A Beautiful Mind: Understanding Schizophrenia and Its Impact on the Individual and the Family

The film A Beautiful Mind is a film revealing the life of outstanding mathematician and Noble Prize winner John Nash.

The movie starts with early years of the scientist when the first signs of paranoid schizophrenia were revealed. Despite incredible skills and abilities, his psychological disorders somehow contribute to his perception of the reality. Moreover, Nash learned to define which of his experiences were paranoia and hallucinations and which ones were his real perceptions. In the movie, the hero seems to have an ability to control his illusions and choose the one that help him solve mathematical problems.

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With regard to this assumption, schizophrenia may suddenly develop and can influence greatly career, family, and communication within social medium. For instance, John Nash can see mysterious people resembling undercover agents whom others cannot see. He believes that he is chased by those agents, which is in fact is false.

The emerged confusions and misconceptions lead to conflict and disagreement with real people. The psychological disorder presented in the movie refer to one of the most common of schizophrenia – paranoia. It is characterized by the emerging hallucinations accompanying delusions that often have grandeur character.

Specifically, there is an assumption that “…stressful life experiences and a combination of biological factors, including heredity, biochemical imbalances, and structural abnormalities in the brain, contribute to its development” (Nevid, 2008, p. 546). Hence, scholars are inclined to believe the genes influence the development of the disorder and, therefore, they point out a person’s propensity for schizophrenia. However, heredity cannot serve as a sufficient explanation for causes of the disease. In other words, genetic vulnerability does not imply a 100 % possibility of the disorder occurrence. Additionally, there is an argument that the development of schizophrenia can be caused by biochemical imbalances in the brain (Nevid, 2008, p.

547). Brain abnormalities are proved to be associated with the disease and, therefore, they may influence the reinforcement of deviated behavior. Finally, biological influences and psychological pressure occurred in the early childhood could also be a reason for the appearance of brain trauma. Judging from the above-presented assumptions, the movie proves that that John Nash initially presents himself as a strangely behaved person revealed through specific way of thinking and expressing ideas. His approach to mental thinking and ability to imagine is slightly explained by his psychological disorders. There is another concept that is worth introducing to understand the underpinnings of the schizophrenia occurrence. Specifically, Nevid (2008) provides evidence revealing that both environmental and biological connection contribute to the reinforcement of antisocial personality disorder. Lack of and inconsistence in outlooks on moral values explains certain situations in the movie.

Hence, the story reveals that John Nash is estranged from other people because of extreme engagement with his mathematical equations. His entire world seems to be composed of figures, equations, and schemes. Currently, little evidence is found concerning the relation between psychological influences and the detected disease. (A Beautiful Mind, 2001) However, the film shows that stress life can play a significant role in shaping the patients’ attitude to the social setting. Absence of social communication skills is explicit when it comes to the way the character interacts with other people, including his colleagues, friends, and his wife.

In this respect, signs of deviate behavior lead to the conclusion that John Nash has certain psychological disorders. Finally, abnormal behavior can also be grounded on the interaction of specific biological and psychological factors. In particular, deviant behavior can be caused by biological influences, such as neurotransmitter functioning, or brain abnormalities. Interaction of biological and socio-cultural factors contributes greatly to shaping the patterns of abnormal behavior. The movie shows that Nash worked for Pentagon to decipher secret messages, which, probably, amplified the scientist’s perception of the responsibility he undertook (A Beautiful Mind, 2001).

With regard to this situation, bio-psychological model explains a particular predisposition that increases the probability of developing a specific disorder. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as diathesis caused by particular sources of stress. In conclusion, schizophrenia can be caused by a complex of psychological, social, and biological factors that should be carefully considered because a particular kind of treatment is implemented.

Currently, there is no a unanimous opinion and evidence concerning the effectiveness of different therapies. The disorder, however, is still subjected to experimental treatments by means of medications and psychotherapy. Because the movie reveals a real story, it can be stated that patient John Nash has not been fully recovered from auditory hallucinations, but he is able to distinguish between the reality and illusions. Known methods of treatment involve psychological treatment along with biological therapy, as presented in the movie. As a result, the patient recognizes that he has a certain disorder, which is great advancement, but he still suffers from illusions and paranoia. In whole, anti-psychotic medications are ineffective if they are not psychologically and socially supported. In my opinion, a movie reveals a true story proving that people with schizophrenia can have the right to normal existence and that their mind can function effectively even if they suffer from hallucinations.

Works Cited

A Beautiful Mind. Dir. Ron Howard. Perf. Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, and Paul Bettany. Imagine Entertainment, 2001. Film. Nevid, Jeffrey S.

Psychology: Concept and Applications. US: Cengage Learning, 2008, Print.


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