Last Updated on March 2, 2021 by
Table of Contents:
At Alternative to Meds Center we understand the risks posed by this drug and we serve as guides for those who are attempting to make the transition. We’ve been there. We know what it takes.
Last Updated on March 2, 2021 by
At Alternative to Meds Center we understand the risks posed by this drug and we serve as guides for those who are attempting to make the transition. We’ve been there. We know what it takes.
Risperdal can cause some severe side effects that may make it difficult to continue taking the drug. And some may not feel the drug has helped them as was hoped. Certain age groups should be made aware of potentially severe reactions according to FDA guidelines.1,3,15 Aside from unpleasant side effects or unsatisfactory effectiveness, antipsychotics may also cause a person to feel disconnected from life, making it difficult to set goals and function in life as they would like to. These are some familiar reasons we have often heard from clients who opted for exploring alternatives to Risperdal.2
Did you know that In some clinical trials, potential candidates are excluded from the trial if they have an initial bad reaction to the drug? The results of such a trial may, therefore, be only partially accurate.5 In any case, there are many Risperdal alternatives including other lesser medications, psychotherapy, and natural holistic therapies that are much safer.
Risperdal has been licensed for treating schizophrenia in adults and teens, (but not children), and for manic and depressive (or mixed) episodes of bipolar disorder from age 10 and up. For autistic children, it can be prescribed to children as young as 5 years old. The drug is proven to cause breast growth as well as lactation in male children and adults, for which the drugmaker was sued in 2018. Johnson & Johnson was additionally sued for illegally marketing Risperdal off-label and paid $billions in fines. Risperdal lawsuits were filed against the drugmaker because these and other serious side effects were discovered to be hidden from the public.7,15
If bothersome side effects arise while taking Risperdal or if this medication is not effective at treating your condition, there are natural Risperdal alternatives. Even if this drug does manage symptoms to a degree and side effects are not that severe, one may find Risperdal (risperidone) alternatives can help a person regain the full level of health and quality of life that is desired.
Morrison’s 2009 study on CBT in the treatment of schizophrenia found that the core symptoms of schizophrenia are often resistant to medication-based treatment, but do improve with cognitive behavioral therapy. Benefits to family and other relationships, as well as improvements in the workplace, are noted, along with an expressed call for more research on this under-studied area of human health. 50
Another type of non-drug-based therapy is found in the Open Dialogue approach in the treatment of schizophrenia and other disorders. Psychological treatment combined with peer support and family support in a residential setting has shown to be a highly effective natural alternative to Risperdal and similar medications.
Open Dialogue began in Finland and its concepts are now in use in European countries and the US. OD has documented a reduction in symptoms of psychosis, fewer hospitalizations, reduction in the use of medications, improved employment rates leading to improved quality of life for participants in the program. 51
Risperdal alternatives can utilize a blend of many different therapies. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) also has various formats to address specific populations that could benefit. For instance, exposure-based therapy is one form of psychotherapy that is reported to be particularly beneficial to trauma and PTSD related symptoms.
Counseling can provide the safe space needed to gradually overcome subjects of anxiety or other unwanted feelings. Psychotherapy can be done in a group or individual session format.
For more than a century, physicians have seen beneficial results in patients who have switched to a ketogenic-based diet, restricted refined carbs and sugars, gluten and other changes.
Persons with symptoms of schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar episodes, and other conditions have seen a tangible improvement in their well-being, energy level, mood, and many other benefits with better dietary choices. 17,18,19,30
Pacheco et al’s pilot study found that switching to a keto-based diet for as little as two weeks has been shown extremely effective in reducing or eliminating symptoms associated with schizophrenia and other psychiatric conditions.6
Food allergies can prompt the response of psychiatric symptoms. After testing for food allergies or other sources of sensitivity, strategic food choices can avoid such reactions.
Numerous studies have reported that specific nutrients including vitamins B12, B6, folate, amino acids, zinc, and amino acids such as serine, lysine, glycine, and tryptophan play a role in supporting a healthy and functioning microbiome that is essential to good health.30,31,34
The monitoring and control of gluten sensitivity may have significant effects on the management of individuals hospitalized with acute mania, and studies suggest a link between symptoms of celiac disease and schizophrenia that may be mitigated by a diet that omits foods high in gluten such as wheat and other flours, starches, etc.9,10
The microbiome is defined as all the microorganisms in the human body and their respective genetic material. Microbiota is the term used when focusing on a particular part of the body and the microorganisms found there. The condition of the microbiota of the gut is of particular interest in mental health. This connection is termed “the gut-brain axis.” The relationship between the gut and the brain develops from infancy and continues to develop throughout one’s life, involving hormones, bacteria, emotional responses, digestion, energy, organ function, and more. According to a review of clinical data, Nguyen et al suggest there are differences in the microbiota of the gut comparing schizophrenic patients and non-schizophrenic controls.18
A study by Severance et al on the microbiome’s effects on mental health showed that inflammation in the digestive tract can cause bacteria to become released systemically which can impact synapse activity in the brain. This research does not definitively conclude a link between schizophrenia and pathological disruption in the gut, but certainly suggests the likelihood of a connection between a properly functioning microbiome and good health.19
Clapp et al’s 2017 study on gut microbiota and mental health suggests that the use of probiotics can restore normal microorganisms which may assist in the treatment and even the prevention of psychiatric symptoms.54
Research by Bonaz et al on the gut-brain axis and how it can affect the vagus nerve highlights the positive effects upon the CNS that are to be gained from restoring microbiota balance.60
MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is synthesized when one sodium molecule is added to glutamate or L-glutamic acid. L-Glutamic acid is the most prevalent amino acid in the body and performs innumerable vital roles in a healthy body. Synthesized MSG is widely used as a flavor enhancer in processed foods. While the FDA and the World Health Organization have never openly stated that MSG is an excitotoxin that can affect some with neuronal sensitivities, (as has been shown to be the case in baby rat studies) the safety study by the FDA does not rule out potential harm that MSG could do in persons with neuronal sensitivities.55
The brain needs a steady supply of certain fuels to operate properly. Glucose (blood sugar) is one of the brain’s preferred types of fuel. Diet is an effective tool to maintain sufficient glucose to ensure optimal CNS operation.22, 23
Heavy intake of caffeine has been shown to impact (over-stimulate) neurochemistry. This can be quite unwise in people with sensitivities to such stimulants. Caffeine can be a powerful neuro-stimulant. In one compelling case study, eliminating caffeine was followed by an immediate remission of psychiatric symptoms that 10 years of medications did not resolve.24
ADT or acute tryptophan depletion was found in clinical observations to be linked with aggression, low mood, and suicidality in some persons. Studies suggest that tryptophan may be lacking in persons with schizophrenic presentations and can be corrected with supplementation as well as diet. 26, 56, 57, 58
Lithium orotate is the trace mineral form of lithium. Positive results have been documented without the toxic side effects that can occur with pharmaceutical lithium carbonate, showing a reduction of manic and depressive symptoms in bipolar patients.59
Dr. Abram Hoffer’s work in the 1950s forward demonstrated much success in the treatment of schizophrenia using various forms of niacin (vitamin B3) and vitamin C. His work showed a high remission rate and forged a strong pathway forward for what is now called Orthomolecular Medicine.
Alternative to Meds Center is a proponent of these and other orthomolecular treatments for our patients. The center attributes much of our clients’ success to these principles.40,41
Omega-3 fatty acids have become widely studied as an alternative to Risperdal and other antipsychotic medications. Studies show a positive correlation between high-fat consumption, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, and better treatment outcomes for schizophrenia patients. EPA or eicosapentaenoic acid is one of the components of omega-3 fish oils and has been successfully used in the treatment of psychiatric symptoms and schizophrenia. 28,29
A host of neurotoxins have been identified as endocrine disruptors and possible contributors to psychiatric symptoms. The chemicals used in dry cleaning, industrial or home-use cleaners, dental or other mercury exposures, and many other sources can be tested for and cleansed from the body, to promote neurochemistry to re-normalize naturally. 11,12,13,14
Most of us can recall hearing the idiom “mad as a hatter” in movies and stories, without realizing where that phrase derived from. In the 18th and 19th centuries, compounds that were used in making felt hats gave off poisonous mercury vapors, causing psychiatric symptoms in the hat makers, or “hatters.” Symptoms of mercury poisoning can be severe and disabling.
Animal studies demonstrate that mercury influences the reuptake of glutamate, leading to neurotoxicity. Similar abnormalities in glutamate transmission occur in persons with schizophrenia, a neurological disorder that shares certain common features in autistic persons. Where psychiatric symptoms arise after exposure to toxins, an alternative to Risperdal is to cleanse these out of the system for relief.13
Mittal et al’s fascinating clinical research on cardio, aerobic, and other regular, moderately intense exercise suggests that there is a link between this type of activity and regeneration of healthy neurochemistry and improved cognitive abilities in persons with psychiatric disorders such as psychosis and schizophrenia. Exercise is a proven but underutilized alternative to pharmacological treatments.44
As Seibum et al’s research shows, insomnia is often seen concurrently with other physical and mental health issues. There can be various causes for insomnia and sleep disturbances, but without proper sleep, anyone’s daytime functioning can be impaired and put under undue strain. CBT, relaxation exercises and other non-drug-based alternatives to Risperdal may be able to help.46
Cannabis use has skyrocketed in North America, having moved from an illicit to a legalized drug in recent years in many locales. Cannabis-induced psychosis is a matter of concern more than ever, according to a study by Grewal et al recently published in the Psychiatric Times, and many earlier studies that have demonstrated this phenomenon. In one case highlighted in the Grewal et al study, a college-aged girl who had been smoking marijuana since the age of 17 developed symptoms such as paranoia and unreality while in college. She attributed her anxieties and perceived adversaries to the competitiveness of the environment and not to her drug use. Through CBT and other non-pharmacological treatments, she was able to re-set this pattern and decided to abstain from marijuana, and a year later she was able to return to college symptom-free. 47,48,49
There is no cookie-cutter answer to mental health concerns. It takes being interested enough to look for contributing factors, to spot overlooked medical or genetic factors, and to assess what lifestyle factors can be better managed, including diet, sleep, exercise, and others. Quality research is more prevalent than ever before, and we find that natural alternatives can be highly effective for natural mental health, and sometimes more so in comparison to the limits of managing (suppressing) symptoms with heavy drugs.
Risperdal, an atypical antipsychotic, also known as a second-generation antipsychotic, is licensed to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability related to autism in children. Individuals are often put on an antipsychotic after a psychotic break, or after other medications have been tried and have been ineffective. This antipsychotic and others of its kind may seem effective and tolerable on the onset however, these drugs are usually not well tolerated for prolonged use. In fact, lawsuits have arisen from injuries such as movement disorders, attributed to drugs like Risperdal.1,2,7
The traditional and most commonly suggested Risperdal alternatives are other medications and therapy. Risperdal is often already being used as an alternative to other previously ineffective antipsychotics or antidepressants. When individuals are having problems with this medication, it may be time to consider alternatives that do not include the burdens of prescription medications. Fortunately, there are many ways to control mental health symptoms and disorders without the use of psychiatric medications. Using another medication as an alternative to this drug is likely to cause many of the same problems that were experienced with Risperdal. Medications that are prescribed by traditional medical professionals as alternatives to Risperdal include other atypical antipsychotics such as clozapine or Clozaril, and typical (first-generation) antipsychotics such as haloperidol or Haldol.
Drug-free therapy can include many possible Risperdal alternative treatments that could be effective in treating symptoms that these drugs attempt to manage.4 As discussed above, psychosocial treatments and psychotherapy (talk therapy) have been found to be very helpful in offering support, guidance, and education to individuals with mental disorders, as well as their families.
Alternative to Meds Center uses lab tests to identify underlying causes for the original symptoms, where toxicity is an often-found culprit.
Our program includes medical professionals to aid individuals in reducing dependence upon Risperdal. This is done by utilizing carefully planned tapering techniques, using natural substances to stabilize the neurochemistry, and removing neurotoxins that may have contributed to original symptoms that lead to being medicated with an antipsychotic. We also use amino therapy, personal exercise training, peer support, massage, yoga, targeted nutritional therapy, and Risperdal natural alternatives to address the expected withdrawal symptoms and side effects. Sugar, processed food, cigarettes, and caffeine are restricted and supplements that are beneficial to these individuals are used. Once the individual is stable and sedated, Risperdal can be slowly reduced and the dosage can be adjusted if needed.
There is much more to learn about the underlying reasons why antipsychotic medications could have been prescribed. Please call us for more information about the effective methods of natural Risperdal alternatives that help our clients to regain a more satisfying quality of life.
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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.
Diane is an avid supporter and researcher of natural mental health strategies. Diane received her medical writing and science communication certification through Stanford University and has published over 3 million words on the topics of holistic health, addiction, recovery, and alternative medicine. She has proudly worked with the Alternative to Meds Center since its inception and is grateful for the opportunity to help the founding members develop this world-class center that has helped so many thousands regain natural mental health.