I recently received an email from HG, whose brother, age 35, has suffered from schizophrenia for the past 15 years.
HG had been researching orthomolecular treatment, but both HG and his mother were worried that the brother would relapse if he was taken off his medication and started on a new course of treatment. They also wanted to know whether he could be mentally and physically healed and live an independent responsible life.
The idea that one has to be off one's medications before beginning an orthomolecular program is a common misconception. In fact, Dr. Hoffer repeatedly pointed out that orthomolecular treatment used the best of both worlds: healthy diet, exercise, nutrients as needed and medication as appropriate. It never was an either/or approach. Reduction of medication to the lowest effective dose was a general, long-term goal that could take years to achieve, and many require some degree of medication for life.
I also pointed out to this man that his brother has been sick a very long time and has been damaged socially, intellectually and physically. The healing process in this kind of case is very lengthy, and it can take up to 10 years before you see maximum improvement. It is still a goal worth attaining, however, as it improves the quality of life of the patient, especially if they can reduce their medication, thereby reducing the side-effects the medications have.
Unfortunately, nothing can give these patients back the years lost to illness, so naturally the sooner orthomolecular treatment is started, the better. This, of course, applies to all illnesses; it is always best not to wait until one's illness is chronic before trying a complementary healing approach such as orthomolecular.
Frances Fuller is president and CEO of Orthomolecular Vitamin Information Centre Inc. She had the unique experience of working shoulder-to-shoulder with a pioneer and cornerstone of orthomolecular medicine, the late Dr. Abram Hoffer. Her contact information is in the HANS Wellness Directory at http://www.hans.org/directory under Orthomolecular Medicine.