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Schizophrenia: John Nash and His Battle with Mental Illness - Essay Example

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Mental illness is, often, hereditary, but can, also, afflict an individual without any family history; mental illnesses are equal opportunity conditions. The rich, famous, talented, and gifted are not spared from potential mental illness…
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Schizophrenia: John Nash and His Battle with Mental Illness
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Download file to see previous pages It wasn’t until the recent history that researchers lent credence to the idea that there is no such thing as, simple, madness, but a number of mental conditions each with their own differing root causes and symptoms. Mental illness is, often, hereditary, but can, also, afflict an individual without any family history; mental illnesses are equal opportunity conditions. The rich, famous, talented, and gifted are not spared from potential mental illness. History is littered with historical figures, like Virginia Woolf and Vincent Van Gogh, who, also, suffered serious mental illness.(Nasar, 1994) John Nash is one such individual. A man of great intelligence and greater academic abilities, which would ultimately earn him a Nobel Prize, he, also, suffered from schizophrenia. Despite his achievements and great intelligence, much of his life was spent being victimized by the condition. The details of many of his life and struggles, which can be described in the 2001 film “A Beautiful Mind,” starring Russell Crowe and produced by Ron Howard, dramatizes, the novel, of the same name, by Sylvia Nasar. The life of John Nash proves that even the most brilliant of minds are not immune to the diseases of the mind. Background John Nash was born in June of 1928, in Bluefield, West Virginia. Young Nash was a scholarly and introverted young man. His mother, once a teacher, insisted that her son would excel academically; John learned Latin, skipped a school grade, and was reading at age four. His mathematic talents appeared in, approximately, the fourth grade and he would continue to excel throughout his education. Nash was accepted to Princeton University, where he focused in a field called “game theory.” It is his doctoral thesis on this subject that would change the economics and would earn him a Nobel Prize in the years to come. He became a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Cambridge, or MIT, where he met Alice Larde, whom he married in 1957. He was a gifted man well on his way to academic fame. However, that all started to change around his 30th year.("A brilliant madness-people," 2001) John Nash was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, quit his job, and would spend more than a decade in and out of mental hospitals. By the time he was 40 he had lost his employment, his friends, and his marriage; John and Alice divorced in 1962. In truth, it would not be until the 1980s, well after Nash had faded into obscurity that contemporary scholars demanded that he be recognized for his work. In 1994 Nash received the Nobel Prize for his work on game theory. Many who were familiar with the man once described him as having a genius mind and an Olympian’s physique and good looks had changed drastically, he was now hallow, gaunt, and somewhat sickly. All the same, it was after this event that seemed to “resurrect” Nash; it renewed his interest in society and mathematics (Kuhn & Nasar , 2001) During his later 40s and 50s he continued to be bothered by delusional thoughts and voices, but they were far less extreme than in the past, and he had trained himself to reject them and remain focused on his work.(Madden , 2000) Discussion “Schizophrenia is a devastating, complex disorder that has generated a vast…body of literature.”(Stredny, 2005) There are several different forms of schizophrenia including disorganized, undifferentiated, catatonic, and , in the case of John Nash, paranoid schizophrenia. Paranoid schizophrenia causes auditory and increasingly delusional thoug ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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