There are many questions that arise with the diagnosis of Schizophrenia. How true are the “hallucinations” of a Schizophrenic? Can those with Schizophrenia learn to ignore their hallucinations, and by pass their medication?
Although many individuals have questions about this mental monster, rarely is the mental disorder researched and understood. Instead individuals theorize on what the answers to all the questions asked might be. This leads to misconceptions and misinformed individuals.
In the film, A Beautiful Mind, Russell Crowe plays the part of John Nash. Nash is an incredibly intelligent young man who is attending Princeton University on a Mathematic Scholarship. There at Princeton he meets his roommate, Charles. Nash publishes a governing concept and is later invited to the Pentagon to help with encrypted messages. Along side his intelligence and success, Nash is slowly developing Paranoid Schizophrenia. While at the Pentagon, Nash becomes involved in a “mysterious” assignment given by a “mysterious” supervisor by the name of William Parcher. He is so caught up with the new assignment that he neglects his career, wife and child. When Nash attempts to run away from what he believes are soviet agents, his wife, Alicia seeks medical help for her husband who seems to have lost his mind.
It was a medical doctor by the name of Rosen, which clarifies Nash’s diagnosis, paranoid Schizophrenia. Insulin Shock Therapy and anti-psychotic drugs are prescribed but the brilliant mathematician refuses to take them and by passes them leading him to relapse. It is not until his wife attempts to leave him with their child that Nash accepts that he is a paranoid Schizophrenic and that the people he sees/hears are not real that he learns to ignore his paranoid hallucinations without medication.
It was possible for John Nash to by pass medication, ignore hallucinations, live a normal life along side with his family and son and even be successful by earning a Nobel Prize. But, is this possible for all or most individuals?
An article, written by John Hopkins press members Peter Slade and Richard Bentall, states several ways for Schizophrenics to ignore their hallucinations. Some of these procedures presented include: systematic desensitization, the person with Schizophrenia must learn how to over come their fears and learn to relax through the hallucination. The simple actions of saying “STOP” may help ignore hallucinations presented. Using a pair of head phones with music or ‘loud humming’ to drown out the hallucination, keeping track of how many hallucinations occur in a days period and using ‘first-person-singular therapy voices’ (talking to your self will counter act and dismiss any hallucination present). Another technique to being successful at ignoring schizophrenic hallucinations is the simple technique that John Nash learned to use. The hallucination, people, will always be there but you simply can not acknowledge them or it.
So the questions can be answered. It is possible for those with Schizophrenia to learn how to ignore their hallucinations, whether they are visual or auditory. For those like John Nash who did not want to use the option of medication, there are other resources that can be used such as those that Peter Slade and Richard Bentall. Hand in hand there are positive outcomes to learning to ignore hallucinations. The article written by these two individuals stated that the results of ignoring hallucinations caused those individuals with Schizophrenia to focus more, have less anxiety, and less distractions which leads to a more successful life.
- Schizophrenia and Creativity (psychologytoday.com)
- Schizophrenia (neumannpsychology.wordpress.com)
- Smokers could be more prone to schizophrenia (eurekalert.org)
- Kony 2012 Director: What is Brief Reactive Psychosis or Brief Psychotic Disorder? (psychcentral.com)
- Richard Bentall – Diagnoses are psychiatry’s star signs. Let’s listen more and drug people less (recoverynetworktoronto.wordpress.com)
- Study: Schizophrenia’s Hallucinated Voices Drown Out Real Ones (livescience.com)
- Do Blacks Suffer From More Schizophrenia or Is It Bias? (clutchmagonline.com)