A Beautiful Mind is a beautiful and enlightening depiction of a terrible and mind boggling journey of a struggling schizophrenic genius. This movie, first aired in 2001, takes the viewer through the experience of John Nash, a mathematical genius whom developed schizophrenia in his early adulthood. Personally, I believed this movie was both terrifying and incredibly mind opening. To read about a schizophrenic patient is one thing, but to view how they cope with everyday situations, and how their family’s deal with their adapted lifestyle is an entirely different view. Of course hearing about schizophrenic episodes can be terrifying for anyone, but physically viewing this depiction of the difficult journey this serious psychological disorder can throw you down is an enlightening experience. Hollywood’s take on his journey was, of course, modified to adapt to socially acceptable standards, but dug deep to the core of how schizophrenia tears you apart from the inside.
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In my opinion, the treatment used on John Nash was highly extreme, yet suitable for the conditions he was under at the time. John Nash underwent electric shock therapy. In this type of treatment, he was electrocuted in order to reduce his psychological symptoms. Personally I believe this was a short-term temporary fix. At the time the treatment was in progress, this was the most effective treatment to temporarily reduce episodes of schizophrenic action. Medication had not been certified to work quite yet, and when the episodes became physically harmful, an extreme procedure needed to take place in order to halt the self-harm.
John Nash, was a paranoid schizophrenic. Paranoid Schizophrenics always believe they, as well as their family members, are under some sort of attack. These type of schizophrenic patients deal with false conspiracies made up in their head. Usually, those experiencing this type of the disease also deal with vivid hallucinations. These hallucinations can either be auditory or visual. John Nash, for example, experienced both visual hallucinations with his roommate, boss, and roommate’s niece, as well as auditory hallucinations such as the three figures of his imaginations telling him what to do, where to go, and who to listen to. Those experiencing this type of schizophrenia tend to hold the most capability to function with everyday life.
Disorganized schizophrenia is another type of this serious psychological disease. This disease, also called hebephrenia, displays the most difficult type of schizophrenia when it comes to dealing with everyday situations. Incoherency in thought and speech is completely common, as well as delusions or hallucinations. Those experiencing disorganized schizophrenia seem emotionless or show emotions that can be looked upon as inappropriate in the specific situation in which they are displayed. Personal hygiene maintenance can also be a deteriorating common result of this specific type of schizophrenia.
Catatonic Schizophrenia, a third type is a very physical type of Schizophrenia. Individual’s with this type usually exert one of the following: Catatonic excitement, which is hyperactivity, or catatonic stupor. Catatonic schizophrenics can hold the same body position for an extended period of time regardless of the negative effect it has on their body. These body positions can often cause great pain to those holding them, and can lead to swelling and harmful long-term effects.
The final, and least heard of type of Schizophrenia is Undifferentiated. Undifferentiated Schizophrenics exert symptoms of schizophrenia that does not necessarily fall into one of the other three subtypes, causing it to be, well, undifferentiated. Although a patient with this type of the disease may experience both positive and negative symptoms, as any other Schizophrenic would, their episodes may fluctuate more over a period of time. This type of Schizophrenia is extremely difficult to diagnose because before concluding this subtype, all other brain diseases and mood disorders must be proved completely absent. After concluding a patient does indeed have Schizophrenia, tests for specific subtypes will be performed. If a clear result cannot be named from those tests the patient will then be named undifferentiated.
The effects of living with schizophrenia can be excruciating on both the patient suffering, and their family. Being the patient is extremely difficult, being completely ignorant of the real world, obeying mere figments of the imagination, and believing they are the correct voice to follow must be extremely difficult to deal with. Effects can be physical on the patient. Physical effects could be self-harm, whether the patient believes they did it, or the figure made up in their head, as well as mental obviously by imagining figures and people that are not there whatsoever. Although effects are difficult on the patient, I truly believe it is far more exhausting and frustrating on the family members of the patient. When you are the patient, there is no knowledge of whether what you see or talk to is actually there. As a family member, you have to sit back and watch your loved one talk to thin air, knowing that there is nothing you can do help them except tell them they are being foolish and hope they do not lash back out of frustration.
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If almost everyone and everything I knew to be true never really existed, I feel as though my life would not have changed, but my agitation would have dramatically increased. My life would not have changed because I would not have been able to tell the difference. Maybe just as John Nash did, I may have been able to eventually notice the fact that the people never age, the scenery never changed, but to me it would all be completely normal leaving me oblivious to the fact that everything I believed in was fake. I believe my agitation would have increased because those that were in fact real would point out my flaws, point out reality from my world of imagination, and due to me not being capable to understand what they are trying to relay to me, I would become instantly frustrated.
I personally, as hard as it is to say, do not think I could live with a person who has schizophrenia. Losing complete touch with reality is extremely difficult for the patient, but harder on those that have to observe it. Loving someone before they develop the disorder and seeing the way they dramatically digress over time can be exhausting and frustrating, not to mention scary as you watch everything you knew in a person slowly disappear. Although there are episodes of a sense of normal behavior, the episodes of abnormal behavior outnumber them. I would not want to live in the constant fear of worrying about the safety of my family, my self, or my loved one.
I believe society treats people with mental disorders as freaks of nature, prisoners to the world. Rather than being as normal as possible, or looking to accommodate to the sufferer’s reality, society has morphed all mental disorders into one big lump and treats every patient, regardless of their disorder, with the same attitude and actions. Talking slower, acting as if they are incognizant of being a human being, members of today’s society have torn apart the pride of those with disorders as if they are helping them.
This behavior, in my opinion, is justifiable. As much as I do not personally agree with the treatment those suffering from a psychological disorder receive, I do believe it can be justified due to the lack of knowledge with each individual disease and person. What are the chances that someone can come across a person on the street and know exactly what they are suffering from, if they suffer at all, just by the look of them? Unless you hold a conversation with the individual, most times a disorder cannot be clearly pinpointed. Therefore, members of today’s society have developed one general behavior because they are ignorant of what they are coming across. The lack of knowledge regarding psychological disorders and the effect they have on the body causes average human beings to simply treat every individual equally once believing they are different than themselves.
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