A New Understanding of Schizophrenia
Posted by Bruce Semon, M.D., Ph.D.
October 13, 2012
Schizophrenia is a devastating mental illness that is hard to understand. From the outside, it appears that a person just changes from being a “normal” person to someone who fears everyone and no longer can function. The onset often occurs in the prime of life, late teens and early 20’s.
One might ask, how can a person raised by two good parents decide in the prime of life that parents are people to be feared? How could a young adult see everyone as a foe and thus retreat into their own world? No one has an explanation for schizophrenia. Such paranoid feelings are especially difficult for parents who have done their utmost to raise their children.
I explain below how I mimicked the symptoms of schizophrenia by testing a new homeopathic remedy. This is fairly complicated to get to, but may yield some future treatments. I explain in this post how I arrived at this conclusion.
I am a board certified psychiatrist, as well as a doctorate level nutritionist and homeopath. I am particularly interested in toxic chemicals which affect the brain. I have been puzzled by schizophrenia for a long time. Although I have experience using traditional medical treatments for schizophrenia, these treatments are not completely effective, so I am searching for other answers.
I came across a different explanation for schizophrenia, and a possible future treatment, while looking for new homeopathic remedies to help children who have autism. One of the new remedies, in a proving (a term explained below), provided an explanation for where the paranoid feelings in schizophrenia come from. Please allow me to explain.
People with autism have a great deal of difficulty with toxic chemicals. Autistic children especially have difficulty with toxic chemicals found in malt (the alkyl pyrazines) and also the toxic chemicals made by yeast. I explain the issues with malt on another page. For more detailed information, click here. The brief explanation is that normally in a person’s intestines, you would find bacteria. Normally you would find little or no yeast. However, after a person takes antibiotics, you have a different picture. Antibiotics kill bacteria and enable the intestinal yeast Candida albicans to grow. Every round of antibiotics can make this worse, leading to more yeast and less bacteria. Someone who takes continuous rounds of antibiotics, for example to get rid of ear infections, strep throat or sinus infections, can have serious yeast problems.
Why is yeast problematic? Yeast make toxic chemicals, such hydrogen sulfide, acetone, and all types of toxic alcohols. Hydrogen sulfide is a known nerve poison. Acetone taken internally can produce coma. Toxic alcohols are poisonous. Consider that when one has Candida in one’s gut, the Candida is making all of these chemicals. If the intestinal yeast Candida were to be treated, the load of toxic chemicals would be less.
The main approach that I have taken is to treating the intestinal yeast is with the Feast Without Yeast diet and a non-absorbed anti-yeast medicine called nystatin. Nystatin is a medication that is based on a natural anti-fungal material that bacteria make in the soil. Unlike almost all other prescription drugs, nystatin is not absorbed. Nystatin goes through the whole intestinal tract, killing the yeast as it goes.
The problem is that nystatin does not work without a special diet. Why? Because our regular food contains chemicals made by yeast and some other chemicals which all kill bacteria. There are enough of these chemicals in regular food to be like taking in a low level of antibiotics every day. Foods which help yeast grow and/or contain many anti-bacterial chemicals have to be excluded from the diet. If anti-bacterial chemicals stay in the diet, nystatin kills some yeast but the yeast keeps growing back because the anti-bacterial chemicals kill bacteria and make room for the yeast to grow. I explain this in great detail in other places on this website. Click here for more information.
However, even when the yeast is treated, yeast can still come back if the diet is changed back to a regular diet. This often happens because people get better, then ease up on their diet. Children with autism generally improve, but are not “cured” unless they are treated very early in life at the first onset of symptoms.
I have also treated a few people with schizophrenia with the Feast Without Yeast and Nystatin. Every person with paranoia who has tried the Feast Without Yeast diet has generally improved in that their symptoms are less intense.
Because this combination of the Feast Without Yeast diet and nystatin is not enough, I have looked to homeopathy, which is an alternative medical system commonly used in some parts of the world, excluding the U.S. Homeopathy was the dominant form of medicine in this country in the later 1800’s and early 1900’s, but was politically replaced by what we now know as standard medicine. For example, the University of Michigan’s medical school was a homeopathic medical school. Unfortunately, standard medicine does not cure everything, including devastating illnesses like schizophrenia. Standard medicine offers only symptomatic treatment for schizophrenia.
Briefly, homeopathy is a way of preparing natural substances to bring out their natural healing energy without any of their toxicities.
Homeopathic medicines are called remedies. They start with the natural substances, which may be from animals, minerals or plants. This process goes back to the founder of homeopathy, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. A European doctor practicing in the early 1800’s, Dr. Hahnemann was concerned about a malaria epidemic. At that time, doctors were treating malaria with quinine, as they still do today, although their medicine was not very pure. Dr. Hahnemann happened to be translating medical books to make a living. He was concerned that people had no real explanation for why quinine worked to treat malaria. He decided to take quinine to see what would happen. Interestingly, he developed a fever. Because malaria is a disease of fevers, and he developed a fever from the treatment, he theorized that which can cause a symptom in a healthy person can knock that same symptom out of someone ill with that symptom. This is “like cures like,” from which homeopathy is derived.
Dr. Hahnemann took his findings further. First he tested other natural substances to see what they would do, including many of the natural herbs used by native Americans and other medicinal plants. Some caused abdominal pain and some caused breathing problems. These are called “provings” because the substances are given to see what kind of problems they cause in healthy people. But Dr. Hahnemann went further. He diluted the substances, shook them and diluted them further to see what would happen. This process is called “potentization”. Potentization resulted in what is called in homeopathy an increase in healing energy.
Dr. Hahnemann used this system of homeopathy to successfully treat numerous conditions that did not respond to the medical treatments available at the time.
I too have used homeopathy successfully to treat many conditions that do not respond to standard medicine. This is a useful system to consider.
Now back to the topic of schizophrenia. As I stated above, yeast make many alcohols which are very toxic. From my treatment of patients, I know that if there when yeast is reduced, children with autism improve. People with schizophrenia also improve.
The question is whether one would see improvement by making toxic yeast alcohols into homeopathic remedies? Would they then cure the same symptoms as they cause, as in like cure like?
Through a lab in Madison, Wisconsin, I was able to have some of the toxic yeast chemicals made into homeopathic remedies. I tried them as provings. My experience with two of them was interesting in that they caused some of the symptoms of autism, including paralyzing my tongue and then the rest of my body. I felt like my body was so heavy that I could not move and it was not even worth it to try to move it.
I tried another one as a proving, that gave me the feeling of what people report in schizophrenia. The following is a record of my “proving” of one of the yeast alcohols. I am relatively normal and I took one of the yeast alcohols in potentized homeopathic form to see what problems it would cause in me, a relatively normal person. I am not naming this remedy because these findings are very preliminary, and I do not advocate people going off of their medications to test this at this time.
These are my notes:
The remedy was taken in late afternoon. I remember first that I was nauseated and wanted to vomit. My mouth started to become loose. Then my mouth opened and I could not close it. In fact this went on for some time such that I began to drool and my saliva ran onto the floor. Then my whole body became paralyzed and I thought I would collapse on the floor. I had to lie down. I got up. My mouth continued to feel loose and weak. Then I went for a walk with the dogs. I began to have sadness and weeping and I felt an uncontrollable urge to cry. I felt depressed. Then I began to feel like I was out of control of these sadness emotions. I felt like somehow I had been attacked to have all these bad emotions. Then I looked around to see whether anyone in the environment would attack me. I became suspicious and looked around warily. I looked at the clouds and the trees and watched for something which would attack me. I became paranoid that I would be attacked. Then I came home and I was still partially paralyzed. I looked at my arm and it was stuck in one position and I could not move it. My arm would sit like a statue. Then I became suspicious of the family at dinner. I wanted to be away from them. Then I became angry at them.
I also had warm feelings on my neck and inside my limbs. I still was mildly nauseated. My eyes itched.
I cannot now express the feelings better than I did that night as I wrote these feelings down. I felt that I was under attack. I was uncontrollably sad and then angry and I blamed the environment and then my family.
Even looking back on my notes, I recall the incredibly overwhelming sensations of powerlessness and feeling unsafe and out of control. These are some of the feeling that people have who suffer from schizophrenia. I felt I had a first hand experience and understanding of schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia are under attack from yeast chemicals, but think it is their environment. Fortunately for me, the remedy wore off in a few hours. In schizophrenic patients these attacks go on all the time.
It is possible that people with schizophrenia are having bad reactions to toxic yeast alcohols but the brain has no idea where these bad reactions are coming from. So the brain thinks it has to be from the environment or from the people in the environment. Sadly, the bad emotions may be directed at family members.
I would like to further explore whether this remedy could help people with schizophrenia. Although it is generally understood that schizophrenia is a medical condition, not caused by problems with parenting or relationships, in my practice as a psychiatrist I find that parent of schizophrenics are devastated and are looking for answers that the medical community does not have. It is possible that the schizophrenic patients became paranoid because their brains had to blame someone or something for the attack of the toxic yeast chemicals.
I hope to develop these ideas and the use of these new homeopathic remedies more in the future.