Hollywood actor Russell Crowe was nominated for Oscar for his portrayal of Nobel Laureate John F. Nash in the hit movie A Beautiful Mind. The story is not about how John Nash, a mathematician, gets selected for the Nobel Prize in Economics. It is about how he developed paranoid schizophrenia and the subsequent difficulties faced by his friends and relatives.

Biopic helped doctors

John Nash was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was treated for it. He won the Nobel Prize only after the treatment. The biopic made it so much easier for doctors to explain the illness.

According to studies, one per cent of the population suffers from schizophrenia, a disease that causes delusions and hallucinations to the patient.

If treated, 50 per cent of patients can lead normal lives, while the remaining 50 per cent will need family support. If left untreated, the patient may even commit suicide or go missing and eventually die of malnutrition or dehydration.

These are facts that not many people know.

Psychiatrists and psychologists across the globe observe May 24 as World Schizophrenia Day mainly to promote awareness about the disease.

Awareness programme

The Vijayawada Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (VIMHANS) and the Mind Care Group of Hospitals conducted an awareness programme about schizophrenia in the city.

VIMHANS psychiatrist Vishal Indla said schizophrenia was a chronic disease, but a permanent damage could be minimised by early detection. Irrational suspicion was characteristic of the disease, he said.

Pinnamaneni Siddhartha Medical College associate professor P. Krishna Mohan said patients afflicted with this syndrome would grow so suspicious that they go to the extent of believing that medication could cause harm to them.

In such cases, monthly injections are given to them. Often caregivers suffer more than patients, he said.

More In: Vijayawada