpatient Abilify Alternative Treatments at ATMC

biotransformative saunaOur treatment center concentrates on cleaning out the accumulated toxins, neurochemistry stabilization through natural substances, nutritional therapy such as amino treatments, peer support, yoga, personal training for exercise, massage, and holistic therapies equipped to handle Abilify withdrawal symptoms. When the client becomes calm, comfortable, and stable; their medication can be slowly reduced and they can start on a new treatment plan that incorporates healthful, natural alternatives to Abilify.

We invite you to call and speak to us, get a more precise understanding about the types of Abilify alternatives treatment methods and inpatient programs we can provide for you or a loved one at Alternative to Meds Center.

1. Bellack A, “Psychosocial treatment in schizophrenia.” Dialogues in Clinical Psychology [Internet] 2001 Jun  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

2. Robertson, S, “Dopamine and Psychosis.” News Medical Life Sciences [Înternet] 2020 Jan 23  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

3. Kerner, B “Glutamate Neurotransmission in Psychotic Disorders and Substance Abuse.” Open Psychiatric Journal ¨[Internet] 2009 Nov 5  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

4. Sahoo S, Mehra A, Grover S, “Acute Hyperglycemia Associated With Psychotic Symptoms in a Patient with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: a Case Report.” Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience [Internet] 2016 Nov-Dec  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

5). Brown JS, “Introduction: An Update on Psychiatric Effects of Toxic Exposures.” Psychiatric Times [Internet] 2016 Sep 30  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

6) NAMI authors,. “What Are Possible Side Effects Of Aripiprazole?”. National Alliance on Mental Illness Jan 2016  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

7. FDA Label Abilify (aripiprazole) as revised 2014 December  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

8. Maglione M, Maher AR, Hu J, Wang Z, Shanman R, Shekelle PG, Roth B, Hilton L, Suttorp MJ, Ewing BA, Motala A, Perry T. Off-Label Use of Atypical Antipsychotics: An Update [Excerpt] [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2011 Sep. Report No.: 11-EHC087-EF. PMID: 22132426.[cited 2021 Aug 4]

9. Shirzadi AA, Ghaemi SN. Side effects of atypical antipsychotics: extrapyramidal symptoms and the metabolic syndrome. [Abstract] Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2006 May-Jun;14(3):152-64. doi: 10.1080/10673220600748486. PMID: 16787887.[cited 2021 Aug 4]

10. Pizzorno J. Can We Say “Cure”?. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2016;15(5):8-12.[cited 2021 Aug 4]

11. Turkington D, Dudley R, Warman DM, Beck AT. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for schizophrenia: a review. J Psychiatr Pract. 2004 Jan;10(1):5-16. doi: 10.1097/00131746-200401000-00002. PMID: 15334983.[cited 2021 Aug 4]

12. Rector NA, Beck AT. Cognitive behavioral therapy for schizophrenia: an empirical review. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2001 May;189(5):278-87. doi: 10.1097/00005053-200105000-00002. PMID: 11379970. [cited 2021 Aug 4]

13. Cunningham JEA, Shapiro CM. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) to treat depression: A systematic review. J Psychosom Res. 2018 Mar;106:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2017.12.012. Epub 2017 Dec 24. PMID: 29455893.[cited 2021 Aug 4]

14. Mikkelsen K, Stojanovska L, Polenakovic M, Bosevski M, Apostolopoulos V. Exercise and mental health. Maturitas. 2017 Dec;106:48-56. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2017.09.003. Epub 2017 Sep 7. PMID: 29150166. [cited 2021 Aug 4]

15.  Głąbska D, Guzek D, Groele B, Gutkowska K. Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Mental Health in Adults: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2020;12(1):115. Published 2020 Jan 1. doi:10.3390/nu12010115 [cited 2021 Aug 4]

16. Yuan X, Kang Y, Zhuo C, Huang XF, Song X. The gut microbiota promotes the pathogenesis of schizophrenia via multiple pathways. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2019 Apr 30;512(2):373-380. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2019.02.152. Epub 2019 Mar 18. PMID: 30898321.[cited 2021 Aug 4]

17. Evans GW. The built environment and mental health. J Urban Health. 2003 Dec;80(4):536-55. doi: 10.1093/jurban/jtg063. PMID: 14709704; PMCID: PMC3456225. [cited 2021 Aug 4]

18. Hoffer, A. Megavitamin B-3 Therapy for Schizophrenia. Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal, Volume: 16 issue: 6, page(s): 499-504 December 1, 1971  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

19. Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative of the CDC, Mental Health and Environmental Exposures. published November.2008  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

20. Low Dog T. The role of nutrition in mental health. Altern Ther Health Med. 2010 Mar-Apr;16(2):42-6. PMID: 20232617. [cited 2021 Aug 4]

21. Kraal A Z et al., Could Dietary Glutamate Play a Role in Psychiatric Distress? Journal of Neurpsychobiology 2020; 79: 13-10 published February 2020  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

22. Knüppel A, Shipley MJ, Llewellyn CH, Brunner EJ. Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder and depression: prospective findings from the Whitehall II study. Sci Rep. 2017;7(1):6287. Published 2017 Jul 27. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-05649-7 [cited 2021 Aug 4]

23. Guo X, Park Y, Freedman ND, et al. Sweetened beverages, coffee, and tea and depression risk among older US adults.PLoS One. 2014;9(4):e94715. Published 2014 Apr 17. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094715 [cited 2021 Aug 4]

24. Dazzan, P., Morgan, K., Orr, al. Different Effects of Typical and Atypical Antipsychotics on Grey Matter in First Episode Psychosis: the ÆSOP Study. Neuropsychopharmacol 30,765–774 (2005). [cited 2021 Aug 4]

25. Prousky, Jonathan. (2014). The Clinical use of Orthomolecules in the Treatment of Schizophrenia: Critical Reflections and Commentary. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. 29. 141-153. [cited 2021 Aug 4]

26. Klauser, P., Xin, L., Fournier, al. N-acetylcysteine add-on treatment leads to an improvement of fornix white matter integrity in early psychosis: a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Transl Psychiatry 8,220 (2018). [cited 2021 Aug 4]

27. Aucoin M, LaChance L, Clouthier SN, Cooley K. Dietary modification in the treatment of schizophrenia spectrum disorders: A systematic review. World J Psychiatry. 2020 Aug 19;10(8):187-201. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v10.i8.187. PMID: 32874956; PMCID: PMC7439299.  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

28. Ridaura V, Belkaid Y. Gut microbiota: the link to your second brain. Cell. 2015 Apr 9;161(2):193-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.03.033. PMID: 25860600. [cited 2021 Aug 4]

29.; Clapp M, Aurora N, Herrera L, Bhatia M, Wilen E, Wakefield S. Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axisClin Pract. 2017;7(4):987. Published 2017 Sep 15. doi:10.4081/cp.2017.987  [cited 2021 Aug 4]

30. Zhang S, Chen DC. Facing a new challenge: the adverse effects of antibiotics on gut microbiota and host immunity. Chin Med J (Engl). 2019;132(10):1135-1138. doi:10.1097/CM9.0000000000000245 [cited 2021 Aug 4]

Originally Published Oct 30, 2018 by Diane Ridaeus

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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Abilify Alternatives
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Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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