Psychology Movie Essay

967 words - 4 pages

In the movie The Soloist, directed by Joe Wright, a Los Angeles Times writer, Robert Lopez, meets Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a homeless schizophrenic. Later, he finds out that Nathaniel once attended Juilliard but dropped out during his second year. Being curious as to how someone like Nathaniel ended up on the streets, Robert does his research and writes a column about Nathaniel for the L.A. Times. In the beginning it is evident that the main character, Nathaniel Ayers, is suffering from a mental illness by the way he hears voices and talks with such disorganized speech.

Compared to most films depicting a mental illness, The Soloist was quite accurate. Some of the symptoms of schizophrenia include but are not limited to; social withdrawal, loss of appetite, loss of hygiene, delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, hearing voices, suspiciousness, and difficulty remembering simple tasks or processing information. When first meeting Nathaniel, the newspaper writer is a little intrigued. Nathaniel talks quietly to himself in a very disorganized manner and jumps from subject to subject with no transition what-so-ever. Later on in the film the audience can hear clips of the voices he hears inside his head. Most of which come from his childhood memories and younger years when he lived with his sister.

After watching the movie I diagnosed Nathaniel with schizophrenia. Nathaniel exhibits many of the symptoms including delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, social withdrawal, and due to being homeless, a lack of hygiene. One major difficulty in diagnosing people with schizophrenia is that most individuals don’t believe they have it. The first signs of developing schizophrenia can be as small and simple as a change in friends or a drop in grades. In Nathaniel’s case, his symptoms began during his time at Juilliard. It started with him receiving lower grades, having disorganized speech and appearance, and a social withdrawal.

Approximately 1.1% of the population over the age of 18 or as many as 51 million people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia. Approximately 200,000 individuals with schizophrenia are homeless, making up one third of the approximately 600,000 homeless population. Schizophrenia affects men and women both equally, however, men begin to experience symptoms before women. Hallucinations and delusions usually start between ages 16 and 30. It is very rare for people to develop symptoms of schizophrenia after the age of 45.

Because the causes of schizophrenia are still unknown, treatments focus on eliminating the symptoms of the disease. Antipsychotic medications for treating the symptoms of schizophrenia have been available since the mid-1950's. The most commonly used medications are Chlorpromazine (Thorazine), Haloperidol (Haldol), Perphenazine (Etrafon, Trilafon), Fluphenazine (Prolixin). In the 1990's, new antipsychotic medications were developed. These new medications are called second generation...

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