Does schizophrenic patients treated with
insulin and shock treatments get better?


Hello Dr. Sabbatini,
Thank you for putting up your page The History of Shock Therapy in Psychiatry on the web. It's very informative.
I just saw the movie "Beautiful Mind" about Nobel Prize Winner John Nash, who had schizophrenia, was treated with insulin and shock treatments, and got better. His breakthrough came when he realized that a little (imaginary) girl who kept re-appearing year after year in his delusions, when he realized that she "never aged." When he realized this, then he knew she wasn't real and accepted that he had a mental problem, and so submitted to treatment.
I wonder - is it common for a scizophrenic person to have a "breakthrough" the way John Nash did which then leads the patient down the "getting better" road?
Did you see the movie? Any thoughts you'd care to share...does the movie do a dis-service to schizophrenic patients and their families by suggesting that, like John Nash, with loving support and through personal perserverance, a patient can become functional and productive in society - is that offering up a pretty much false hope...or is it realistic?
Thank you for your time.
Courtney Garton

Dear Courtney,
thanks for your thoughtful message.
No, I didn't see the movie yet, it will not be available in Brazil until February. But I have read the reviews and definitely I want to see it. Russell Crowe just got yesterday the Globe Award for Best Leading Actor for his performance.
Unfortunately, I agree with you: Nash's case is an extremely rare one. Normally schizophrenics cannot "cure" themselves without external help, but cases such as his are not unknown. I know of a medical professor who had a sudden and complete stop in his schizophrenia-induced religion delusions, when he visited a spiritual medium who convinced him that we was haunted by a "bad spirit" and exorcised him... That was his breakthrough. Why these things work with a severe biological disease such as schizophrenia is a complete mistery for science...
Congratulations for your site and your interesting book. Keep up the good work!
All the best
Renato M.E. Sabbatini



Copyright Silvia Helena Cardoso, PhD