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A Beautiful Mind and Schizophrenia

In the movie A Beautiful Mind, the main character John Nash has schizophrenia. He has
hallucinations, delusions of grandeur, and delusions of persecution. His first hallucination appeared
when he began college at Princeton. John hallucinated that he had a roommate whose name was
Charles, even though John actually lived alone. Johns second hallucination occurs soon after he
decrypts a complicated code at the pentagon. This hallucination is of a man, William Parcher, who
works in the government and asks John to start working for him as a spy. This is also when Johns
delusions of grandeur and persecution begin. His delusion of grandeur ties in with his hallucination of
William ParcherJohn believes he can find hidden messages in newspapers about the Soviet Union
to help get information for Parcher. Johns delusions of grandeur make sense in a way since he had
helped the government decrypt a complicated code, and his delusions seemed to expand on that
idea. His delusions of persecution also tie into his supposed mission to help his hallucination William
Parcher. Since John believes he is a spy for the government, he starts to hallucinate and believe that
people are after him. Johns third hallucination begins when his first roommate, Charles, returns with
his niece, a little girl named Marcee. John now has three hallucinations in the form of peoplehis first
roommate Charles, Charless niece Marcee, and the man from the government William Parcher.
It's interesting that John also exhibited some symptoms of depression such as when he banged his
head against his bedroom window after failing to achieve a goal in college. When his delusions of
persecution were at their highest intensity, he also exhibited more symptoms of depression.
As mentioned above, Johns schizophrenia seemingly began acutely as he began college by
hallucinating a roommate Charles who was not real. Johns schizophrenia worsened, however, as he
aged. After Johns work lead him into helping the government decrypt codes, his second hallucination

of Parcher and his delusions of grandeur and persecution began. In Johns brain, his hallucinations
and delusions seemed very reasonable to him and he did not become aware of their falsehood until
later on when his wife noticed his strange behavior.
Johns schizophrenia greatly impacted his life as his disorder continued to worsen. It affected his
work because he spent a great deal of time on his delusion of needing to find hidden Soviet
messages in the newspaper. His office walls were covered with notes and newspaper clippings
related to this delusion. Schizophrenia affected Johns health because he would often forget to eat
when he was caught up in his delusions and hallucinations. His schizophrenia also worsened his
mental health causing depressive episodes because of his delusions of persecution as mentioned
above. It affected his relationship with his family and friends because of his odd behavior and
because he spent such a great deal of time playing into his delusions. Johns schizophrenia greatly
impacted his marriage. As Johns schizophrenia worsened, his delusions of persecution became so
grand that he tried to convince his wife to leave the house with their baby and hide. In one scene,
John told his wife that he would give the baby a bath. However, John began hallucinating that Charles
was watching the baby and John left the room with the water running and the baby in the bathtub.
Johns wife came back to find the baby almost completely underwater and John in the other room
talking about his delusions.
As Johns wife begins to notice his strange behavior, she calls a psychiatrist to try to get John
some help. John is treated with psychotherapy and medication. His psychiatrist and wife help him to
understand the difference between what is real and what are his delusions and hallucinations. John
also begins taking medication which gets rid of the hallucinations but affects Johns energy level and
sexual life. John eventually stops taking the medication after seeing its side effects. His hallucinations

and delusions come back for a time, but through the help of his psychiatrist and his wife, John learns
how to live a healthy live and ignore his hallucinations.
The disorder of schizophrenia was actually very well portrayed in the movie A Beautiful Mind.
Hollywood made it more theatrical in some ways, but I think it was helpful that it was based on a true
story. It was accurate in the fact that schizophrenia often begins around college-age. John had
delusions as well as hallucinations which is accurate to schizophrenia. Johns schizophrenia was
more intense than most cases since he hallucinated people, cars, and events instead of just auditory
hallucinations. I think the movie very well portrayed how the delusions and hallucinations can seem
so real to the individual. It also showed how much of a negative impact schizophrenia can have on an
individuals life and family. Lastly, it portrayed the severity of schizophrenia and how even though John
learned how to live with the disorder, it was present for the rest of his life.