Schizophrenia Deconstructed


On June 26th, 2013, after being cured of 35 years of suffering from schizophrenia, I left my apartment wearing my new custom-made t-shirt that boldly declared “I Beat Schizophrenia” on the front. I then went to the local print shop to print out a business card sized photo I had made stating that I was no longer insane. I walked proudly up to the clerk and asked her to laminate it for me.

“That is true, you know,” I told her, smiling. Her face figured itself into a look of uncomfortable fear. She remained silent as she performed the task. I was oblivious to her discomfort as I paid for the service.

I went about my day, joyfully enjoying my freedom, reveling in my newfound sense ability. The whole world was a new place for me now that I could see, hear, and think without the constant interference of hallucinations and delusions. I walked around Milwaukee’s east side casually enjoying the small shops, stopping for a coffee, and walking by the lakefront. After a few hours, however, I did become aware of people staring at me. I noticed the aura of space that I was given, the odd looks, and the strange confusion in anyone I interacted with. It began to roll through me that there was no context in the culture of psychiatry in the United States for someone being cured from a severe mental illness such as schizophrenia.

After a few weeks it became clear to me the very real confusion, misunderstanding, and complete lack of comprehension that I faced as a person claiming to have been cured of psychosis. Being a schizophrenic claiming to no longer suffer from schizophrenia only made me seem more schizophrenic due to the current culture of psychiatry. I was drowning in the fact that the stigma of being psychiatrically disabled would not cease so easily with a t-shirt and a self-made sanity card. I suffered heavily from survivor guilt after seeing a schizophrenic man talking to himself on the bus. I couldn’t escape the injustice. I became despondent, isolated, frightened and sad.

Desperately Seeking Sanity

In late 2012, I was suffering horribly from hallucinations, auditory and visual, as well as dangerous delusions that usually involved taking my own life in order to appease the voices. I had resisted taking daily antipsychotics and multiple offers from psychiatrists for electroconvulsive therapy. During this time, I was on a desperate search to find a different way to manage schizophrenia. I read many books, and researched everything I could about the history of mental illness, the birth of diagnosis, mental illness in other parts of the world, and the rise of pharmaceuticals until I came across the work of Dr. Abram Hoffer. He was a psychiatrist in the 1950’s who began treating schizophrenia, severe alcoholism, and other psychotic conditions with large doses of niacin. His work was pushed out as Haldol and other antipsychotics became available. At this time I had nothing to lose, so I set out trying to find a doctor who would facilitate Dr. Hoffer’s treatment.

After much searching I found a small, local clinic with a doctor who was willing to treat me with niacin. Dr. Fox was kind and willing. It was incredibly fortunate that I found a physician who was familiar with Dr. Hoffer and orthomolecular therapy. We began treatment. I was told to prepare for a 6-month period of serious detoxification in which I would become very ill. Within the first month my symptoms began to fall away, one after another, like a building collapsing in on itself. First the auditory hallucinations vanished. I was astounded at how incredibly loud the world was without the constant interference of the voices and white noise. Then the visual hallucinations went. I experienced severe vertigo as my eyes adjusted to never having seen accurate depth perception before. The physical illness also began to set in hard. Nausea, sweats, pain, weakness… the fact that I was experiencing such progress kept me going.

The delusions were the last to go. When thinking of how the senses and the brain process information, it all made too much sense. The delusions were built around faulty sensory input via the auditory and visual hallucinations. The brain naturally creates a narrative reality to explain what is being experienced through the senses. Once there was no erroneous input for my brain to interpret, there was no need for the delusions. My progress was undeniable and beyond anything I expected from any kind of treatment for schizophrenia. As we neared the 6-month marker for the detoxification to be complete, Dr Fox asked me if I was willing to talk about my experience with niacin treatment and be a case study that he could present to colleagues in the field.

At that time, I declined. I was free from the suffering that had haunted me my whole life. I was finally free. I was not eager to be held up in front of the same psychiatrists that had prescribed me dangerous medications and wanted to subject me to electroconvulsive therapy. I was not a science project for them to gawk at. I am a human. I wanted my life, symptom-free, I wanted a fresh start, and I wanted to experience everything I could with my newfound freedom.

The way I was viewed and treated when I got my freedom and stepped back out into society is what made me rethink my decision to share this amazing gift of real health. Not for doctors, not for psychiatrists, not for a research paper, but for others like me. Telling my story as a patient is an act of empowerment. I would not give that power back to the system of psychiatry so easily. I decided that if I were to tell my story, I would tell it my way, from my perspective, and it would exude passion, authenticity, emotion, and humanity. If there is anything that the current industry of psychiatry is in dire need of, it is a large injection of humanity. This is how I came to create my presentation Schizophrenia Deconstructed (see video below).

The History

I began hallucinating at a very young age. I can remember hearing voices and seeing my toys move by the age of five. I suffered severe early childhood trauma, including my mother attempting suicide when she was seven months pregnant with me. Her version of the story is that I kicked her from inside her belly just as she was about to slit her wrists. She always says that I saved her life. My version of the story is that at that moment I became a fighter, destined to survive. Once I was about 3 years old, my mother and I were in a stable home, but the abuse continued until I was 8 years old. I will not retraumatize myself by going into details. I do believe schizophrenia became my way of coping with my reality.

My parents have told me stories of my absolute hysteria when they would try to tell me that there were no voices, and that my stuffed animals were inanimate. I remember my father trying to calm me down by telling me there were no monsters in the closet. I replied to him that I wasn’t afraid of monsters, I was afraid of the people living in the sink, the walls, and climbing on the roof. I was born in 1977, so ADD and autism hadn’t been invented yet. I was considered a very odd child. I tested off the charts on most standardized tests so my teachers in school left me alone to do my advanced work. I didn’t have many friends and lived in my own world of terror and confusion. I had my first suicidal ideation at age 9. I was taken to emergency rooms with fits of temporary blindness. At age 11, I ended up in a psychiatrist’s office. I very quickly sensed the societal dangers of being so different and I very quickly learned to lie to doctors.

Adolescence was a painful and lonely time. My hallucinations and delusions became more terrifying. I began to self harm (not to be confused with cutting behavior) in order to invoke endorphins to obtain some relief from the chaos of my senses. At the age of 16 I attempted suicide for the first time. I took a lethal dose of painkillers and tricyclic antidepressants. I still was not admitting to anyone that I heard voices or had strange or frightening thoughts.

Adulthood proved to be more challenging in maintaining my ruse and I was caught in a full-blown psychotic episode. I was diagnosed with just about everything — bi-polar 1, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, schizo affective disorder — and I was told I was severely mentally ill. By age 19 I was on social security disability and fully took on the identity of an insane person with no hope for a future. I was also prescribed many, many medications. I ended up in the system at Milwaukee County Mental Health. I was drugged against my will, I was put in restraints multiple times, I was treated like an animal, and I was threatened with electroconvulsive therapy.

At age 21, I was put on stipulations, which means I was court-ordered to take my meds and serve three months inpatient at County. Two days before I was to show up for my sentence, I fled the state of Wisconsin. I was terrified I would be forced to partake in ECT. I waited out my time and returned home. I escaped the system, I took myself off most of my medications, and at this time, I decided to try to make a life for myself away from the walls of County, as well as the walls of my diagnosis. I practiced diligent self care, stayed in therapy, and went to college. I was a successful student, I began working in social work at youth shelters and began my master’s degree in counseling psychology.

I have been called a “high functioning” schizophrenic. I completely reject that notion. I lied extensively to protect myself and my career. I am also a white woman with benign features and the ability to speak. Language is a gift that not all people afflicted with schizophrenia have. We live in a racist, ableist society, and I used my privilege as a shield. Schizophrenia is a horrendous illness that does not discriminate in severity. With factors such as race, discrimination and ability at play there is no way to measure true potential except by a grand void of loss. I used my intelligence to hide my illness and become an adequate con artist so as to not end up back at County. There is no place in my story for “high functioning,” there is only fear of getting caught. I worked with children. I was training to be a therapist. I was excelling in every area of my program and precociously fighting for a “normal” life. Living in such fear was a destructive, shameful, self-harming lifestyle. I’m not “high functioning.” I was surviving with the tools I had.

In 2011, I was outed to my grad program by another student. The student worked as a receptionist in a mental hospital I stayed in over winter break. I did successfully file a HIPPA complaint, but the damage was done. The repercussions of that incident were swift and within six months I was barred from completing my degree.


The aftermath of being discriminated against by a university is what led to a severe decline in my mental health and my voracious search for answers. I found what I was looking for. I found Dr. Fox, and I also found I had to face myself. After being free of all hallucinations and delusions I then embarked on a therapeutic journey to treat the underlying trauma that schizophrenia so capably protected me from.

Most of my most severe delusions involved saving children. There were babies in garbage cans, children stuck under cars, in walls, crying to me from vents and sewers. Then the code breaking would begin. I had power in my hallucinations to save those children. I had signs, colors, letters, patterns, and voices to guide me. Once I was cured of my sensory malfunctions, that power was gone. There were no magic codes to break and that child was me. I was fortunate to work with a therapist from the local VA. My PTSD assessment clocked in at what the VA team sees with returning combat vets. I suffered from nightmares, sleep disturbances that included harming myself in my sleep, feelings of not being real, detachment, rage, and endless mood swings. Niacin treatment is not a quick fix and it is pertinent to address the underlying trauma. The only time I wished for my hallucinations back was while unpacking the nightmare of my life without the maladaptive protection of delusions that I was used to. All my motivations for behavior suddenly changed, and I had to reconstruct myself, my identity, and learn to finally heal from lifelong trauma. It was a delicate yet beautiful time. I will always strive to maintain my mental health, as every human being must do. As I look back on my story and how I got to BE, I am eternally grateful to be alive.

Then, with the support of Dr Fox, I created Schizophrenia Deconstructed. I am proof that the paradigm of the industry of psychiatry must be shifted. I stand tall as that proof for others who suffer from schizophrenia. We have presented the show several times for practitioners in the mental health fields, and have received validating reviews. As I say in my performance: I don’t have all the answers. I am here to challenge what you think you know about mental illness. The ignorance we have been fed is our only enemy. It is time to expand our views of how we treat emotional distress and psychiatric disability. We only have to step through the doorway. My story is not a miracle story, it is a story of blindness, ignorance, and dangerous science within the industry of psychiatry. I am fighting with every ounce of my soul to be a part of the paradigm shift that is so desperately needed. Variation equals evolution, and to deny that is to deny the advancement of the human race.

* * * * *


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. I’m intimately familiar with being on B3, having taken it for years, myself, but a number of the bloggers here aren’t. You might read some odd things from some of them, but I, for one, think you’re doing great, if your blog’s any indication.

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    • Thank you for your comment. I think that there are many misunderstandings about orthomolecular treatment. You have to be alcohol and drug free, as well as be able to not work at all for at least 6 months due to the severe illness of the initial detoxification period. Again, I had a very informed doctor who studied Dr Abram Hoffer & orthomolecular treatment. I think some people try it themselves and become discouraged. Dosing is unique to each individual. Niacin treatment is not a quick fix, but instead true healing. It takes time & commitment as well as an informed physician to attempt it.

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      • By the way I forgot to say thank you so much for your story – I found it very helpful and informative.

        My questions to you about dosages are not just a response to your story –
        I have done so much reading and thinking about different ideas and approaches and like to hear some of the specifics. What kinds of things does your doctor check for? (e.g. blood tests or hair analysis to see if their are deficiencies?) …or rather does he/she monitor reactions and responses. What kinds of things has your doctor helped you avoid etc…..

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      • Hello
        I thank you for your testimony and your individual commitment to patients suffering from schizophrenia – (I’m writing using google translation from France) I live in Toulouse; in December 2015, I had to hospitalize my son (22 years old) who heard some voices and who was completely parasitized by a disease that I did not know at the time –
        He came out 1.5 months later with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and neuroleptics that he did not support and that he stopped after 3 months – in November 2016 I had to re-hospitalize him despite the GAPS regime that I had followed since June 2016 – I was furious, enraged and desperate for this failure –

        I resumed searching and I reread the book of doc Campbell Mac Bride (Gaps) and in the chapter on schizophrenia she quotes Dr. Hoffer, Carl Pfeiffer, etc.
        I went on youtube and found videos of Abram Hoffer – then his books on Amazon – I translated “orthomolecular treatment for schizophrenia” as well as Healing Schizophrenia “which are guides for schizophrenics and their families –

        I started treating my son following A Hoffer’s recommendations on December 1, 2016 – after 10 months of treatment and care and every day he was able to resume his university studies in early September!

        on the other hand I am alone to manage this treatment and I am afraid to make mistakes – here nobody is competent – could you tell me an orthomolecular doctor in your home – I will consult with my son to continue this treatment

        I thank you in advance if you can give me the address of an orthomolecular doctor
        Google Traduction pour les entreprises :Google Kit du traducteurGadget Traduction

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        • About niacin – start very slowly – 1/4 of a 100mg tablet and go up from there. Take after food. Some people get extreme flushing and panic and don’t touch niacin again. Students at our local naturopathic college took niacin as part of their training. A few students fainted – can’t remember how many – they had not eaten lunch.
          Vitamin C, selenium, zinc, other B vitamins also important. Dairy and sugar were to be avoided. Dr. Hoffer did use pharmaceuticals but weaned people off them as soon as he could replace the drugs with micronutrients. A few weeks before his death he remarked that all psychiatrists should be transported to Mars – we’d be better off without them.

          I’ll try to link to another article about the role of gluten in schizophrenia also low-carb ketogenic diet

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          amnesia June 29, 2017 at 11:30 pm
          Sara: Brilliant – both text and video. Dr. Hoffer would be grateful. Close to the end of his very last audio interview a few weeks before his death (an interview he agreed to only if he could speak about schizophrenia) he asked that we carry on his work. His final comment was “all psychiatrists should be transported to Mars – we’d be better off without them”. I will pass this on to his daughter. Thank you. You brought a smile. I write about his work almost daily.

          I’ll try to get you a name for orthomolecular doctor in France

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          • thank you I am going to try but he is not an psychiatrist — it is very difficult to find an orthomolecular therapist trained in the work of Abram Hoffer – I am going to try in Canada too … and even on the moon if necessary….

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          • This might be of interest to you -you do not have to be a health care professional – check out the topics – – module 2 – Orthomolecular History
            Upcoming session: May 10
            The legacy of Abram Hoffer, deemed the father of orthomolecular psychiatry, remains strong after almost 50 years. His zealous contributions to a nutritional perspective on schizophrenia stimulated ongoing research in the biochemical bases of psychiatric illness with immeasurable benefits to the field. The second module in this course describes Hoffer’s progressive treatment strategies and recommendations, highlighting his primary practice of using high-dose Niacin and Vitamin C to target schizophrenia symptoms.

            Vitamin Deficiencies – Dependencies
            Upcoming session: May 17
            In addition to Niacin (Vitamin B3), schizophrenia research and clinical trials suggest that additional vitamin deficiencies are involved in producing brain abnormalities. Individual genetic variations in nutrient and drug metabolism can result in biochemical deficits or excesses that significantly impact energy homeostasis and neurotransmitters in the brain. This module explores the roles of B-Vitamins (folate, B6, B12), Vitamin D, and Zinc in normal mental function.

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        • Obviously I’m not Sara but I did know Dr. Hoffer, met him several times at conferences and corresponded with him and was responsible for his very last 1-hr audio interview 2 weeks before he died. I know his daughter. We both agree that he would have had more success if he had been aware of the role of gluten in ‘mental’ illness. Vitamins don’t kill. It would be ideal if a medical practitioner could oversee the dosing. Most people on the regime do very well. I may have posted this previously but it’s important to be aware Schizophrenia, gluten, and low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets: a case report and review of the literature

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          • I have made a mistake — I am in France and I cure mon son , 24 years old ,
            with the books of Abram Hoffer that I translated (especially Healing Schizophrenia) –
            as here there is no psychiatrist or orthomolecular doctors I started alone to cure after my son, 13 months ago – that’s why I posted this video of Hoffer or it encourages people to take care of themselves with vitamins – By cons I am looking for “an physician” who can accompany me in this long fight – thank you for your development
            barthez fr in Toulouse

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    • My son and I met with Dr. Hoffer before he passed away. He was a great man and has helped so many people. Unfortunately, neither my son or I can tolerate Niacin. It makes my son more psychotic but where he’s usually calm he gets angry on it. It does the same to me but to a lesser degree. I am diagnosed Bipolar. We hate the side effects and damage if the meds yet we function better on them. Has anyone heard of someone having this reaction to niacin even in very small doses.

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      • And BTW – Sara, you are an incredible person and I applaud your efforts in educating people about orthomolecular medicine. I’m so happy to hear it worked for you. You are very talented, too! We have been to top naturopaths and doctors and have found no relief but I keep searching and will never give up hope to get off these meds.

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      • I also met Dr. Hoffer and admire his work. The niacin (or more specifically, niacinimide) always improved my son in some way, but didn’t cure him. I followed his protocol from the information that was available through his books and on the web. Medical supervision strikes me as overkill in this case, but I can understand that the author must be cautious when recommending the treatment. Not everyone who is “schizophrenic” will recover using niacinimide, despite the great success that Dr. Hoffer claimed. He said that chronic schizophrenia was difficult to cure, he said that there are some people who are vitamin B deficient, and it runs in families, so that’s also a separate category of person. “Schizophrenia” is a syndrome comprised of many different symptoms of different origins. Perhaps if more physicians got on board with the Hoffer protocol to offer encouragement and support to patients, we would see more stories like this one. Instead, we have to muddle through the protocol on our own (although it’s not difficult) all the while wondering if it is really doing what Hoffer says it does, and dropping it too soon if we don’t see real progress.

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        • Hey Rossa –
          I am not a medical practitioner of any sort, and can only talk about my personal experience. My research has led me away from niacinamide, which was stabilizing, but not the miracle that niacin was.

          Niacin, of course, has those awful flushes. Hoffer says at some point they go away, but they never did for me.

          I use it more for a mood stabilizer than an “anti-psychotic” effect, so take just under 1g per day. When I was more unstable, I was up to 2g per day, and have been able to reduce it over time.

          Non flush versions which “pass muster” for me are NADH (don’t have to take as much of it, as it goes directly to brain), and inositol hexanicotinate.

          Niacinamide was not used in Hoffer’s tests, nor has it been used in cardio or other tests. Based on my experience, I’m guessing it’s about 10% as effective as pure niacin.

          The other version I list here feel more like 80-90% of efficacy of pure niacin.

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          • Your comment is loaded with good information. Thanks. Hoffer was doing research on NAD, which was the only form of the coenzyme available, and I think he wasn’t actively researching it by the time NADH became commercially available, Hoffer had more or less retired.
            Here’s what he had to say about NADH:
            NAD and NADH are interconvertable in the body. This suggests that the active form is the reduced form, NADH, and that NAD is much less effective since it would first have to be reduced to NADH. The decreasing order of therapeutic efficacy would be NADH, NAD and finally vitamin B3. There would be no formation of NADH in the stomach from NAD, but there would be some made in the intestine.

            “I hope these recent Birkmayer studies will reactivate interest in the therapeutic effect of this potent coenzyme made from vitamin B3. It is available from Menuco Corporation, 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 7509, New York, NY 10118.

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      • Just a thought, but maybe the psychosis and the anger is a bit of a detox reaction or just an adjustment to the drug (niacin acts like a drug when used in high doses). It is extremely difficult for family members to ride out the anger and the psychosis, etc., which makes us jump onto a prescription drug just to end the agony. I don’t think we ever give these solutions a long enough trial period. Support from the medical community, as I said in another comment, would help us hold on longer, but the support is just not there.

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        • Hi Rosa, Eva Edelman has a good book with a compendium of al the different protocols including William Walsh of the Brain Bio Center/Pfeuffer Institute where my son was diagnosed with severe pyroluria. We also later found out he had Lyme Disease. The bacteria hides in the mast cells which the niacin suddenly opens up, flooding the body with toxins, producing a severe “herxheiner’s reaction”. That voild explain the increased psychosis and anger, agitation. And, yes, it was too much for my husband and I but worse for our son to go through. Under careful supervision starting with very small doses and building up, it might be possible. I feel Dr Hoffer had found a treatment for Lyme (My son was diagnosed Neurosychiatric Lyme Disease but the psychiatrists say “Schizoaffective”.) and it should be looked into further.

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      • Jennav,

        I talk about my positive and negative experiences with B3 under ‘B3’ under ‘Vitamins’:

        I realized I need to update it with my inositol hexaniacinate experiences, which is what I take now, seemingly without problem. I will continue with occasional blood tests.

        Right now, I take 1.5 grams of the no-flush inositol hexaniacinate, 4 times a day, spaced out about 4 hours each. After 3 meals and before sleep. This form is very ‘smooth’, kind of calms me, yet I keep good focus. (I use other prescriptions and nutrients, too.) I’ve been on one form of B3 most of the time for 9 years now. It has been very interesting.

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  2. Hi Sara,
    I’m so happy for you and your complete recovery! Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you well as another player in the fight to tear down the destructive mental health system we currently have.

    I’m curious…my wife has d.i.d….did your voices disappear from the Niacin treatments or just the hallucinations and delusions??? Just curious since schizophrenia and d.i.d. are the two big diagnoses for voices that I’m aware of, but hers I would argue are completely normal and part of her internal conversation and the only reason they appeared abnormal to her is because they had previously been dissociated away, but now as she/we are working on healing, those ‘voices’ (the 8 girls in her system) are integrating together as a group and forming a more coherent, internal conversation.

    Again, very happy for you!

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    • The audios (as I call them) are just another form of hallucination and no more resistant to B3 than the others. The delusions come from trying to explain the perceptual changes one experiences. I have a d.i.d. friend who recovered around 25 years ago on a nutrient program + thyroid. She’s worked for years as a physical therapy assistant for decades- one alter, a sadistic female, appears at work, but she can channel the alter to get the PT patients working out without it taking over. But she had a therapist who knew orthomolecular treatment help her, while I found out merely by chance I was dysperceptive.
      Were I you, I’d try to find an orthomolecular practitioner, the way Sara did. If you live in a big city, there may be a Schizophrenics Anonymous chapter there- they’ll know about their area practitioners.

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      • Hi bcharris,

        I could be wrong, but I don’t think d.i.d. is going to be treated with niacin or nutrients as its inception is from early childhood trauma that kicks in the mind’s dissociative defenses and those defenses overtime get out of control and become systemic in so many ways. If you note Sara’s story, she still had to deal with her trauma and PTSD symptoms after the niacin treatments.

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        • My friend also had vivid hallucinations, where she’d be transported to various places that frequently repeated themselves. She’d have indications something was going to happen a few seconds before the transport took place that she knew she had to immediately pull over if she were driving. I don’t know the details of her nutrient program, but the thyroid was a necessary addition- she’d relapse into hallucinating on B3 alone, but remains happy and very able with the thyroid.

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    • Hello! Thank you for commenting. The big difference between d.i.d. and schizophrenia is that my voices were OUTSIDE my head. Yes, the niacin treatment disarmed all symptoms & sensory malfunctions in my case. Much love & empathy to your wife as she continues on her healing journey.

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      • Hi Sara,
        I’ve always heard that distinction between schizophrenia and d.i.d., too: schizophrenia is ‘outside’, d.i.d. is ‘inside’ the head. I wasn’t sure I accepted that distinction until you explained your story and now I think I understand the difference. The problem is, imo, because our culture pathologizes ALL voice hearing, they don’t make a distinction between your sensory issues and what, for my wife, was simply a part of her internal conversation.

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      • They frequently do start inside one’s head- the Hoffer/Osmond Diagnostic test uses a sequence of, thoughts inside of head, hear thoughts like voice, thoughts outside head, voices about or to individual. Since you were hallucinatory from “toddlerhood”, Dr. Fox may not have had you take an initial one or use the test to monitor your progress. Time ill may also explain why you got sick after 6 months on B3. Since I wasn’t spectacularly ailing or greatly hallucinating, I only found out when I stopped taking it and began to space out again.

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        • not me, my wife, and it appears that d.i.d. may be different from schizophrenia as I would NEVER characterize my wife as hallucinatory or psychotic…though I will admit that probably most experts and even sufferers might say differently, but I think that’s because I was wiling to enter into the various girls’ (alters’) worlds and see things from their perspective and once I did that nearly all of it made sense, hence no hallucinations or delusions, just a difference of perspective…

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        • “the Hoffer/Osmond Diagnostic test uses a sequence of, thoughts inside of head, hear thoughts like voice, thoughts outside head, voices about or to individual.” ”

          Respectfully, but this is an illogical test. ‘Voices’ have 1 of 4 main possibilities: 1) they are audible and hearable to everyone, 2) they are internal and hence MUST come from the hearer’s mind, 3) you believe in the supernatural and that being has the ability to only let some people hear those voices or 4) they could be sensory issues as Sara seems to indicate is possible.

          If it’s #4, then the voices are a chemical imbalance issue as Sara seemed to discover. Though I can’t rule out #3 because of the difficulties of proving universal negatives, I’d say that option is highly suspect. And no one is debating option #1. Hence, the ONLY option left, if #4 was outruled for someone who ‘hears voices’, is #2.

          Thus, logically, any and all voice hearers are simply connecting with various (unfamiliar…i.e. dissociated) parts of their mind and it’s truly irrelevant how the voices seem to feel to the hearer. It’s far more relevant, imo, as I did with my wife, to help her embrace the voices, recognize them as part of her larger self even if she doesn’t recognize them, and help her integrate them into her personal narrative.

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          • The HOD test is unusual in that it’s quantitative. It was created by Hoffer and Osmond when Hoffer was Chief of Psychiatric Research in Saskatchewan and wanted a means for monitoring the progress (or lack thereof) in his research patients. It’s crude, but a descendent, the Experiential World Inventory, may be more statistically and philosophically correct.

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  3. I feel such empathy for Sara Yelich-Koth and am so proud of her being so brave. I also have spent thirty years taking drugs with horrible side effects. Being in hospitals where they treat you like you are incompetent.

    The article and video made me think once again of the illustrator of my book who is schizophrenic and undergoes ECT every month !!! I have tried to tell him he is being harmed but his mother is in charge. He is no longer answering his phone and I fear something has happened to him. Reading that he could be helped with niacin is making me want to go find him.

    I am curious what Sara Yelich-Koth’s doctor would say to do for bipolar. I am curious what Sara would say to do. I wish I could talk to her. I have the bipolar and am completely stable on meds. Long story for another day.

    I too wanted to be a therapist and do seva/service because I have acquired a lot of helpful skills and information. I wanted to go back to school for this. Physical disability has prevented me from going back to school. I am looking into medical marijuana for the pain which no prescription has helped. Then maybe ??
    I am so very impressed that Sara Yelich-Koth succeeded at school and someday I predict that they are going to give her recognition and let her finish her degree.

    I too am thinking of putting my story and a part of my graphic novel on this amazing site. We have to go through the pain of telling our stories if anything is going to change. I just want to hug Sara Yelich-Koth.

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  4. I love your performance art. Congratulations on your recovery from “schizophrenia.” Absolutely, massive numbers of child abuse victims are being misdiagnosed by the psychiatric industry, as well as are their concerned parents. Today, “the prevalence of childhood trauma exposure within borderline personality disorder patients has been evidenced to be as high as 92% (Yen et al., 2002). Within individuals diagnosed with psychotic or affective disorders, it reaches 82% (Larsson et al., 2012).”

    And absolutely, the psychiatrists have yet to learn that symptoms of the crime of child abuse, or concerns one’s child was abused, are not a “mental illness” that can be cured with psychiatric drugs. Nor have the psychiatrists collectively learned that the antidepressants and ADHD drugs can create symptoms that appear to the psychiatric practicers to be “bipolar” and “schizophrenia.”

    Nor have they learned that the “bipolar” and “schizophrenia” drugs and drug cocktails can create what appears to the psychiatrists to be both the positive and negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via what is actually neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome and anticholinergic toxidrome.

    What all this means is that the primary actual function of today’s psychiatric industry is aiding and abetting child abusers and child traffickers, by turning millions of child abuse victims into the “mentally ill” with the psychiatric drugs.

    One would think such staggering in scope psychiatric industry crimes might become an embarrassment to the psychiatrists some day? But, alas, we’re still waiting.

    Gotta love Queen, I was singing and dancing to that during my iatrogenic “bipolar” drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity “mania.” “We are the champions, we are the champions, my friends.” We have the real science on our side. “You’re going to hear me roar.” I, too, can tell my entire story in the lyrics of music. A bizarre talent, but it does make the sad story of staggering in scope psychiatric iatrogenesis committed against millions of child abuse victims much more up beat. Best wishes, Sara.

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  5. I’ve heard some people refer to themselves as “mental illness” survivors. I’m not one of those. I’m a “mental health” treatment survivor. There’s a difference.

    I loved the tee-shirt though, that’s some way to make a statement, and I get why people react.

    My realization came early that psych-drugs were the problem. I went off those and voila! You don’t know how many times I was a non-mentally ill person, mental illness being bunk, in the state mental hospital system.

    Eventually, I’d worked the system enough times that it couldn’t touch me, I having put myself effectively beyond it. Couldn’t have done that had I been “compliant”. I’ve known a number people done in by a straight year or two in the hospital system, something I was, with some support outside the hospital system, able to avoid.

    I’m glad Albert Hoffer’s method, through Dr. Fox, worked so well for you. I didn’t think of any of my doctors as the savior sort, but I managed to get past them all the same.

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    • That’s Abram Hoffer, Frank. You might have confused him with Albert Hofmann, the Swiss who discovered the properties of LSD. Curiously enough, Hoffer was also involved with LSD therapy for alcoholics back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and was also friends with Bill W. of AA fame, who he successfully treated for depression with niacin.

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    • Good for you, Frank. I was brought up to be passive and obedient to those in any position of authority. (Preacher’s daughter in a semi-patriarchal church.)

      Unfortunately our church is pro-psychiatry, accepting it as “real medicine to help sick people.” Anti-psychiatry churches are also demoralizing. “If you just had faith/prayed to Jesus/confessed the sin in your life–you wouldn’t have emotional problems.”

      It took 20 years for me to even question the legitimacy of psychiatric authority.

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  6. excellent article. thank you for this. i’ve been doing my own version of Orthomolecular for about 7 years now. My first 6 months I focused on detox, by adding in alpha lipoic acid, NAC, and green tea extract on top of the standard Orthomolecular protocol. Over time, I’ve cobbled together a more or less stable “line up” of supplements. 6 grams niacinamide is the core at this point. 20 grams vitamin C. 3 b-100 tablets. 1,000 IU natural form E w/ mixed tocopherols. add ons are in there, of course…astaxanthin, green tea extract, grape seed extract, biotin, lately large doses of l-theanine.

    I am now remarkably healthy. I’m intelligent. I’m even bright eyed (long story, but a particularly nefarious psychiatrist at a private, for-profit hell hole deliberately left me dead eyed, age 20). My communtiy has now voted me “Schizophrenic,” where before I was labeled with personality disorders and other “defects.” This has taught me a valuable lesson. Madness is real. Very, very, painfully real (indeed). “Mental illness,” on the other hand, is a dangerous, destructive myth.

    Thank you for sharing your story about being “outed” at grad school. I’ve had some similar experiences. The delightful “professionals” of Mental Health, Inc. often go out of their way to keep “patients IN LINE,” from what I’ve experiened+observed.

    Congratulations on your ongoing Orthomolecular treatment and on your new life. I find you and your story inspirational, at many levels.

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      • Sara

        thank you for sharing your story! Im interested in learning more of your story! Is there a way we could chat? if so please send me an email at [email protected]!

        I wanted to understand HOW the niacin helped you lift the veil and allow you to actually see your trauma as opposed to the defense mechanisms (schizophrenia). And more importantly, how did you begin healing that trauma?? I would be very grateful to understand that about you! thanks again for being so brave!

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  7. I didn’t know it was legal to kick someone out of a college for a diagnosis of “schizophrenia.” Did they invent some other reason, so it wouldn’t be so obviously discriminatory?

    At my college, they claimed I wasn’t taking my “meds.” Their proof? I experienced horrible seizures, Parkinson type tremors, and horrible episodes of tardive akathasia. The mega doses of Haldol were the causes of these symptoms. So actually they were proof that I was “meds compliant.”

    I think it was true ignorance and not deceit behind my totally voluntary decision to leave. (Cough. Cough.) Still, they needed an excuse to kick me out. They aren’t supposed to discriminate against the disabled.

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      • I was seizing everywhere. This was disruptive. But their conclusion was terribly flawed.

        I left the college where I had formerly found love and acceptance. I had to move back in with Mommy Dearest and my dad who thought it was okay to hit “schizos” to keep them under control. I tried moving out into the HUD ghetto and Day Treatment crap the MI System provides. Till I got fed up…and moved back in with parents.

        Vicious game of ping pong the last 23 years. No resources apart from the Mental Illness System and abusive parents. Taken to pulling hair out literally. Going bald in patches.

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      • Neuroleptics lower your threshold for seizures, and so it might be very difficult to determine what was going on there. Withdrawal effects, probably wouldn’t help one iota. A slow taper? I would imagine such issues are sometimes the reason for slowly tapering off pills in the first place.

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    • It is not legal in any way shape or form to be barred from getting a degree due to any disability. I was registered with the student services for disability and received school sanctioned accommodations. The laws in the
      American Disability Act are very clear. Part of the law is that you do not have to disclose what kind of disability you have…exactly for these reasons. Once I was outed, I was outed. I did try to find a lawyer, asked for help from NAMI, as well as my Department of Vocational Rehabilitation worker. I did not find anyone who would help me legally. I also did/do not have the money to hire a lawyer just on my own. I chose to take a different path and devote myself to the Schizophrenia Deconstructed to perhaps prevent this from happening to someone else, especially by decreasing stigma and discrimination associated with schizophrenia.

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      • NAMI is very helpful if you run out of psych pills all the sudden. They’re not good for much else as far as we “consumers” go. They let a negligent psychiatrist kill my friend. Finally I wised up to their nonsense and left.

        A good friend of mine got me started in NAMI. She left too after 3 of her family members died young from psychiatric interventions. Now she is encouraging me to taper off my effexor.

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  8. You are very brave Sara. To tell one’s personal story in such an authentic way is truly revealing of the exquisite sensitivity of our (too sensitive for own good) naked flesh. The video reminds me of Joseph Campbell’s understanding of James Joyce genius; “he saw symbols (signs) everywhere,” and felt the radiance of ‘luminous’ experience. Campbell, in his last book, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, describes the illusion of perceiving the space-time continuum, the plagues the people Maslow called ‘homo-normalis-rationalis,’ who don’t feel the call of nature, as experientially traumatised people do. By calling attention to the common heritage of our human anatomy and the subconscious processes of perception, which, despite the normal sense of time, have not changed for at least 40,000 years.

    So when you quite rightly feel that you are called to save the (social) world, you are in fact following in the footsteps of the great ‘awakeners’ like the Buddha and Jesus, the Christ. Dare I say, you actually feel the ‘anointed’ nature of your stream of consciousness, before it enters the river of public opinion, which, unfortunately, tends to become a flood of misperceived reality, as people simply manifest the mirror function we label, ‘mind.’ IMHO, in this time impoverished era, we have lost the ancient art of ‘realisation,’ ie, the word Sun, is not the reality of the Sun. To notice the sun’s reality, one has to take the time to ‘feel’ its radiance.

    Campbell, describes how, as a well-adjusted social norm, he was eighty-five years old before he finally got what the great mystics have always said; the oneness of the all, is nameless. Or as the Buddha said, (also known as ‘one thus come, like the Sun; Words are not reality, only experience reveals the nature of being human. “After all these years, I get-it,” Campbell lamented as he accepted the wise Buddhist injunction; You not think too much nah!

    Be well, Sara.

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  9. This is an incredible story on many levels. Thank you for sharing. I hope you find a wider audience for your story outside this community. Other parents like me need a campfire where we are able hear the stories of psychiatric survivors, especially the ones that don’t get published in the mainstream media, so we can weigh and sift, until we are able to connect the dots to our own families, rediscovering our children from underneath the pile of labels that they have been given.

    Underneath all of the hopelessness, fear, and despair, our children are still the wonderful people that they have always been, but many of them have been living a lie for years, developing a pattern of evasion, misleading and lying to counselors, friends, and doctors, disguising their real problems, secretly nursing the hurt of their institutional betrayal, terrified that they will be locked up, restrained, forcibly injected, or shocked, if they make the smallest of mistakes.

    Many of our children do not identify with their labels but if an individual seek alternatives or rejects psychiatric treatment the stigma is overwhelming.

    A psychiatrist recommended that my 20 year old receive ECT as she lay helpless and catatonic in a hospital bed. Terrified, I sought for legal protection, only to learn that people considered to be severely mentally ill have no legal rights. The Director of medical ethics at her hospital took the time to sit beside my daughter’s bed and patiently explain what was at stake and she was able to elicit a simple verbal ‘NO’, which thankfully, was enough to make the psychiatrist back off.

    But the experience of her dodging ECT was a wake-up call to me. We parents have to awaken from our collective stupor and shout loudly with our children: “No more harm!” We need to organize for choices and alternatives and better parent education than what is currently offered by NAMI.

    Since my creative, loving, and attractive daughter was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, she has been receiving psychiatric treatment for eight years, often by force. It is very hard to distinguish between her original trauma, the psychological trauma of having her rights taken away, and the side effects of her court ordered drugging.

    She is slowly tapering off the medication and seeking alternative treatment modalities such as a monthly ‘hearing voices’ support group and Icarus Project. Differentiating between withdrawal symptoms, post traumatic flashbacks from psychiatric abuse, and her original trauma continues to be a challenge but hearing these stories helps a lot!

    Every day brings new opportunities for healing and I am grateful that she is getting more appropriate treatment. But still, there are more questions than answers.

    I am very skeptical of claims that people positing that there are no organic contributing factors to ‘mental illness.’ I want to be in solidarity with all psychiatric survivors but this seems unrealistic given the range of views on this site.

    I don’t want to invalidate my daughters experiences, even the ones she has trouble describing. If I say to myself her so called symptoms are simply the result of her being gas-lighted or that there is no such things as ‘normal’ then I am closed to the possibility that she needs help dealing with profound handicaps having to do with faulty perceptions, feelings, and thinking. If I say that she has an organic ‘disease’ than I am at risk of invalidating her trauma and all of the painful circumstances that contributed to her present state, which is even more complicated, because once she was started on neuroleptics she exhibited new psychiatric symptoms, so one has to constantly question the loved one’s behavior and what is the origin and what does it mean? And that doesn’t even include the spiritual model!

    This essay confirms what many parents are starting to suspect, that problems having to do with their child’s perceptions, feelings, and thinking may be associated more with trauma more than they previously wanted to admit. Moreover, it validates what more and more parents are starting to think, that under the medical disease-centered model of mental illness, the ‘experts’ know next to nothing about how to support people in distress who are trauma survivors; indeed, from my daughter’s experience, psychiatrists seem more expert at compounding trauma with stigmatizing labels, hopeless messages about broken brains, forced injections, restraints, and the threat of institutionalization.

    But what this essay does in spades is that it suggests that we need not throw out the baby with the bathwater by claiming that there are no biological contributors to mental wellness/illness.

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    • Madmom, Every time I”m tempted to think that schizophrenia is exclusively due to a trauma of some kind, I think of my father in law who saw psychiatrists on and off for his ulcer, which was attributed to anxiety back in the day. His ‘anxiety’ cleared after taking Tagamet for a week. I’ve been going in circles with my son. Is it a reaction to trauma, is it an undetected medical condition, is it psychospiritual? if his condition eventually clears up with niacin, or an antibiotic, or some other medicine or nutrient, it would tend to negate the trauma theory (which we all suffer to some extent or another), but not entirely. From what I know having interacted with many kinds of holistic healers, trauma can include a virus in the womb, a car accident, an illness of some kind. It’s not just about a crummy home life. And then there is the trauma related to years of treatment going nowhere. Psychotherapy has been very helpful for him, or so it appears. But, it is lengthy, and one wonders if what underpins his intense spirituality and ethereal nature has more to do with an undetected medical condition than a psychiatric one. So, like you, I keep an open mind to all claims, knowing that what works for one person may not work for the next.

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      • Hello Agsin, Rossa. You remind me of the same questions my husband and I had of our son – trying to figure it all out so we could get him the proper treatment. In our son’s case, it was physical illness (the Lyme which he needed IV antibiotics for), psychiatric hospital abuse, and finally was uncovered early childhood trauma which started the psychosis, hallucinations and led me to divorcing his father. It’s good you’re getting your son all the help he needs. Leave no stone unturned but be patient. The answers may take years.

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      • I was just listening to some Peter Levine who pointed out that “medical procedure trauma” is a real thing, too. And he wasn’t talking about psych drugs, just – invasive stuff affecting our boundaries and subconscious safety – like the dentist, could set up this kind of trauma for later seemingly unrelated anxiety.

        I reckon – as GiaK says on BeyondMeds – Everything Matters.

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      • Dr. Abram Hoffer was criticized nonstop – when his clients (he called them clients) got well, he was told they were never sick in the first place – just nutritional deficiencies. Orthomolecular nutritionists do exist. Hoffer was brilliant. In many cases nutritional deficiencies are taken for mental illness and medicated.

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      • Sadly, most nutritionists and homeopaths are as clueless as the docs, and can cause damage of their own. I was talking to a friend who is now discovering the amazing benefits of sunshine and exercise, fish oil and magnesium on mood – and we talked:

        “If you had been told this before all the crisis went down, would you have believed it?”

        Both of us answered, no. That there was something about the crisis we both had to go through, and come out on the other side. Now, sunshine is very effective – but it might not have cut through the drama in my previous state.

        PS – Mensah Medical is in Chicago. I don’t think they have the whole picture, but they can help a lot. Problem is – how rich are you? 🙁

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    • A gentler way of treating catatonia.

      The great Canadian orthomolecular psychiatrist Abram Hoffer wrote in his memoirs:

      ” We deduced from our biochemical theories that large doses of vitamin B-3 and vitamin C might be therapeutic. We obtained a large supply of pure crystalline niacin, niacinamide, ascorbic acid and riboflavin. Our first patient Ken was a catatonic schizophrenic in the mental hospital run by Dr Osmond. He had had insulin coma and also ECT and had been left in a coma and was dying. We decided that he must be our first patient to be given niacin and hoped he would not be our first victim. We used a stomach tube and gave him a large dose of niacin and ascorbic acid. He survived. The next day he sat up and drank it and thirty days later he was well. He was discharged and remained well. We were very fortunate. It is essential that the first patient one treats with any new treatment responds and he did. We then knew that we had something but our conviction was not great. After six double blinds, thousands of patients I have treated since then, and dozens of open clinical studies, I am convinced that what I saw in 1952 did represent a new way of treating these patients. ” ……….

      “The adrenochrome hypothesis has been a map that we have followed since then and it has been remarkably effective in directing our investigations in to fruitful areas of research. These include the discovery of the mauve factor, psychedelic therapy, special clinical tests for schizophrenia such as the HOD and EWI test, the discovery that niacin lowers cholesterol levels, better housing for patients, better and more humane treatment of patients and more. Our research, and the use of mega doses of vitamins led to Linus Pauling’s formulation of Orthomolecular Psychiatry and Medicine. And I now know a lot more psychiatry than I did when I first started so many years ago.”

      Hoffer died in 2009 at age 92 and worked up until two weeks before his death.

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      • Purolyria (B6 and Zinc deficiency) is another cause of schizophrenia and easily treated. That’s my son’s biggest problem now but he’s rebelling against all these treatments – allopathic and irthomolecular and takes his meds, drinks Coke and eats junk food and won’t take his vitamins. He’s 28 now and it’s painful to see him not get well when I know he can.

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      • Bad luck. That was the year chlorpromazine (Thorazine) supposedly performed its first miracle on the first psychiatric patient to receive it in an attempt to demonstrate proof of efficacy. He was apparently manic, not schizophrenic, there were some serious adverse events with the injections themselves, and his treatment was augmented with ECT and a barbiturate, but hey, if you read about it in Jeff Lieberman’s fake history of psychiatry, “Shrinks” (2015), the trial was a complete success for the man he calls “the psychotic,” and his doctors were “flabbergasted.”

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    • No known or proven organic disorders. My problem with throwing drugs at the problem is you have no idea what neurochemicals are too high or too low–if the imbalance exists. You may be elevating dopamine and lowering serotonin, when the patient has very high dopamine already and a barely existent supply of some essential chemical not yet classified by science. A lot of neurochemicals are not, despite what your friendly neighborhood shrink may say.

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  10. Thank you Sara Yelich-Koth, it was great to read your story, and I love your performance art, very informative, and it gives hope to others who struggle.

    Unfortunately, orthomolecular medicine is considered controversial in conventional psychiatry, yet in 2017.

    Dr. Abram Hoffer cured over 5000 schizophrenic patients with orthomolecular medicine.

    “Mental Health Treatment That Works

    (OMNS) Doctors report that mental health problems including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, anti-social and learning disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders often have a common cause: insufficient nutrients in the brain. Nutritionally-oriented physicians assert that the cure for these problems is to give the body the extra nutrients it needs, especially when under abnormal stress.

    Orthomolecular medical researchers say the future of psychiatry is in nutrition because nutrition has such a long, safe and effective history of correcting many mental problems. Nutrients such as the B-vitamins are most successful when taken regularly, taken in relatively high doses, and taken in conjunction with vitamin C, the essential fatty acids (EFA’s), and the minerals magnesium and selenium.

    A summary of what has worked for many people follows below. The safety of vitamins and minerals is extraordinary, and the expense of trying them is much less than the cost of hazardous pharmaceutical drugs. These nutrients can be purchased in a discount or heath store.”

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  11. Jesus! That asshole Jeffrey Lieberman gets to run amok on Mad lives, yet Sara gets railroaded out of Mad health care? Maybe psychiatry WOULDN’T have an anti-movement, if it wasn’t so hostile and destructive to its lunatic fringe. A clinician like Sara would have been a godsend in my darkest hours. It’s almost unbelievable that psychiatry has “screened out” a person who would NEVER ruin Mad lives. Almost.

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  12. Sara, thank you so much for writing this. It was a wonderful read. A couple of things stood out to me. The reaction I’ve gotten from others when saying that I’m off meds and doing fine is essentially looks of horror. We as a society have been conditioned to view people with SMI as diseased and dangerous, so the idea that someone is off meds and functioning well is unbelievable and scary. Second, your tactic of lying and becoming a con artist is essentially the advice I give people now. Even if you’re symptomatic, don’t tell anyone. Muddle your way through it as best you can. Fake it til you make it if you must. But if you value your freedom, keep your mouth shut. The slightest symptom is seen as a need for medication. If I have a few days where I’m depressed or anxious or not sleeping or especially on the rare occasions that I have suicidal thoughts, I don’t tell anyone because they invariably suggest I see my doctor.

    I agree with you that it’s necessary for survivors to tell their story. I am inching toward the day when I will feel safe telling my story with my name and face attached. Thank you for telling yours!

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  13. About niacin – start very slowly – 1/4 of a 100mg tablet and go up from there. Take after food. Some people get extreme flushing and panic and don’t touch niacin again. Students at our local naturopathic college took niacin as part of their training. A few students fainted – can’t remember how many – they had not eaten lunch.
    Vitamin C, selenium, zinc, other B vitamins also important. Dairy and sugar were to be avoided. Dr. Hoffer did use pharmaceuticals but weaned people off them as soon as he could replace the drugs with micronutrients. A few weeks before his death he remarked that all psychiatrists should be transported to Mars – we’d be better off without them.

    I’ll try to link to another article about the role of gluten in schizophrenia also low-carb ketogenic diet

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  14. Sara: Brilliant – both text and video. Dr. Hoffer would be grateful. Close to the end of his very last audio interview a few weeks before his death (an interview he agreed to only if he could speak about schizophrenia) he asked that we carry on his work. His final comment was “all psychiatrists should be transported to Mars – we’d be better off without them”. I will pass this on to his daughter. Thank you. You brought a smile. I write about his work almost daily.

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  15. I really respected Dr Hoffer. He was truly a great man I’m honored to have met. I will try the suggestion of 25 mg of niacin to start. I’m glad I found this site and Sara’s story.

    I do recall Dr Hoffer telling me that “some people cannot take niacin. He had us try the non flushing kind but we had the same result. Maybe a small dose like that to start will make a difference. Dr. Bonnet of a earth House said eventually, my son may be able to start with small doses. He was aware of the interaction with the Lyme bacteria. I’ll report how we do,

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  16. Also – Lyme can cause psychosus. It is a spiroketal bacteria like syphyllisxwhuch in late stage causes psychosis. My son went five years without proper diagnosis which an LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical adr) can diagnose as the tests are very unreliable.

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  17. great article thank you
    have tried the niacin etc but the flushing was painful. At the end of the day you have to try whatever comes to hand but it is hard when you are so isolated in a society that does not care to keep on getting up every day and keeping on going !

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  18. Thank you for being so forthcoming, so authentic.
    Although I was a “physician ” I became oriented to psychotherapy in 1st year med school, and enjoyed being a psychotherapist. And leaving psychotic patients to biologically oriented psychiatrists.
    UNTIL, when training in psychoanalysis one of my patients suddenly became psychotic!
    I couldn’t understand him and he couldn’t understand me and he felt doomed!
    What saved us was that I had a pediatrician/psychoanalyst, Dr Donald Winnicott as a supervisor. He suggested that I stop talking (nonsense) and try listening. Since I had no other option, I did so…..
    The patient kept coming and kept talking and , much to my surprise after a few sessions I understood something. I gave out an affirmative noise. Later I understood something else, and said a word. This built and we developed a working relationship with each other, and this gradually allowed him to begin to feel real and develop a life.
    Dr Winnicott, who had helped children to survive the war, hypothesized that he’d developed a false self in groups with his parents doing war work.
    It took 4 years but at the the patient thanked me for helping him to feel human!
    We ran psychiatric units using various forms of psychotherapy, but psychiatry and governments shut us down, saying that drugs were quicker and cheaper. We could see the revolving door start, keeping patients as patients for life.
    I eventually gave up on psychiatry and moved to Ontario where the provincial health insurance paid me to do psychotherapy on any resident, and the happy result was that some of my patients were psychotic and had never had the opportunity to find a therapist who would try to understand them! It was very challenging work, but extremely satisfying.
    Unfortunately, however, my “colleagues ” didn’t want to hear about this work, so I really appreciate Mad in America for their interest!

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  19. Hi Sara! I wanted to hear more about how you were ‘ousted’ ! I also entrusted my professors with information pertaining to being a former victim of psychiatric malpractice, of having text book symptoms of bipolar or schizoaffective, and that I had been a victim of abuse/ was stressed out/ trying to get out of one or two classes. I was suspended and reported to a hospital who was given my home address and phone number. I was also excommunicated from everyone other than the people who chose to do this to me.

    I think the punishment is a sarcastic demonstration of employees expressing their robotic inability to not join the ominous medical movement of population control. Controlling language that is unprofessional vs. professional in high society, is likewise a demonstration about how much your supposedly liberal and free minded faculties and peers don’t care whether or not you die or have a forced abortion, or just wake up with bruises all over for no written reason, other than an entire subsequent paragraph complaining about a patients’ hospital food complaints. Its malpractice but its still standardized and I these psychiatrists enjoyed themselves in the act of using their power as well as reacting to my oh so special and surprising symptoms.

    Universities discriminate anyone and everyone through the acceptance process openly. But once you are in their are suddenly laws in place that you can utilize. However, I think discrimination in education sucks more for any reason leading towards forced psychiatry, than it does for any other discriminatory reason, because of the mortality risk involved… again, from my selfish perspective.

    I’m lucky now because I do not live with any abusive and or discriminatory room-mates, but I worry about what could done to me in the future against my will, by surprise or not, as a result of attempting, or at least pretending to attempt, some kind of career through higher education. The letter that my professor wrote about me to authorities was disgustingly unscientific and outrageous, like just because he felt like pretending he had no authority. I spent many years learning what my mental health rights actually are. I also now understand now how credit cards and student loans work, and how to dissociate myself from racist people intelligently, but not everyone accepted into higher education programs are that cognitive and rich.

    If i were living with my mother when my University did this to me, she would have lied to the EMS and would have told them to take me away. If the EMS were not there, she would have called them 20 times until they were convinced that I needed to go with them to explain the situation to a psychiatrist to make everything better. My mother would continue to lie as much as possible to try to keep me labeled as crazy to cover up for her and her husbands’ own sexual and domestic violence against me.

    These are just some political reasons why I didn’t go to my University’s risk assessment. I could have ended the suspension had I gone to the risk assessment and had a pleasant conversation with any of the councilors who I would no longer be suicidal enough to talk to about personal issues as a result of being turned in by a professor. After being referred to a hospital by a professor, or anyone in a more powerful position than you, my making one off kilter comment to a mental health provider who has said information would be suicidally risking forced medication for which I’m fatally allergic to and have no document of.

    I’m still trying to sue my University and complete the degree. Completing the degree on time, remotely, seems possible now, even with managing to not take the risk assessment. However, I want the suspension to end, to have grades like the other students, and some kind of recognition that written civil rights that actually exist were deliberately broken by this University. I guess I have nothing better to do with my time than file honest police reports from the past and honest civil complaints. There are so many and I try to spend my time in the smartest ways possible as as a free student. Higher education law seems like a messy discriminatory business by nature. I don’t think I will ever be compatible with it as I continue trying to represent myself.

    I wondered why you went to the hospital on vacation if it is torture, like if it is political. I’ve never volunteered as a patient at a hospital. I don’t have schizophrenia. I have never been in a situation where I did not want to be hallucinating, just like fifty percent of everyone. The niacin made me laugh, but maybe that’s ignorant?

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  20. Do you really have to go through a period of detoxification? I thought you could just slowly work your way up to about 1,000-2,000 mg of niacin. I have the book Orthomolecular Treatment for Schizophrenia and I thought you just take the recommended doses of 1-2 grams per meal. Also, I am in Milwaukee, could you email me the info for Dr. Fox? My email is [email protected] thanks!!!!

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  21. Sara – I’m so impressed with your article and video. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing life story. It parallels my own struggle with Asperger’s/ASD in some ways. I was never formally diagnosed, and I’m glad I missed out on psychiatric “care.” But I can relate to having a traumatic childhood, feeling different, “passing” as normal, making use of my white privilege, spending years in therapy, and finally getting relief from my symptoms, once I identified and self-treated for mercury toxicity. The brain really is part of the body, go figure.

    I spent so much time researching how to support myself with food and supplements that I decided to do it for real– I went back to school and got a degree in holistic nutrition therapy so I could help other people get better too.

    I really just wanted to say thank you again for sharing– you have enlightened and inspired me with your wonderful story and your mission to change mainstream thinking about mental illness. It’s physical and curable! Be well!!

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  22. Now that’s out of the way, this:

    I have long observed that those young, fledgling so-called schizophrenics are very partial to eating very frugally, from day to day, week to week, month to month. And that the dietary habits very often consist of eating nothing but breakfast cereal, bowl after bowl, with very little else. Maybe milk, if available, water, if needs be. Even dry hand to mouthfuls — let’s not shy away from the facts (those awkward details often left behind).

    And these breakfast cereals, as illustrated boldly, proudly, on the packaging, being fortified with vitamins and minerals, including niacin.

    In other words, many of the young, fledgling so-called schizoiphrenics, when left to their own devices, choose convenient, processed foods that provide them with far more than their recommended daily intakes of vitamins and minerals, including niacin.

    So there is no doubt that it is uncommon for a young, fledgling so-called schizophrenic to be low in niacin.

    And so we must conclude, o yes we must, that the input of quackery is not to be taken lightly, nor that should it be encouraged. Even though it is, and will go on to be.

    Severe lows in niacin can induce psychosis. This is true. So can extreme thirst and other forms of malnutrition. None of these extremes have anything to do with our young, fledgling so-called schizophrenics, who you will find, the world over, even now, you will find them, if you care to look, hiding away in low-light rooms, sitting on the floor, munching away at their breakfast cereals, exceeding their recommended daily intakes of niacin and other essential vitamins and minerals, as guaranteed on the box, bone fide guaranteed by the globalists and a-okayed by their respective governmental health experts.

    When first reading about this quackery, I must admit to being quite miffed, by the foolishness, the hubris, by the audacity and the — I can think of no better word — the derangement.

    High doses of niacin are very toxic — as the quackery understands — and can lead to psychotic symptoms.

    Luring young, fledgling so-called schizophrenics into these arenas of quackery is very, very sordid business.

    I implore you to leave them alone. Let them sit alone if they wish in dark rooms, with their bowls of niacin-fortified breakfast cereals…

    Watch them. Be there for them. But please stop fucking with them.

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  23. rasselas.redux – niacin can have some uncomfortable and risky to the liver consequences when taken in very high doses. There are no queues at the hospitals for niacin overdose. Hoffer would use up to 20 g per day with good effect. Most doses are lower than this.

    Water is toxic, too, if you want to look at the possibility of extremes.

    The grain in breakfast cereals, and the sugar are mood altering as well, perhaps that – not the niacin – is why it is a popular “schizophrenic snack,” and starts a spiky cycle of mood alteration. The grain and sugar are immediately felt, and I would postulate – if your theory of “common snack” is true – that is the craving that is being addressed.

    The niacin in cereal is not quality, and you cannot eat enough of it to get a flush. A handful is less than 100 mg of niacin, 10 handfuls is still under a therapeutic dose. Ergo, you cannot eat enough fortified cereal to get a therapeutic amount of niacin.

    I’m not the orthomolecular specialist here, but what you are claiming is beyond the pale.

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    • I don’t think rasselas.redux has any grasp of how much niacin is required (3g+/day) to have a therapeutic effect on illnesses of perception like the “schizophrenias”. His cereal chowhounds would have to eat 5-10 boxes of cereal/day to get remotely close to this level.

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        • I’m jumping in here as I’ve been somewhat following the thread. My experience giving my son niacin was that irt is premature when someone is on meds. The effects get lost in the fog of drugs. Hoffer (correct me if I’m wrong) prescribed it to people not on meds. I was so eager to try it that we did it anyway. I noticed improvements, but he didn’t “recover” on niacin. I would hate to see you going through the expense and ending up spending money and lots of time, but having the meds confound the good that I believe niacin can do.

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          • Hey, Thanks for the reply. Dr. Hoffer did give Niacin to people on antipsychotics as well. Infact, he very slowly keeps reducing the dose of antispychotics to keep them to a minimum or completely take them off it. He postulated that Schizophrenics are “Niacin Dependent” – meaning they will need Niacin intake for life just like anticpsychotics, but Niacin wont produce such drastic and negative side effects that Antipsychotics has..
            Hoffer noticed that people who started Niacin treatment within one year of their Schizphrenia Onset were most like to recover (90%).
            That number keeps coming down as time passes by and depends on the intake of antipsychotics as well.

            If you dont mind me asking, How old is your son ? When was he diagnosed and when did he start taking the medicines ? Which meds and what dosages is he on right now ?

            Hoffer noticed that it may sometimes take 5-10 years for patients to ‘recover’ on Niacin….

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          • Hi, Mike I’m replying to my own comment because we’re out of thread. My son is now 34. He is on 1 mg a day (I think but not sure of the specific dose and how often he takes it) of liquid Abilify. He’s on no vitamins because the vitamins became simply too much, too many, a tyranny in their own way like the drugs. (He started out on risperdal and Effexor while hosptalized at age 20 and was on various meds like clozapine, Serdolect, usually in combination until he went to only 1 when he was 26. My problem with Dr. Hoffer, whom I greatly admire (and even met on one occasion) is that I distrust his results. Why couldn’t we duplicate them and the only reason I can think of is that the drugs confused what was going on. We finally gave up because my son wasn’t well, and this was after not just the niacin but going full throttle by introducing a naturopath/holistic MD into the equation. There is so much going on with schizohrenia that it’s hard to disentangle what intervention is producing the new symptom or getting rid of the old. There is a huge social aspect to this, meaning that someone will have difficulty recovering if others talk down to them, correct the faulty logic, etc. etc. I would have liked that my son went on niacin from day 1, not an antipsychotic, because I think that then I would have seen better results, but there wasn’t much support to keep going for years with the regime. People/famlies also need pep talks in order to keep going. I’ve read all of Dr. Hoffer’s books and articles, and what I liked most was not the results (in my son’s case), but the positive attitude he encouraged others to take towards schizophrenia. I’m in my usual rush and probably not making sense. It’s going to be tough dealing with your mother’s doctors, who won’t want her off the drugs and will at most “tolerate” the niacin. Here’s something I do recommend that is non-drugl and shows a lot of promise based on my experience with holistic interventions. I have several blogs on this topic (Focused Listening) going back to June 2017, I believe.) Start at Jan. 6 2018 and read forward. I return to the topic several times.

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  24. Hello friends. I need some advice. My mom (age 52 now) was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2010. I actually dont remember if she had schizophrenia before that as well but my earliest experience with her psychotic episodes started in 2010. She has been taking Risperdal since then. She also took zyprexa and abilify in between but Risperdal suits her better. She takes 9mg Risperdone daily. She still hears voices (auditory hallucinations) 24×7 and sleeps all day and is not at all motivated to do any basic activities like brushing, bathing, etc. In her auditory hallucinations, she hears her sisters and brothers and many other family members. She laughs and cries sometimes while talking to herself. I asked her if she believes that those voices are actually true and she said “Yes those voices are real”. Everytime she thinks, it’s like she is having a conversation with someone. I asked her whether she calls the voices in her head or they come on their own and she replied that they just come on their own. She says that someone she hasn’t met for 30 years in real physical life asks her for money in her mind and troubles her alot. She used to believe that someone enters our house at night when we are sleeping and steals our stuff. She believes in all of this even when on medicines.

    She has gained alot of weight since starting the antipsychotic medicines and also takes Thyroxine medicine in the mornings for her thyroid. She also had a tumor in her uterus bcoz of which she had her uterus + ovaries removed around 2010 itself (she was 44-45 that time). The removal of ovaries also may cause Depression and anxiety. Since I was a child, My mom used to doubt, suspect and mistrust alot before her psychotic episodes started as well. But she was very beautiful & intelligent and was a friendly teacher who the students and their parents loved a lot. I have provided as much history as possible….

    The bottomline is that she has schizophrenia now and is overweight and 9mg risperdone per day isn’t helping alot… I have found out from google and youtube videos about Niacin and i think i will definitely try them out. Does anyone have any advices for me on how to start her dosage of Niacin? I hope Niacin is the way to her recovery. And if it makes her better, i think I might try to reduce the dosage of risperdone and bring it to complete stop. Any advices will be very appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

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    • I have started my mom on the Niacin Doses (SOLGAR 500 mg Niacin Vitamin B3) and asked her what she felt.

      1) 29/04/2018 , Night 11 pm , Dose = 500mg (1 tablet) , No Flush, No itching, No warmth, No redness (NO EFFECT AT ALL)
      2) 30/04/2018 , Morning 10:00 am, Dose = 1g (2 tablets) , Light Flushing, Itching on face-neck-waist and finally legs , Felt warmth, Face became a lil red, Started feeling Cold after flushing was over
      3) 30/04/2018 , Evening 4:30 pm , Dose = 1g (2 tablets) , V Light effect, Light itching on face only, No warmth, no redness. She said effect was lesser than morning.
      4) 30/04/2018, Night 11:45 pm , Dose = 1g (2 tablets) , (NO EFFECT AT ALL)

      So this is what has happened till now. I am thinking of increasing her dosage to 1.5g tomrw as she didnt react to 1g at night and the effect kept decreasing from morning to night. i have also given her 1g vitamin C along with Niacin every time.

      She takes 1 Pacitane pill (Trihexyphenidyl HCL 2mg, used to relax muscles and treat parkinsons disease) in the morning and 3 Risdone-Plus pills (Mixture of Risperidone 3mg /Trihexyphenidyl HCL 2mg) at night.
      Is it ok if i give her Niacin, Vitamin C and the antipsychotic Risdone Plus all together?

      Please Pray for her recovery everyone. Thank you all (Y)

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      • Hey Mike – what about honouring the voices she is hearing? Maybe this is a response to isolation – she may be immersing herself in a dimension where she is not so lonely.

        It is extremely rare to “catch schizophrenia” in later life. Usually our personality is more firmly formed as we age, and slipping out of personality is highly unusual. Don’t her doctors think this is weird? Then fire them. Find someone who is willing to reduce her drug load, not add to it. We don’t metabolise well as we age.

        Age 52 is it also rare to need Parkinson’s pill, unless it is needed to counteract other drugs (like the “antipsychotics”). I would question whether she is on statins or blood pressure drugs, as well. I’d want to know she was getting plenty of magnesium, Omega3 fish oils, and I’d be checking her diet to remove wheat. It sounds like her whole system may be in inflammation, and that is affecting her brain function.

        I recommend you find her a Consulting Geriatric Pharmacist to evaluate her drugs.

        As for Niacin, at the levels that she may need at this point (I would also be getting labs done for Vit D3 and Vit B12), you might want to go with inositol hexanicotinate form of Niacin, as it is potent and flush free. Dr. Hoffer was using doses as high as 30g (yes, grams!) to get results. I don’t recommend that for non-medical people to try, I’m just indicating that a half gram might not do very much. And it will do nothing if you don’t address what has happened to her.

        I am older than your mother, and find all of this highly unusual, to “suddenly slip into psychosis.” There must be trauma or stressors which are pressing on her psyche.

        This drug regime will ensure that she goes to her grave early, as she is already developing metabolic disorder, and likely to quickly develop cardio and endocrine problems as well (especially since she’s already lost her ovaries, as have I, and suffering hypothyroidism, as I do also.)

        Listening to her voices is a start to trying to understand. And really – are they harming anything? Do they place her in any danger? Perhaps this is a thing that she needs to go through in order to reconcile parts of herself. Drugging her voices is squelching her very being, and places her at great risk.

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        • Hey JanCarol – First of all i would like to thank you immensely for giving me such a detailed and honest reply. I have never shared my mom’s condition with anyone and this is my first time so i am really overwhelmed by knowing that there is someone out there to help and guide me.

          My dad, according to me, isn’t an ideal husband. Since my early childhood days(i am 24 now), he was very strict with my mom and used to hit her sometimes as well. He used to swear at her constantly and my mom had no support system whatsoever as we live in a different country than her immediate family. I am sure she might have felt lonely. My mom used to doubt that my father cheated on her and she also thought there might be a sexual relationship between my sister and dad (which wasn’t the case) because of which she hit my sister as well. She used to think that a holy man (sage) would solve all her problems and she has secretly given away alot of money and her gold jewelry to different people hoping that they solve her issues. My sister says that my mom had also stripped naked infront of a saint to show him some marks on her body (which didnt exist) and asked that saint to do something about it. This is why my dad stopped giving her money as well. My dad’s side of the story is that he trusted her before but she was mad and then he stopped trying. He says that my mom had mental issue from before the marriage and that her family hid this from him as it was an arranged marriage. I was too young to understand all of this before and i also stayed out of my house and country alot because of which i didnt notice that my mom and my family wasn’t normal. My dad isnt a very bad man. But the circumstances in my house are not very normal. He started drinking alcohol over the years to cope with all this and recently had liver cirrhosis and just survived a critical situation.

          I am the only one in my whole family who understands what schizophrenia is and what it does to a person.
          My dad and sister dont understand this and shout at my mom when she cries (after hearing alot of voices in her head). I try to educate them but they dont seem to completely understand this.

          Wow…. now that i have typed all this, it seems like she had developed schizophrenia before…It’s just that in 2010, everything multiplied and she was screaming and shouting and hitting me and went through multiple psychotic episodes that we took her to see a psychologist and then she got diagnosed. So she must have had it from before….

          The pacitane (parkinsons pill) is to counteract the antipsycotic. She is not on statins or blood pressure drugs. I m pretty sure she wasnt and still doesnt get enough Magnesium, Omega-3…
          What should i giver her instead of wheat ? Rice has carbs and i thought carbs isnt good.
          My mom was very beautiful and a fair skinned lady. Very thin as well. She has become so fat after being on psychotics that i cry while typing this.. She was very intelligent and was a very popular teacher who used to help her students achieve very high grades.

          I will try to get the labs done. May i ask the reason behind getting labs done for those vitamins ?
          I have given 5 dosages (spread out over the days) of 1g Niacin to my mother and she doesnt seem to flush.

          ‘This drug regime will ensure that she goes to her grave early’ ……… I want to reduce her medicines and take her off them as soon as possible but i dont know how long will that take…. I want to save her and make her normal again… She was such a fine lady.. She still is… She’s very cute and gentle but the voices in her head and these drugs make her so miserable like a zombie…. My dad has given up on my moms condition … I m trying hard to make her get back to a good normal life…

          She has got very close to me and i keep asking her about the voices. She hears her mom dad brothers and sister and some random people as well. Some people’s voices trouble her in her head by constantly asking her for money. She met my friend after 5 years recently and from the next day she started hearing his voices in her head as well. She takes most of the daily decisions by listening to her mother’s voice in her head. (Her mother passed away 11 years ago)

          She has never tried to suicide or self harm. She has auditory hallucinations, she keeps playing with her fingers by counting random numbers and playing with her fingers when she isnt doing anything and she has negative symptoms where she doesnt care alot for her looks (doesnt shower or brush regularly).

          An important Issue is that SHE DOESNT KNOW SHE HAS SCHIZOPHRENIA. She believes that the voices in her head is real when i asked her. She thinks that the medicines she takes is to make her feel energetic because shes laying on bed all day. I m reading alot online and trying to find different ways to save her.. I want my mom to be happy and live a long life… She is just 52… She’s an amazing woman.

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  25. “My mom was very beautiful and a fair skinned lady. Very thin as well. […] She was very intelligent and was a very popular teacher who used to help her students achieve very high grades. […] She was such a fine lady.. […] She’s very cute and gentle”

    There is so much love in your description. Hold that essence of your mother with all your strength deep in your heart, no matter what happens. It is like an anchor, you know. That is the greatest gift you can give her, even if she cannot return from her confusion. I am sure on a deep level she knows about your grieving her deteriorated state and it helps so much if there is somebody who shares this grief because while going through mental illness, a distorted version of yourself, one is griefing about what one has become. You are doing a fine job of accompanying her while she walks her way through a dark but invisible valley. How nice to do of a son for his mother. I wish your family much strength!

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words phoenix. It means a lot knowing that there are people who understand and support me. Yes, it is like an anchor. This is that i am doing all day. I am reading articles, watching youtube videos, trying to find as much as i possibly can to ‘cure’ or heal her. I get excited when i find something and i don’t even want to sleep nowadays as there is so much information out there and i want to keep reading , watching, etc ! Thanks for your good wishes. God bless you and your family too !

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  26. I agree with Phoenix – I can feel the love you have for your Mom.

    If she is in no danger, does she need the drugs at all?

    Can you encourage her to write, paint, sing about what she’s being told?

    I always ask for labs on B12 and D3 for 2 reasons. 1. It determines whether there really is a deficiency, and 2. The doctors tend to accept labs, and will support B12 and D3. You can go ahead and supplement (I supplement personally, even though my labs are more than fine), but the labs are very helpful in knowing how much, how important they are in the scheme of things. (I would love to ask for labs on Niacin, Magnesium, Zinc and Copper as well, but doctors are reluctant to run those. Don’t underestimate the role that Zinc and Magnesium play in mood management as well)

    Wheat does things to the brain that rice does not. They are both carbs and will contribute to metabolic disorder & fatty liver. This is not a time to worry about her weight, it’s a time to be concerned about getting her off the damaging neuroleptic (“antipsychotic”). The drugs are what makes her lay in bed all day. The weight is not what she is eating, it is the drugs. Dr. David Perlmutter has written a book called “Grain Brain,” that talks about the mood and mind altering processes that wheat can cause. Dr. William Davis has given some great YouTube talks about the damaging properties of today’s hybridized wheat. (and that doesn’t count the GMO processes or pesticides, which make it even worse).

    Please reconsider your use of diagnosis words. Your Mom is upset, she’s traumatised, she’s hearing voices and may be “outside of herself” with passion and pain. “Schizophrenia” is a junk label to throw onto people that doctors don’t understand. There’s even debate here as to whether or not “psychosis” is an accurate description, also.

    I’m hoping that some of the more experienced therapy types here can recommend a better way for you & your Mom. RD Laing found that when he took people in this sort of distress – out of the home, into hospital, they got better – but then, as soon as he put them back into that situation which made them sick, they became distressed again. Maybe in a different environment – at a sister’s in the country, or a cousin’s house by the sea – she would have a chance to wake up and be more present with her situation, and might even figure out what it is about her environment that is distressing her. (and perhaps the voices are giving her these clues, as well)

    There are many “Hearing Voices Network” groups – – I suggest you look into that, there will be a lot of good suggestions there – for you, even if she doesn’t believe she’s “hearing voices.”

    I’m also very concerned that there is something biological happening, as Oliver Sacks talks a lot about neurological things that can go very weird. It’s always good to rule these things out, though it sounds as though in her case, there has been enough trauma on her plate to cause her distress.

    To taper her risperdal, I recommend, and there’s an excellent webinar on “antipsychotic” drug withdrawal, here: There’s also a free webinar, here:

    I can’t recommend enough watching as many videos and reading as many articles as possible by Olga Runciman.

    This touches me close to my heart, as I lost 20-30 years to the drugs, lost my ovaries, lost my thyroid, and I have escaped this drugs & diagnoses, but my endocrine system is damaged – I keep trying to heal (that’s how I learned all this stuff) but it gets harder to make headway the older I get. I am 55 years old.

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    • JanCarol – You have immense knowledge in this field. I cannot thank you enough for all the information that you are giving to me via your comments. Thank you so much !

      I will get the Vitamin Tests done soon. Will also try to get a genes test done if possible. I have contacted a few Naturo-therapists near me who have managed schizophrenia cases before.

      ” Can you encourage her to write, paint, sing about what she’s being told? ” I will try that. Right now I just ask her what she’s hearing in her head. And she tells me that her main problem is people on the streets when she goes outside. She tells me that random strangers walking by “connect” themselves (to her brain) and ask her for millions in money or otherwise they will harm her family (which they don’t in real life ofcourse). For example, a cleaner on the street, or even my friend that she met. She cries and fights when this happens. I told her not to worry about it and just let me know when they ask for money.

      I asked her wouldn’t it be great if she would stop hearing the voices and become thin again ? She said yes but she also said that she would like the good voices (her good family members) to stay just to chat with them.

      I also asked her does she really hear different kinds (sounds) of voices from different people or is it her own voice in her head that represents different people. She said something like – Its her voice in her head but she knows its other people coz they come into her head and say that ‘ I am _______(name of the person) ‘ and then the conversation continues in her head.

      I have been recording voice notes and writing down in a journal what she hears by asking her. She told me that the voices are there 24×7 except for a few minutes at some places (mostly outside our home) where she finds peace (like doing yoga or meditation or with a nice person who she is comfortable with).

      She doesn’t have any friend and all her brothers/sisters are in a different country. Her daily routine includes a lil bit of cooking, a lil bit of laundry and sleep for the rest of the day. I have been trying to change it recently by taking her outside for yoga, meditation and trying to get her a new friend by introducing my friend’s mother to her. I have to be careful on choosing friends for her coz i only need positive people around her who understands what schizophrenia / mom’s condition is (there are not many people like that) because she gets affected by what other people say.

      I didnt know that about wheat….. The Naturotherapist should also advice on the diet regime that we should follow for her. DIET and nutrition is very important now. Need to fix this asap.

      You are absolutely right about the “CHANGE OF ENVIRONMENT” that is needed for her. It is really tough for us to get a change of environment for her coz if she goes somewhere without us, she wont (might forget) to take her medicines and her diet will change again and her condition might worsen. That is why i try to get her out of the house and also get her a positive friend.

      She is very alert and aware of things going on in the house as well. She is becoming more aware since i have started giving Niacin and vitamin C (This might just be in my head coz its just been 3 days) .

      I will read everything that you have mentioned. Its my mom’s life. i will do everything that i can to bring her back to a ‘normal’ life.

      I wish you hadn’t lost 30 years to drugs…. thats alot… BUT you are so strong and so aware and have so much knowledge of this now. I hope you keep getting better and lead a happy life. You are just 55. i don’t consider that as old and neither should you. Plz stay strong and keep recovering. God bless you for helping me so much with so many useful articles and information.

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      • Hey Mike –

        If you want to talk to me further, join, where I am a moderator, send me a PM to let me know it’s you, and we can continue to talk there.

        I wouldn’t spend too much money on gene tests, and I would be very nervous about a naturopath. As soon as they say the word “detox,” RUN AWAY!!!! Seriously, many people have been harmed by naturopathic regimens. It is better if you do the research yourself, and get support from a naturopath who is willing to work as a partner.

        I AM NOT A THERAPIST but it seems to me like her “connections with outside people” voices – seem to be talking about how she feels held hostage, blackmailed and threatened by her life.

        There are theories which talk about how “psychosis” or extreme states can allow the veils of our minds to thin and rend the veil between “normal thought” and “paranormal thought.” I don’t know what to call these extreme thoughts – but I do know that they can be accurate in their own way.

        Example. A friend of mine was sitting at a bus stop. A homeless woman was seated at the end of the bench, with all her stuff in a state of disarray. My friend was thinking, “I wonder what I’ll have for dinner,” when the other woman exclaimed, “Dinner! Dinner!” Okay, maybe coincidence, and she thought, “That must be coincidence or very strange timing.” “COINCIDENCE TIME!” exclaimed the woman! For the next 5 minutes, a weird echolalia of my friends thoughts came out of the mouth of this stranger. The words may vary from what I have said here – just examples of how it worked.

        Usually these experiences are not so literal (but it can happen).

        So – your mother may be feeling connection with strangers – and there may be some truth in the thoughts. Or these thoughts may be mirrors of her own situation. Like I said, I AM NOT A THERAPIST, and a good Jungian or Voice Hearing Sensitive therapist would be able to do much better.

        I am slightly concerned by this comment: “I asked her wouldn’t it be great if she would stop hearing the voices and become thin again ? ”

        Do you really want to burden her further with the pressure to be beautiful for you? Isn’t she burdened enough?

        This is focusing on what is “wrong” with her, when her state of mind may be exactly what she needs to do to survive.

        I was listening to a talk today with Dr. Terry Lynch (James Moore “Let’s Talk Withdrawal”) and he was describing what needs to change with medical treatment in psychiatry. It was this: Too often we focus on what is wrong, and we never consider that this behaviour might be right and appropriate for what is happening to and around the distressed person.

        What is wrong – she’s hearing voices and the drugs are making her worse & gaining weight.

        What is normal and good – she’s escaping her traumatic situation & history into a place where she has company, people to talk to, interactions and support.

        In looking at what is normal and good, allowing it to happen and learning from it – (and only she can do this; you can support her, you can help) – then she can heal and choose her mental and emotional states with more clarity.

        The more you read, hopefully the less you will need to use words like “schizophrenia” and “psychosis” and can more focus on content, experience, emotions, and descriptive words.

        Oh YEAH – I saw another great talk on TED, about how group drumming improves coherence in mental health. These ladies took their drums to nursing homes, and she said it gave them the power to express the unexpressable. That’s a great tool for recovery!

        Dr. Terry Lynch offers courses and support for people in distress (looks like he focuses more on depression, anxiety & bipolar – but the things he said can apply to extreme states like “psychosis” as well)

        Another great resource:

        I hope to see you over at (don’t be fooled by the name, we support all kinds of psych drug withdrawal).

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  27. Hi JanCarol, I read through your reply because I am also so much feeling for Mike and his mother. I really like how you engage and help, I just want to give my impression as well. Interestingly, to me the “I asked her wouldn’t it be great if she would stop hearing the voices and become thin again ? ” felt exactly the right thing to do because to me it felt not like pressure but like some sort of help by giving her a goal (he wrote it like a question, not something he forced on her). To me it was helpful while experiencing psychosis that I also was challenged from time to time and not constantly sheltered.

    I think the best Mike can do is follow his gut instincts which the way he presents himself and because he still is so young (and sorry Mike, if I talk about you in third person by the way) might function quite well and lead the way. Mike, whenever you feel some sort of excitement that’s normally a good thing pointing to the right direction. Just understand, that nobody knows how long this situation will take and where your mother is heading. Don’t let yourself become too disappointed if there is no immediate improvement or if the situation improves and then worsens again. This is a natural process with ups and downs and despite its difficulties it can be a great learning experience for you and something that makes you bond with your mother in an even deeper way. Because of your youth just try at times to calm down and understand that illness and that what we call ‘negative’ things are part of our life and that what seems to be something bad can turn out to be something beautifull but also the other way round.

    Regarding ‘paranormal’ thought, I very much know what JanCarol talks about, strange things can happen while in the state of psychosis. I had visions of a certain kind in one of my episodes and when they had already subsided two days afterwards and I was in hospital another patient came to me and described to me exactly the things I had envisioned before. I never talked about it and there was no way she could know because I had just arrived at the hospital about an hour ago. In my experience the best you can do is to listen to her but and believe her but keep your rational mind as well. There is a physical practical explanation for everything, merely science isn’t as far advanced as to can deliver it yet. Therefore, we can only use the sort of ‘spiritual’ or ‘paranormal’ language at this point in time. Psychosis seems to open up human perception to a hightened awareness because several (sensible and useful) limitations break down. That makes it being a very overwhelming experience which naturally leads to a confused state because there is so much input. I remembered it felt like the sun would be way too bright, if you get the analogy. Thus it might make sense if you envision some sort of shielding field around her, like an umbrella against too much sunshine. Again, I cannot explain to you why, but consciousness and awareness is still so little understood and like with praying human focused thought can make some difference especially in such a situation.

    The voices asking for money I personally find somehow amusing although it terrifies your mother. See, that’s where you can of great help to her. Do not be tempted to connect with her too much because remember, you are her anchor. Try to de-escalate situations that scare her, see it with very grounded and basic humour. These voices are asking for millions, so maybe you just practically start to ask them what they need the money for and why they expect to get it from your mother. And then, according to the feeling you get, you either sternly tell them to leave your mother alone or if they feel friendly you could maybe bargain them down to some cents and like in a ritual put them somewhere, like burry them in the garden or throw them into a river or lake. Keep a grounded centered nothing can shake you attitude because as you understood yourself there is no real threat to your family, its all just in the current perception of your mother. The root causes are something real, some real pain and hurtful things that your mother has felt at some point in her life and for some reason she is now processing them in this way.

    Regarding the way she describes the voices, well I experienced it the same way, it was my voice but it felt like I had a chat with various people or entities. It’s very wise of you not to freak out because it’s nothing to be scared of just because we still don’t understand what exactly is happening. But from my experience I was quite happy when my awareness restrictions were up and functioning again because it’s so very nice to have your privacy back in your own mind. Compared to the painfully bright sunlight it was like getting your shades back on, very relaxing. And the way you decribed your mother as an extremely intelligent and sensitive woman, she very much would need the privacy in her mind. That’s why I emphasize the shielding and the anchoring.

    Maybe it calms you down to know that this is a very individual journey and there is no truly “right” way, also regarding food and vitamins and medicine. You have to very much rely on your feeling and your heart while carefully observing and listening to your mother – which as far as I can tell from what you write you are already doing a fine job of. Whenever you feel strong feelings like something moves you to tears or makes you laugh or feeling exciting, this is a good sign, it means you are processing something. For the other part I think JanCarol offers you very good help.

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  28. Hi, I haven’t taken meds for four months and wanted to get back to taking niacin therapy. I only have short periods of symptoms with none in between and was on a low dose of medication. I was thinking of going back to a low dose of medication, but I was thinking that it might make the niacin less effective. I’m thinking that because niacin helps with detox, it might not help to be adding meditations. I was just wondering if anyone knows from experience if it is more helpful to try niacin without the medications. Thanks, I would appreciate any help.

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  29. start niacin very gradually – build up from mini-doses – cut the 100 mg tablets into quarters. Cut dairy, sugar and grains from your diet. Stay hydrated. Magnesium is important – try citrate or orotate. Read Carolyn Dean MD ND about stress, depression, etc and the role of magnesium.

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  30. Thank you so much for sharing your story! It is very inspirational & gives hope to so many. I have been researching what helps people recover so I can better assist my sister when she gets out of the hospital. Reading thru many of the comments it seems everyone is focusing on the niacin….but to me it seems your recovery journey started long before then.
    You believed you could get better, you choose to pursue your dreams despite the struggles you were going thru. You took responsibility for your health, with the yoga, meditation, martial arts, diet. And you got to know yourself & when you needed help. I feel this was the beginning of your recovery, and it was not linear there were ups & downs but you continued on despite your challenges. After being kicked out of the therapy program you decided you would not let this define you…these are very key details of your recovery story. This belief in your self & your resolve to get back up and try again led you to the niacin treatment. You already believed in yourself & the caring attention of a doctor that also believed in your recovery can help more than the treatment itself. I believe that this belief that you would recover was they key to making the treatment work. I am wondering if you had supportive friends, family & counselors that also believed in your ability to recover? Often times I see clinicians & family are very scared to let their loved one attempt to pursue real recovery out of the fear of relapse.
    I do truly believe that supporting the health of the body with high vitamin doses can certainly help propel the body’s ability to heal but one’s belief & daily rituals and habits (esp habitual worries & fears & thiking recovery impossible) can greatly undermine the effectiveness of the vitamins. The body can naturally heal when at a state of calm & peace but not when in a state of fear & panic.
    Again, thank you so much for sharing your story in such an inspiring way.

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  31. Hi Sara just want to say what an inspiring story and congratulations on surviving!

    I’ve had a lifetime of mental symptoms too that started as childhood ocd/depression symptoms and ended up as schizoaffective bipolar! I didn’t get the label till 8 or so years ago when I was 38 years old.

    I found out that I was better off off medication than on it. I still get signs of “illness” like voices but they’re in the background now and mostly don’t bother me.

    In the end I realized the pills weren’t helping my depression and they weren’t helping me become any more motivated or focused. They weren’t helping me with self-care they weren’t helping me put my life together they weren’t helping me undo the damage of years of unhappiness and confusion…

    BTW you mention that in the 70s ADHD and autism didn’t exist. They did but they weren’t talked about anything like as much as today.

    ADHD was a lot rarer back then and they used to call it hyperkinesis. I’ve had attention and focusing problems for years but in my case they said it was to do with my mood problems and not ADHD.

    Autism was fairly well known but they didn’t talk about an autistic spectrum back then. At one point my mum says she thought I was autistic. I wasn’t but I did have problems like hair pulling and then hand washing and depression.

    I hope one day that I can be cured and recovered too. Thanks for posting your inspiring story 🙂

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  32. I got out of Wisconsin 30 years ago to the land of fruit and nuts, California. They didn’t kick me out of my grad program for being schizoaffective, but they asked me if I wanted to leave the PhD program in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Southern California with a MS and I said yes. One incident there I was 5150’ed when I was at the gym. I was appropriately naked in the locker room but inappropriately in a Muslim prayer-like position, head on the floor in a fetal position in some emotional turmoil about I forget what. A nearby fellow asked me if I was OK, and I, again, inappropriately, said no. That was enough to get me in the 72 hour lock down.

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