Alternatives to antipsychotics 

If you don’t want to take antipsychotics, there are several alternative treatments you can try. You  may find it’s possible to manage your symptoms, or to make a full recovery, without medication. 

If you are taking antipsychotics, you may also want to use other options to support your mental  health, as well as your medication. 

This page has information on some of the common alternatives to antipsychotics. You may find these helpful to use instead of your medication, or alongside it: 

  • Talking therapies 
  • Arts and creative therapies 
  • Ecotherapy 
  • Complementary and alternative therapies 
  • Peer support 
  • Look after your physical health 

“In conjunction with antipsychotics, I have found that distraction techniques are a great way of  dealing with troubling thoughts and voices in my mind. Anything and everything that is a distraction  is ever so helpful for me, from painting my nails to baking a cake, from watching a DVD to colouring.” 

Talking therapies 

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that, for many mental health problems, you should be offered other kinds of treatments alongside or instead of medication. 

This often includes being offered a type of talking therapy or counselling, such as:

  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) 
  • dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) 

Arts and creative therapies 

Arts and creative therapies help you to express your feelings through things like painting, clay work, music or drama therapy. They can help you deal with your symptoms, especially if you find it difficult to talk about how you’re feeling. 


Ecotherapy is a type of therapeutic treatment which involves doing outdoor activities in nature. This may include working on a conservation project or gardening. Or you may walk or cycle through areas of nature. 

Complementary and alternative therapies 

Some people find that complementary and alternative therapies help to manage their  symptoms. For example, this may be aromatherapy, reflexology or acupuncture. Complementary therapies may also help manage some of the side effects of medication, if you decide to continue with it. 

Some herbal remedies can interact with antipsychotics and other types of medication. If you are thinking about taking a herbal remedy alongside any medication, speak to your doctor, psychiatrist or pharmacist about whether this is safe. 

Peer support 

Peer support allows you to communicate with people who have similar experiences to yours. If you’d like to try peer support, you could: 

“[What helps me is] running, healthy diet and Pilates. I also have friends and a support group that I trust.” 

Look after your physical health 

  • Think about what you eat and drink. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet may help to  manage some of your symptoms. Drinking plenty of water can also help your mental  wellbeing. See our pages on food and mood for more information. If you have a difficult  relationship with food and eating, our pages on eating problems may help. 
  • Try to be more active. Many people find regular physical activity helps to lift their mood, boost their energy levels and keep them grounded in reality. See our pages on physical activity and your mental health for more information. 
  • Try to get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep can sometimes feel difficult. But having a good amount of quality sleep is very helpful for your mental health. See our pages on sleep problems for more information.
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