A Beautiful Mind is an inspiring story about triumph over schizophrenia, among the most devastating and disabling of all mental disorders. But how realistic is its portrayal of recovery?
Advertisements accurately tout the movie as an intensely human drama "revolving around the grand themes of great triumph over intense adversity and the power of unwavering love." Based on the book of the same name by Sylvia Nasar, the movie has been praised by mental health advocates as bringing to life the struggles faced by sufferers of schizophrenia and their families. Yet, Nash's experience is not generalized among the population with this disorder.
Nominated for several Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, and best actor, A Beautiful Mind succeeds in realistically depicting the disturbed thinking, emotion, perception, and behavior that characterizes the disorder, and conveys the arduous task of management of and/or recovery from the disorder. According to Xavier Amador, Ph.D., Director of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), the movie communicates the vital important of the factors that contributed to Nash's recovery and achievement of his vast potential as a gifted intellectual. For instance, Nash was treated with dignity and respect by most of his academic peers. Social support and tolerance enabled him to regain his capacity for productive work that led to his receipt of the Nobel Prize for economics in 1994. His employer, Princeton University, went a long way to accommodate him and find a place for him in the academic community.
Nash also benefited from the love and faith exhibited by his wife, Alicia. Just as the movie Iris depicts the significance of the support writer Iris Murdoch received from her long-suffering husband who nursed her until her death from Alzheimer's disease, A Beautiful Mind credits the love and faith of Nash's wife, Alicia, as a significant factor in his recovery.
Though some of the treatment he received...
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