A Beautiful Mind Summary: John Nash’s Struggle with Schizophrenia

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A Beautiful Mind Summary: Hallucinations

In the movie A Beautiful Mind, they bring forth multiple symptoms of schizophrenia. One of the most apparent symptoms shown is Johns’s hallucinations. Hallucinations are “the experiencing of sights, sounds, or other perceptions in the absence of external stimuli.” In Johns’s case, in the movie, he heard as well as saw things that weren’t real. The voices that he heard would talk directly to him, giving him commands and tasks to accomplish as well as giving him warnings about dangers he could be facing due to his work.

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He imagined that Charles and Parcher were living people and believed that they were not in his head. Even after being told they were imaginary, John had a difficult time understanding that they didn’t exist because, to him, they were people.

Delusions and Suspicion

Other symptoms they show in the movie are delusions and suspicion. A delusion is a scenario that the schizophrenia patient makes up in their head and strongly believes is true despite evidence to prove them wrong. Depending on each patient, the delusions can vary; one person can have a single delusion that consumes their life, and another person can have various delusions throughout their life. Commonly, with delusions, suspicions do arise, whether it takes the form of being spied on or deliberated victimization. The patient is not able to decipher reality from what they have imagined. John Nash’s delusion wasn’t noticed quickly due to his being a brilliant mathematician. His delusion was that he worked for the United States Defense Agency. He sent “top secret information” to the agency and thought that he was protecting the United States from a threat from Russia, which is what Parcher, one of his hallucinations, told him. Due to his government involvement, he believes that he is in danger because the Russians are after him and the information that he can decipher.

Self-Harm and Reduced Activity

The creators of the movie intended for those to be the major symptoms of schizophrenia portrayed, but there were some others as well, one of which being self-harm. Self-harm is normally seen in patients if they have tried suicide or tried to hurt themselves prior. It also has higher rates with more impulsive patients as well as those with higher cognitive functioning. In the movie, you see John cut his arm open to check for the device that he thought was in him. Another condition of the illness that the movie touches on is a reduction in daily activity. While John was at Princeton, he stayed in the library for much of his time, didn’t talk to anyone, and didn’t perform normal activities, such as eating. Lastly, the movie touched upon a lack of insight. In most illnesses, the patient neglects to see that they need treatment and the consequences that the illness causes. John thinks that he’s a government agent, and when he’s told that Parcher does not exist, he still believes that he is real.


  1. Comer, R. J. (2011). Abnormal Psychology (8th ed.). Worth Publishers.
  2. Pluck, G., Lekka, N., Sarkar, S., Lee, K. H., Bath, P. A., & Sharif, O. (2013). Features of self-harm are associated with both attempted and completed suicide. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, 43(4), 373-384.
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A Beautiful Mind Summary: John Nash's Struggle with Schizophrenia. (2023, Aug 25). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/a-beautiful-mind-summary-john-nashs-struggle-with-schizophrenia/