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A Beautiful Mind (schizophrenia)

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A Beautiful Mind (Schizophrenia)

In this essay I will discuss the mental disorder Schizophrenia and the ways in which John Forbes Nash the main character in the movie A Beautiful Mind dealt with it. I will also define the mental disorder; discuss the symptoms, the causes, the treatments, the relationship between violence and individuals who are diagnosed with Schizophrenia, the general public’s reaction towards people with Schizophrenia, and the ways in which people with Schizophrenia can help the general public and themselves in coping with this particular mental disorder and possibly other mental disorders.

Firstly, according to Coconcea (2005) “Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling mental illness” ( 1). According to American Psychiatric Association (2005) “Schizophrenia is a disorder that lasts for at least 6 months and includes at least 1 month of active-phase symptoms of the following: delusion, hallucination, disorganized or catatonic behavior, negative symptoms” (pg 298).

In addition, according to American Psychiatric Association (2005) “The symptoms for Schizophrenia include delusions, hallucination, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, and negative symptoms” (pg 312). In the movie A Beautiful Mind, the main character John Forbes Nash exhibited all of the above symptoms. He often engaged in conversations with his imagined friend and roommate, Charles Herman. John Nash also stated that William Archer an imagined government agent assigned him to do work as a spy for the government and deliver the secret assignments at nights. However John Nash’s wife, Alicia Larde-Nash realized that her husband was hallucinating and helped him to realize that Charles Herman, William Archer, and Marcy were all fragments of his imagination.

Furthermore, according to American Psychiatric Association (2005) “Social or occupational dysfunction is a criteria for Schizophrenia” (pg 312). John Nash illustrated that he was no longer capable of functioning at work because he was continuously engaging in the imagined government assignments instead of attending class on a regular basis. He was also unable to function socially, he socially withdrew himself from his friends and he was no longer capable to care for his baby especially the scene in which he was out of touch with reality that he left the baby unattended in the tub. John Nash was also experiencing problems with his wife as a result of his inability to engage in sexual activities and his wife’s inability to clearly comprehend the gruesome effects of Schizophrenia. People who have Schizophrenia vary widely in their behavior as they struggle with a mental disorder which is beyond their control. Some may ramble in illogical sentences or react with uncontrolled anger. John Nash exhibited this symptom especially when he was in the presence of others who were not aware of his mental disorder.

Additionally, according to Coconcea (2005) “Schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency. More than 2 million Americans suffer from Schizophrenia at any given time and 100,000-200,000 people are newly diagnosed every year. Schizophrenia is usually diagnosed in people aged 17-35 years” ( 4). According to Fredrickson, Hoeksema, Loftus, and Smith (2003) “The illness appears earlier in men (in the late teens or early twenties) than in women (who are affected in the twenties to early thirties)” (pg 555). They may not be able to hold down jobs or even perform tasks as simple as maintaining conversation as John Nash exhibited in the movie A Beautiful Mind.

Moreover, according to Coconcea (2005) “The causes of Schizophrenia are not known. However, an interplay of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors are thought to be involved” ( 6). Schizophrenia is known to run in families. The risk of the mental disorder in an identical twin with Schizophrenia is higher than the general population. According to Coconcea (2005) “Recent studies have identified subtle changes in brain structure and function, indicating that at least in part, Schizophrenia could be a disorder of the development of the brain” ( 6).

Additionally, John Nash was given Insulin Shock Therapy which is also known as Insulin Coma Therapy at the psychiatric hospital that he was admitted to. He received this form of treatment five times a week for ten weeks. Large doses of insulin were administered which would reduce the blood sugar and brought on a seizure-like state and then a comatose state that John Nash experienced whenever this form of treatment was done. The Insulin Shock Therapy is still done however there are critics who state that this form of treatment is cruel and inhumane but there has not been a termination of this treatment in spite of the criticisms.

Furthermore, over the years more treatments have been formed in order to treat Schizophrenia. According to Wikipedia Foundation Inc (2007) “The first line pharmacological therapy for Schizophrenia is usually antipsychotic medications” (pg 1). According to Wikipedia Foundation Inc (2007) “Antipsychotic drugs are thought to mainly provide relief from the positive symptoms and psychosis” (pg 1). Nash received antipsychotic drugs when he was released from the hospital. Some examples of the psychotic drugs that are being used now to treat Schizophrenia are Thorazine, Clozaril, and Trilafon.

However, some other forms of treatment include self care at home with the supervision of family members and psychosocial treatments; these include individual psychotherapy, rehabilitation, family education (learning more about the mental disorders), and self help groups. In the movie A Beautiful Mind, John Nash had the support of his wife, Alicia Nash who was very instrumental in his recovery. The support of loved ones is very vital for people with Schizophrenia in order for them to not face the challenges that they will encounter alone.

Additionally, according to Wikipedia Foundation Inc (2007) “Violent acts by individuals with a diagnosis of Schizophrenia and the public fear of such acts, are contentious topics.



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