Last Updated 07 Jul 2020

Addressing Psychopathology Issues through Popular Film

Essay type Film Analysis
Words 1999 (8 pages)
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There is a great deal of ways to teach school subjects. The restrictive curriculum of the past era focused on using clinical cases and accounts written in books. This method has been effective for that period alone because the students were reared following that kind of convention—they were acquainted with books and with reading in general.

Therefore, the teaching method will be effective because the students are used to it. But now, there are newer, better methods that can be incorporated into teaching to make it more effective.

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With the introduction of technological advancements such as the television, computer and the internet, the society was gradually caught up in a paradigm shift and was transformed into visual learners. The visual-learners of today have to be taught in a way that they would appreciate because going against how they were reared by society will only lead to pointless interaction with them. And what better way than to use the advent of technology—film viewing of related movies with supplementary discussions right after the film was viewed (for clarification of issues).

Although it is a very helpful medium to make students of psychology and psychiatry (or even people not associated with these particular subject areas) learn and appreciate certain concepts, the movie as a medium of teaching also poses detriments for the viewers. As we all know, the movie is still based on the concept of the director as a creative person. Therefore, even if it is a biographical account, still the director can and will introduce his interpretations to a certain extent. That is why instructors of different courses must be wary in leaving the students to interpret the movie themselves.

Detailed discussion of what the students learned in the film must follow right after the film showing. For the purpose of discussing the contents and messages of the movie entitled A Beautiful Mind, this paper will be divided into several sections—each one focusing on particular topics such as the DSM-IV diagnosis of John Nash, the positive and negative messages about schizophrenia which was communicated in the film, and a criticism on the good points and short comings of the film in general. The DSM-IV Diagnosis of John Nash

This section will further make people understand how a neurosis-afflicted person is diagnosed. The DSM-IV, or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fourth edition), is a concise report on the psychological health of a person. Using the five axes, a person can now have a summary of his psychological make-up which will be the basis for treatments and medical interventions that should be administered to the patient. One reason why this type of summary report is done is to make an easy reference for each patient with a psychosocial disturbance.

Neurosis is a complex state and there are many factors that may cause it so having a summarized report of the findings will make it easier for psychiatrists to refer to the patient’s history. If we are to make a DSM-IV diagnosis for Dr. John Nash Jr. , his diagnosis will be similar to the information that is written below: Axis I 295. 30 Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type Axis II 301. 0 Paranoid Personality Disorder Axis III Occupation-related paranoia (after lending his services of code breaking) Axis IV Occupational Difficulties (inability to get along with the people around him) V71.

01 Adult Antisocial Behavior Axis V 61 The first axis discusses what kind of mental disturbance the patient experiences while the second axis is about the personality disorder that comes into effect because of or along with the disorder in the first axis. The third axis tells how the abnormalities in the first and second axis came about, with the information pertaining to personal experiences or events that might have triggered the psychiatric disorder. Axis IV is about the behavior of the mentally-challenged person and the last axis rates how the mild or severe the patient is at present time.

Embedded Messages As for the positive and negative messages portrayed by the film, the film was quite truthful in the way it represented the stigma attached to schizophrenic patients. It can be argued, however, that the film medium might have exaggerated a couple of encounters in John’s life—to achieve the desired cinematic effect—most accounts are genuine. The unsupportive nature around the character (aside from his wife Alicia) was testament to the limited information that people know about mental disorders and how to give complementary treatment to those who are undergoing psychiatric treatment.

John Nash had to go through being shamed in front of people because of his hallucinations. It is a normal phenomenon that schizophrenics undergo during the course of their mental disorder. Also, a lot of critics consider the film as something that goes all out motivational for the family of the schizophrenics and the schizophrenics themselves. It may be a good thing to encourage the family members of neurosis-afflicted people (and the patients themselves). But giving false hopes is another thing.

It should be remembered that schizophrenia has two different types with Type I schizophrenia (positive symptoms or behavioral excesses) being “characterized by … hallucinations, delusions, bizarre behavior, and confused thinking” (Rita L. Atkinson, 1999). Type II, on the other hand, is composed of the negative symptoms (behavioral deficits) “such as poverty of speech, emotional unresponsiveness, seclusiveness, and impaired attention” (Rita L. Atkinson, 1999). In John’s case, it is most likely a combination of the two types of neurosis since he is experiencing hallucinations and emotional unresponsiveness with bouts of paranoia.

There is every reason to believe that his case is an extraordinary case of schizophrenia because he was still able to develop his economic theorem based on the concept of equilibrium even with schizophrenia. Nash is most likely afflicted by the first type of neurosis because he is otherwise functioning normally, earlier in his life, when William Parcher (the perceived Department of Defense agent who asked for Nash’ help in breaking Soviet codes). Even his relationship with Charles (his imaginary roommate) was quite harmless.

It was only when Parcher came and gave him bouts of paranoia did his psychosis become worse. The Good and the Bad of Psychopathology (As Depicted in the Film) Most movies made by directors not familiar with specialty knowledge such as psychopathology consult experts in the particular field. Somehow, Ron Howard was accurate in describing treatments used for psychosis such as the insulin shock therapy earlier administered to John. Considering that there were very few treatments and an equally few number of substantial clinical studies were made during that time, the treatments used in the film were quite crude.

Inducing coma through injecting an overdose of insulin is already an obsolete technique—but in the point of view of the people during that time, this treatment is an effective breakthrough. There was one of scene there that depicted accurately what effects psychiatric drugs can implicate on the patient: while John was baffled with a mathematical problem, he told Sol that “it's difficult with medication because it's hard to see the solution” (Howard, 2001). Obviously, John knows that his senses and his mental ability is being hindered by the drug.

At that time, there was a prevailing belief that psychosis can only be cured by taking the prescribed medication and in-hospital treatments. However, the psychiatrists are undermining the negative effects of taking such treatments. The set-backs are often shoved under the rug while the benefits (and the possibility of being cured) are being emphasized over again. John and Alicia felt that the medications are already affecting their lives. One of the side-effects of the medication is John’s erectile dysfunction. There was one scene where john and Alicia are already in bed.

Alicia tries to kiss him while caressing his body but John turns away with an obvious apprehension about his inability to satisfy his wife sexually. Aside from this, the treatments that were given to John resulted to psychomotor difficulties like uneven walking posture and trembling of hands. Identifying the Scene The camera men and scriptwriters were able to deliver a wonderful movie because of how the scenes were shot for a purpose. The deception was fulfilled right from the beginning and was later unfolded in the middle part of the story.

The first day John arrived at Princeton, he went to his room to fix his things. And while he was doing that, a stranger suddenly barged into his room and introduced himself as Charles, his new roommate. Apparently, the audience was deceived that Charles was indeed a real person in the story. It even casted doubt upon Dr. Rosen’s evaluation that John was schizophrenic (since John was talking about his best friend Charles all the time). Once scene which established the fact that John was having psychiatric problems was when Dr.

Rosen was talking to Alicia and he said to her that he phoned Princeton and that records showed John was living all alone in his room. Another scene that made John realize that he is simply hallucinating and that he does need some medical attention is the scene where he accidently hit Alicia (while supposedly arguing with Parcher). When he saw Alicia fleeing the house, there were flashbacks of Marcee’s face when he first saw her. John repeatedly had images of Marcee and Charles running on his head which led him to conclude that there was something wrong with the things he is seeing.

Later on, it became obvious that Charles, together with his niece Marcee, were indeed hallucinations for they never got older as years pass by. Also, in the scene described above, the director wants to point out that John is able to think rationally even without taking the prescribed medications. Looking at it in another perspective, there might be an embedded message that the medications might even be the one that was hindering John’s recovery from his neurosis. It was supposed to have a negative effect, as said by Dr.

Rosen, on John but after he stopped taking the psychiatric drugs (shown in the scene where Alicia gave him two pink pills and a glass of water), he was able to think better and act more normally than when he was taking the meds. Conclusion While it may not be 100% accurate in depicting what really happens with schizophrenic patients. Such is the case when Alicia was portrayed in the film as a selfless and outstanding wife and mother. But in fact, Alicia divorced him in real life (Rosenstock, 2003). Nevertheless, there is an inherent need to make the film marketable to the masses so it has to end up in a rather positive note.

Films such as this can be used to discuss the issues involving psychiatric disorders. As the author has stated above, it is important that the professors today be able to understand how their students want to learn. In order to maximize the effort in teaching, the professor must introduce the concepts in a medium that will be best appreciated by the students—and viewing films are in fact a very concise way (less than two hours) to discuss the disorder and its implication to the patient and his immediate social circles.

Nevertheless, while watching films are convenient, the learning process must not end after the film credits were shown. The professor must take a proactive stance in discussing after the film was viewed in order to correct any misconceptions that might have been depicted in a film that was viewed. The instructors of the course or subject must not fully rely on what the director showed in the movie. After all, films are still partly the product of creative minds. Bibliography

Howard, R. (Director). (2001). A Beautiful Mind [Motion Picture]. Rita L. Atkinson, e. a. (1999). Hilgard's Introduction to Psychology. Pennsylvania: Harcourt College Publishers. Rosenstock, J. (2003). Beyond A Beautiful Mind: Film Choices for Teaching Schizophrenia. Academic Psychiatry , 117-122. Willingham, T. (2008, January 11). Using Film in Education. Retrieved July 14, 2010, from Suite101. com: http://curriculalessons. suite101. com/article. cfm/movie_schooling

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