Schizophrenia symptoms are significantly lower with aerobic exercise, according to study findings. The researchers combined data from 10 independent clinical trials with a total of 385 schizophrenia patients. The researchers found that just 12 weeks of aerobic exercise is enough to improve symptoms in schizophrenia patients.
Schizophrenia patients may experience memory problems, impaired information processing, and loss of concentration.
Those patients treated with aerobic exercise along with their medications saw improvements in overall brain functioning, compared to patients who were only treated with medications.
Researcher Joseph Firth explained, “Cognitive deficits are one aspect of schizophrenia which is particularly problematic. They hinder recovery and impact negatively upon people’s ability to function in work and social situations. Furthermore, current medications for schizophrenia do not treat the cognitive deficits of the disorder. We are searching for new ways to treat these aspects of the illness, and now research is increasingly suggesting that physical exercise can provide a solution.”
Firth concluded, “These findings present the first large-scale evidence supporting the use of physical exercise to treat the neurocognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia. Using exercise from the earliest stages of the illness could reduce the likelihood of long-term disability, and facilitate full, functional recovery for patients.”
Coping with schizophrenia
Spotting the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia can help start the treatment sooner. With proper therapy, schizophrenia patients can live a normal life. Even though there is no cure, symptoms can be well managed. Medications are often prescribed to relieve hallucinations and delusions. Antipsychotics, in particular, can help with any chemical imbalances in the brain.
There are non-drug treatments, too, like seeking out therapy, either one-on-one or group-based. Different types of therapy to treat schizophrenia include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Self-help groups
- Family therapy
- Integrated substance abuse treatment
By integrating a combination of medical and non-medical treatments, a person with schizophrenia can very well live a normal life.