Schizophrenia is a severe brain disease which usually manifests in adolescence or early adulthood. It causes negative symptoms like lack of motivation, self-neglect and reduced emotion. It causes positive symptoms like hallucinations, delusions and disorganized thoughts and speech.
In Ayurveda, Schizophrenia is known as "Unmaad". Most doctors treat this disease according to the presentation of symptoms. Patients who are excited or injured are given a "counter-irritant" treatment in the form of nasal drops. Vacha (Acorus calamus) in the powder or oil form, Shigru (Moringa oleifera) seed powder, Marich (Piper nigrum), Tagar (Valeriana wallichii), Yashtimadhu (Glycerrhiza glabra), Hingu (Ferula narthex) and Shunthi (Zinziber officinale) Jaggery are some of the medicines used, usually combined with "Puran Ghruta".
After the patient is subdued, other medicines are started. These include Sarpagandha (Raulwofia serpentina), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Ajwayan (Hyoscyamus niger)), Raupya Bhasma, Suvarna Bhasma and Puran Ghruta. Different mediated ghrutas (ghee) are used orally, such as Kalyanak Ghruta, Panchagavya Ghruta, Brahmi Ghruta and Jatamansi Ghruta. Some doctors advocate the use of "Panchakarama" procedures like induced vomiting, induced purgation and medicated enemas.
Treatment also differs according to the predominance of the "dosha" involved. For the predominance of "Vata" dosha, Brahmiprasha, Sarpagandha powder, Sameepannag rasa, and Vatavidhvansa rasa are used. For the predominance of "Pitta" dosha, Sutshekhar and Sarpagandha are given with Brahmi juice. Where "Kapha" dosha is predominant, medicines like Unmaadgajakesari and Bhootbhairav rasa are used.
There is currently no cure for Schizophrenia, but many patients can be successfully managed with medications and professional counseling. Consistent, long-term treatment is critical to the successful management of Schizophrenia. Many patients discontinue medicines because of incompetent or intolerable side-effects of modern medicines. Ayurvedic herbal medicines score positively on this aspect, since they can be used long-term without any serious side-effects. Several herbal combinations are now available which can be used independently in patients with mild to moderate symptoms. For Schizophrenic patients with severe symptoms, the Ayurvedic medicines can be added to a modern medicine as adjuvant therapy, so that the therapeutic effect is optimized, without increasing the side-effect load.
Rehabilitation of patients is an important aspect of treatment. Patients need to be kept busy, in accordance with their capacity and ability for work. The regular supervision of a caregiver, both at home and at the work-place, helps a lot.