John Nash, who is the main character in the movie, suffers from schizophrenia. According to Myers (2007), schizophrenia is defined as a multiple personality disorder whereby an individual splits from reality by having a disorganized form of thinking, inappropriate emotions and very disturbing perceptions and actions. Paranoid schizophrenia, according to Myers (2007), is a mental disorder where one becomes lost in a world of their own and deluded, and in most cases, the person generally shows signs of grandiosity and certain cases of persecution. John Nash suffered from severe hallucinations and delusions which, when diagnosed later, showed signs and symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. In the beginning, Nash begins his career at Princeton University as a young graduate student in the field of mathematics, who portrays great brilliance in that field. Being a mathematician, John Nash is rude, socially incompetent and arrogant, and he spends most of his time trying to discover new formulas, which will change people’s lives. However, the irony with this scenario is that life does not expect to work out as we anticipate; rather life works out contrary to what people anticipate. All it takes is for one to let go and let life take its due course. This is evident half way through the movie as we discover Nash having illusions inside his ‘beautiful’ mind, and it is at this point that the main character is found to be suffering from schizophrenia. The first imaginary character that John Nash develops in his mind is Charles Herman, who was his roommate at Princeton and an English Literature student.
Social disadvantage in the past and in the modern times is the cause of alarm for mental illness (Morgan, Burns, Fitzpatrick, Pinfold & Priebe, 2013); this means that mental illness is intrinsically societal in all the forms it has been classified into. Over the past years, social exclusion has been an emerging factor and the major concept of discussion, especially with regards to its negative social and cultural impacts (Morgan et al. 2013) and has become common almost everywhere. People with long-term mental illnesses have become a subject of social exclusion rather than social inclusion. According to Nguyen (2003), the mentally ill in the society have received mixed response across all cultural backgrounds. In developing nations, the mentally ill become subject to mistreatment and severe shame by the community and, in the end, it inhibits the quest for psychiatric treatment. In terms of culture, most traditional backgrounds and beliefs acknowledge that mental illness is caused by one’s moral transgressions and therefore evoking shame and fear towards the mentally ill.
My response to the characters varied from one character to another. John Nash’s wife, Alicia, is a brilliant young woman who is a talented mathematician. In my opinion, she portrays the character of a caring wife and mother by standing beside Nash during the hard times and through all the difficulties he was undergoing. When she discovered that Nash was suffering from a mental illness, she dedicated herself to taking care of the husband and their newborn son despite the societal views concerning the mentally ill people and despite her husband’s hallucinations and delusions, and even the fact that Nash became upset for Alicia’s disbelief in his theories. Alicia’s anger and frustrations are justified and truly show how Nash disregards Alicia’s companionship and family virtues. When Nash is left to babysit his son, his delusions take the better part of him as he tends to perceive that Charles Herman, his former roommate, was watching his son. Alicia’s angered response follows, and she calls the mental institution as Nash later on turns violent against her and hurts her. After all this, Alicia still stood by her husband’s side, and this shows her perseverance and love towards him.
Patients suffering from schizophrenia either show positive or negative symptoms. The positive symptoms include delusions, messed up speech, inappropriate tears and amusement. The negative symptoms include rigid bodies, unusually to a certain extent, toneless voices and unresponsive faces. These inapt behaviors in most cases are governed by the positive symptoms, and the absence of the appropriate behaviors is governed by the negative symptoms (Myers, 2007). There are various approaches of treating schizophrenia including therapies. The nine therapy approaches include individual psychotherapy, rehabilitation, psychosocial treatment, drug treatment, family education, antipsychotic prescription list, social and community support, self-help groups and the cognitive behavioral psychotherapy (Franklin, 2004). In terms of psychiatric nursing care, I would recommend include rehabilitation. This is because this method does not involve any ingestion of drugs within one’s system. Rehabilitation helps schizophrenic patients learn new social skills as well as obtain vocational training (Franklin, 2004). The vocational programs help schizophrenic patients get back to their normal life and therefore are in a good position to relate normally with the society. In the play, Nash receives different medical approaches. While he was put into a mental hospital, he was given antipsychotic drugs. At the middle of the play, Nash receives an insulin shock therapy. Even though the antipsychotic treatment is efficient with reducing certain symptoms like delusions, which is common with schizophrenics, the only problem with medication is the fact that it results in blurring of one’s visions, dry mouth, drowsiness and restlessness (Franklin, 2004).
Generally, the movie is an excellent example of how schizophrenia affects people in the society, how to treat it, and the various therapies that can be applied to schizophrenic patients. The signs and symptoms that is, both the negative and positive symptoms portrayed in the movie by John Nash, are similar to the symptoms a schizophrenic patient encounters in real life. The therapies used in the movie to treat John Nash are basically the same therapies used in treating schizophrenics in reality apart from the insulin shock therapy. This movie is useful as it educates people living in close contact with schizophrenics either at work or home the suitable ways of handling such patients instead of neglecting them or leaving them to die as socially outcast individuals.