A Beautiful Mind, a film about psychosis

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In terms of schizophrenia, what did you find most informative, disturbing, surprising, etc., from the film? Before and after watching the movie, share your thoughts and observations on schizophrenia.
The film’s most surprising aspect was seeing John Nash struggle with schizophrenia but still managing to do amazing things and live reasonably everyday life. It also goes to show how deeply mental disorders are stigmatized. I had no idea how closed-minded I was about anything I barely comprehended. I used to think that having schizophrenia meant having multiple personalities or having trouble managing himself in daily social situations. John Nash showed me it is so much more complex than that. Psychology defines schizophrenia as “a serious mental illness characterized by incoherent or illogical thoughts, bizarre behavior and speech, and delusions or hallucinations such as hearing voices.” (Kazdin, 2000) More importantly, John Nash’s life was proof that with the right support, it was possible to overcome. This was a particularly feat especially consider that there is increased mortality in people with schizophrenia, with suicide being one of the major causes. (Newman, 1991)

Was John Nash an unusual case, or do you think that many schizophrenics are able to cope in daily life?

John Nash seemed to be an unusual case. Most people with schizophrenia either die by deranged medical causes or due to suicide. (Newman, 1991) Biological relapse along with psychological relapse make it difficult to overcome the social anxiety and self-stigma that severe illnesses like schizophrenia. (Broham, et al, 2010)

How do you feel schizoprenics are able to cope in daily life? How does the diagnosis impact the individual and their family?

Contrary to popular belief, a diagnosis of schizophrenia is not the end of the world. Many people live well and cope with their illnesses. Repetition and familiarity are crucial in the successful performance of even the most tedious tasks. (Aubin, et all, 2009) We see this as John eases more and more as he spends the years go by in the comfort of his beloved alma mater.

His diagnosis had a huge impact on his family. It directly affected his wife and severely dampened his paternal instincts while it indirectly affected his son, especially when he left him in the tub with his imaginary friends. The “flat affect” core symptom of schizophrenia is largely due to misunderstandings and ignorance. This tends to cause turmoil in the family. John Nash struggled with it initially but with the guidance of his therapist, his wife, and his children, one can overcome anything.

References

Aubin, G., Stip W., Gelinas, I., Ranville, C., & Chapparon. (2009). Daily activities, cognition, and community functioning in persons with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia research. 107 (2), 313-318.

Capps, D. (2004). John Nash’s delusional decade: a case of paranoid schizophrenia. Pastoral Pscyhology 52 (3), 1930-218.

Gazdin, A. E. (2000). Encyclopedia of psychology, Vol 6. New York: American Psychological Association.

Myin – Germeys, I., Delespaul, P.A., & deVerie, M.W. (2000). Schizophrenia patients are also more emotionally active than is assumed based on their behavior. Schizophrenia bulletin, 26 (4), 847.

Newman, S.C. & Bland, R.C. (1991). Mortality in a cohort of patients with schizophrenia: a record linkage study. The Canadian Journal of Pschiatry/La Revue canadiennen de psychiatrae.

Rosenstock, J. (2003). Beyond a beautiful mind: film choices for teaching schizophrenia. Academic Psychiatry 27 (2), 117-122.

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