A Beautiful Mind: Schizophrenia

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A Beautiful Mind is an inspiring story about triumph over schizophrenia, among the most devastating and disabling of all mental disorders. A Beautiful Mind succeeds in realistically describing the disturbed thinking, emotion, perception, and behavior that characterizes the disorder, and shows the difficult task of management of and/or recovery from the disorder. The movie communicates the vital importance of the factors that contributed to Nash's recovery and achievement of his amazing 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. A Beautiful Mind credits the love and faith of Nash's wife, Alicia, as a significant factor in his recovery.

This film contributes to the public understanding of schizophrenia. It shatters some stereotypes of sufferers such as their being dangerous and unable to function in the world and emphasizes the importance of treatment and social support. But viewers should not be encouraged into thinking that Nash's encounter with schizophrenia is the norm. Unfortunately, all too many people who deal with this illness do so with few of the resources Nash had at his disposal. Perhaps some time in the future, our attitude toward treatment of the mentally ill will progress so that Nash's situation will be the norm and not the rarity. Unless you are familiar with John Nash's story, you probably won't guess he's schizophrenic until later into the movie. He's eccentric, abrupt, and highly intelligent, but doesn't seem crazy. His delusions are as real as reality to Nash, and likewise, they are real to the audience, who cannot tell

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