Posted: June 25th, 2021

Schizophrenia & Paranoid Personality Disorder “a Beautiful Mind”

“A Beautiful Mind,” which is based on the novel by Sylvia Nasar, is the story about the mathematic genius called John Nash. He enters Princeton University in the 1940s to start his studies in the fields of calculus and mathematical theory. He is very much an outsider, who does not much hang out with his colleague mates but only with his kind and outgoing roommate called Charles and his little nephew. Later on, John turns out to be a teacher at M. I. T and meets one of his students called Alicia, who is very smart, lovely and performs an important role as John’s wife.
They get married with blessings of their friends; however, their happiness does not last long because later on, John is diagnosed as psychological disorder called schizophrenia. After this symptom has been diagnosed, Alicia figures out that John’s old friend, Charles and his nephew, never existed but only in John’s imagination. Also she finds out him working as a national security in nowhere, which does not even exist as well. For, she makes a hard decision to send John to the mental hospital and this brings John, who still think everything happened so far is real, to disbelieve his wife. Read also Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Even though, the story seems flowing to the tragic way, the real beauty of this movie starts after these previous events, because John realizes he really is suffering form schizophrenia by recognizing that Charles little nephew never changes although time passed by. John never gets rid of his imaginary friends, but tries to ignore them and overcome his symptoms. This was possible because he had his loving family next to him. Later on, he keeps moving forward as a mathematician and receives the Nobel Prize by his work.

It is not publicly mentioned in this movie; however there are some psychological disorders that are introduced through out the movie that the main character, John Nash, suffers. Among those, the two major psychological disorders that one can obviously recognize are schizophrenia and paranoid personality disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the psychological disorder called schizophrenia is “a disruption in cognition and emotion, affecting the most fundamental human attributes: language, thought, perception, affect, and sense of self” (2000).
There are two symptoms in schizophrenia. One is hallucination, which means something one sees, feels, or hears that is not really there, and the other one is called delusion that means a false belief about something that one wish were true. The content of the movie, which leads the character to be diagnosed as this symptom is that the main character, John Nash, thinks that his imaginary friends and places really exists. For example, when he was taking a walk with his imaginary friend, Charles, someone suddenly attacked him and took him somewhere he has never been (actually, it is a mental hospital).
When he recovered his consciousness, he meets a strange guy, who is suppose to be a mental specialist but John thinks he’s a police. Talking with this strange guy for a few seconds, John finds out Charles sitting at the opposite side of him and thinks he (Charles) is the one who betrayed him and take him to the police. Later on, he finds his wife, Alicia as well and thinks that even she betrayed him. This leads the character to be diagnosed as a paranoid personality disorder. Being paranoid means extremely worried about something/someone because s/he believes that they cannot trust other people.
There are several symptoms of paranoid personality disorder. They suspects without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her and/or they are reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her (American Psychiatric Association). The example scene of the movie that relates to this disorder is, as it is mentioned above, John becomes reluctant to believe others because he thinks his friend and even his wife betrayed him.
Although later he figures out that he is mentally ill, he did suspect people when he did not know he was a schizophrenic. This movie portrayed the disorder realistically, because it is based on true story and real person. Even though the movie might be a little bit exaggerated, these kinds of symptom may occur when one person is really into a specific subject and loves too much about it that s/he cannot even help him/herself.

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