A Beautiful Mind: When Living With Schizophrenia Is Possible

A beautiful mind: when living with schizophrenia is possible

John Forbes Nash, mathematician, Nobel Prize in Economics and universal genius, is the protagonist, suffering from schizophrenia, of the film A beautiful mind.

A film that, in addition to having won four Oscars attracting the attention of Hollywood studios, has also aroused the interest of specialists in psychology and psychiatry as it deals with the topic of schizophrenia.

This film tells how an exceptional human being learns to live with schizophrenia all his life, applying the rule that “every problem has a solution”.

Schizophrenia and mental dualism

Jhon Forbes Nash lived in a constant dualism produced by his mind, so he had to distinguish between fantasy and reality because of the disease he suffered from, schizophrenia.

Hallucinations and delusions never disappeared from his life, but he managed to keep them under control to the point that, after years of psychiatric and medical visits, he returned to teaching mathematics and was awarded one of the most important awards in the field of science and the arts.

It was his brilliant mind that made him known to the world, when he was suffering and struggling to overcome his illness.

The unknown that you readers will be thinking about right now is probably: so what does it mean? Is Schizophrenia Cured or Not Cured? Paranoid schizophrenia, no more drugs!

Treatment of schizophrenia

The feature film covers five decades of John Nash’s life, of which the hardest period is undoubtedly the decade of the sixties. At that time, John Nash was hospitalized many times in a psychiatric center.

During his stay at the center, the aspect of abuse of psychiatric drugs or the feared electroshocks that in the United States had the purpose of “healing” cases of psychosis and aggressive states is not explored. In fact, these measures, instead of helping the patient, were a further cause of deterioration.

The presence of any type of patient, from neurotic to dangerous psychotic, within the same four walls also made these centers similar to prisons whose goal was more to get these people off the street than to heal them.

In addition to this aspect, it is good to underline another that can be seen when the protagonist of A beautiful mind suffers the consequences that, even today, certain psychopharmacological treatments have, administered in an undifferentiated way to patients with different mental disorders.


The side effects of these treatments are basically impotence, the tendency to gain weight, concentration problems, as well as a state of constant apathy due to the sedative components present in the drugs.

Under these circumstances, John Nash devises a highly controversial and invalid way for all patients to be able to live with his illness without having to spend the rest of his life in a psychiatric hospital: accept the fact that he has hallucinations and ignore them for lifetime.

Jhon Nash, an example of self-improvement

Thanks to his cognitive abilities and his intelligence, Nash learned with great effort, patience and training to distinguish reality from his delusions. This is an example of self-improvement.

This decision raises a series of questions that have not yet been answered because it deals with uncomfortable issues from a moral and ethical point of view.

  • Is it safe to let a person with hallucinations walk around the street without taking drugs?
  • Does the life of a person with a mental disorder really improve if they are admitted to a psychiatric center, even if they have to fight their personal fears?
  • Has schizophrenia been given the same attention as other disorders, such as bipolar, or is it still the taboo psychosis among mental disorders?

It will take a long time to find the right answers to these questions. But what is certain is that John Nash found his own particular way of dealing with schizophrenia, thanks to his brilliant mind and personal skills.

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