A Beautiful Mind And The Illustration Of Schizophrenia

1889 words - 8 pages

Schizophrenia is a disease that plagues many individuals today and though medications can help alleviate the symptoms there is no known cure for the illness. There are a multitude of representations of schizophrenia in the media. This paper will focus on A Beautiful Mind; a film that focuses on John Forbes Nash Jr. Nash was a mentally gifted individual. He attended Princeton and his mathematical work has changed society greatly. In the movie, Russell Crowe played John Nash in A Beautiful Mind. Throughout the movie Crowe did an amazing job depicting the multiple symptoms of schizophrenia. Within this paper I will focus on the positive symptoms, negative symptoms, positive hallucinations, effects of medication, and the time frame of the illness represented in the film.
The film shows many positive symptoms of schizophrenia such as delusions of grandeur, delusions of influence, and persecutory delusions. Positive symptoms of schizophrenia are symptoms that are present in an individual due to the illness. In the movie Nash hallucinates an individual named William Parcher, played by Ed Harris. Parcher works for the United States Department of Defense. He enlists Nash’s help in breaking a Russian code in order to find a portable atomic bomb. The entire situation of the portable atomic bomb is a figment of Nash’s mind. This specific figment falls into the category of delusions of grandeur. The delusion of grandeur entails that an individual begins to think more highly of themselves, and believes that they are more important than other individuals in society. Nash believes that he is the most gifted mathematician, and he is the only individual who can break the Russian codes which are hidden in common day written media. During a multitude of interactions Parcher encourages Nash’s ideation of grandeur. Nash uses this delusion to finally acquire the recognition he has been striving for. Nash also suffers from persecutory delusions. Persecutory delusions occur when an individual believes they are being pursued by another party. For example Nash constantly sees men in black suits following him. Nash is constantly worried that he is begin watched by the enemy. He assumes these men are Russian spies who are trying to kill him before he cracks their code. After being hospitalized for his illness he constantly accuses his psychiatrist, Dr. Rosen, of being a Russian spy who is trying to trick Nash in order to discover his secrets. When Nash’s wife, Alicia, first comes to visit him in the hospital he tells her that he will share all his secrets with her, but they must remain quiet. He tells her “We just have to talk quietly. They may be listening. There may be microphones” (1:15). Nash has a constant distrust of the individuals around him and constantly thinks people are out to get him.
Nash suffers from negative symptoms along with his positive symptoms. Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are elements that a schizophrenic person does not possess but a...

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