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A Beautiful Mind: What Did John Nash Really Have?

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firemonkee57

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It is a commonplace that John Nash, the Nobel-Prize winning mathematician and economist who recently died, had “schizophrenia.” All his obituaries repeat the formula, and the assumption of the book about his life and the subsequent movie, “A Beautiful Mind,” leave this assumption unchallenged.

But did he really have schizophrenia?


https://www.psychologytoday.com/blo...beautiful-mind-what-did-john-nash-really-have
 
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Viktoria

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I think he did. What else could it be?
 
Unique1

Unique1

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I didn't realise that Asperger's syndrome has similar symptoms.

If it was thought he had been misdiagnosed would they not have tried to rectify that, if they could. I guess there is a lot we don't know about the case. Maybe they did, and it was not made public knowledge...

I guess I'm thinking out loud
 
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ramboghettouk

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I didn't realise that Asperger's syndrome has similar symptoms.

If it was thought he had been misdiagnosed would they not have tried to rectify that, if they could. I guess there is a lot we don't know about the case. Maybe they did, and it was not made public knowledge...

I guess I'm thinking out loud
thats a positive symmptom of schitzoprenia, wonder sometimes if i hadn't been diagnosed in the 70s whether i'd have had another diagnosis, bit late now, need it for the dwp now guess should change the record, i know firemonkey takes his new diagnosis seriously
 
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firemonkee57

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i know firemonkey takes his new diagnosis seriously
If by that you mean I don't like my current diagnosis, you are right. Might as well walk up to people and say "Hi, I'm a shit head"
 
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ramboghettouk

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were such diagnoseses around when we were young, if they were they weren't often used you were either a schitzo or a manse
 
life2live

life2live

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I think he had stress induced psychosis there is no mention in his child life that he suffered only when he is under pressure, 1st to come up with the formula , then 2nd when working for the NSA. Once the psychosis came it was permanent.
 
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UMPALUMPA

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Stress/Insomnia induced Psychosis, does that make someone psychotic ??

no its a symptom of stress and no sleep. Thats what I tell myself
 
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Frost

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Doing a psychiatric post-mortem on someone you never met while they were alive is hardly going to be definitive, so any conclusions drawn should be taken with a pinch of salt. It's a bit like when people go through the bible and apply DSM diagnoses to Moses - interesting, but unlikely to be completely accurate.

Also, the guy is an historian of medicine, not an actual doctor, let alone a psychiatrist. He completed two years of medical training (source), and his claim that he 'gained the basic knowledge of medical sciences that any physician would have' is b.s. (I myself have been at medical school double that length of time, and openly admit to having nowhere near the level of knowledge of a practising physician).

Now that I've gotten the throat-clearings out of the way:

His first point is that Nash appears to have been diagnosed too late to have schizophrenia. While it's true that most peoples' symptoms start in late adolescence/early adulthood, 1) it's entirely possible to have first-episode psychosis at any age, and 2) it's possible he simply wasn't diagnosed promptly.

The next point, that Nash's work was very high quality despite 'thought disorder' being a part of schizophrenia seems an odd one. As I'm sure everyone here knows, schizophrenia (and probably most other MI's) are episodic - many can function just fine between episodes, particularly early on in the illness.

The point about the state of psychiatry back in those days is definitely a fair one, and I think probably the best argument in favour of re-examining the diagnosis.

He then goes on to talk about the hallucinations/delusions/other bizarre things, which I presume the author agrees are psychotic symptoms. Then we delve back into further misunderstanding of the concept of an episodic illness, and somehow the author decides that because Nash was able to travel to Sweden to accept his Nobel prize this meant he was completely cured of his illness?
Being well enough to travel does not mean that one is completely 'well' - looking at everything Nash achieved in spite of his illness (whichever label you want to give it), it seems fairly obvious that what would be 'normal' functioning for a person like him would seem high-level to most of us intellectual plebeians. So for Nash to be functioning at a 'normal human' level was likely for him a decline in cognitive functioning.

He then goes on to talk about 'schizophrenia' likely being a blanket term for more than one illness with similar symptoms, which I agree with but don't really see how it relates to Nash.


So basically:
-It's an article which starts out asking the question 'But did he (Nash) really have schizophrenia?'.
-Then it makes some questionable assertions about the time-course and symptomatology of schizophrenia, setting up rather an easy straw-man for itself to knock down. Also seems to assume that every single case of schizophrenia follows the exact same pattern, and doesn't take pre-morbid functioning/intellect into account.
-Then it swerves off and spends a lot of time talking about how useless psychiatry was in the 50's (it was indeed), and about how 'schizophrenia' needs to be broken down into discrete illnesses (most likely it does).

-Then it triumphantly says 'But at least we can stop chanting that Nash had “schizophrenia"', despite having done very little to actually come to that conclusion.
 
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