Orthomolecular Psychiatry in Theory and Practice
by Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD Drug Therapy, Aug. 1977
Orthomolecular psychiatry, on the other hand, emphasizes a system of treatment, not any one drug or chemical. The schizophrenic is given optimal amounts of materials that are necessary for good nutrition and optimal functioning - vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids. The orthomolecular program requires full patient participation in changing lifestyle and discontinuing faulty eating habits. Thus, sound principles of good nutrition are inherent in the program, and they include adhering to a diet that provides high nutritional value for the individual and avoiding foods to which one is allergic. In many cases, megadoses of the essential factors are required, and patients are eventually maintained in a normal state by nutritional therapy alone. Such patients relapse much less frequently than those maintained on drugs alone.
Orthomolecular Treatment -- In Theory
The propositions basic to orthomolecular psychiatry are as follows:
Orthomolecular Treatment -- In Practice
In nature, food does not exist as the proteins, amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals described by chemists. Food is a complex of living material. When digested, the basic nutritional components in food are released. The most nutritionally valuable foods are the least processed ones. Unfortunately, 80% of the food consumed today is processed. "Nonfoods" have been stripped of all essential nutrients. To be metabolized, they must "steal" accessory nutrients - proteins, fat, vitamins, and minerals -from other foods. That is why substances containing "empty calories" are so injurious to the quality of any diet to which they are added.
The second rule is: Avoid foods to which one is allergic. This includes avoiding foods of which one is inordinately fond (craving may be fueled by allergy) or from which one obviously becomes sick.
The third rule is designed to minimize allergic reactions: Eat as wide a variety of foods as possible and do not depend heavily on a few.
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