Theme Of Schizophrenia In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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In the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” based on Ken Kesey’s book many characters are, or believe they are, suffering from a mental illness. From the movie, I would have trouble diagnosing the character Chief Bromden with a mental illness because he is not the focus of the movie; however, from reading the book I can easily say he suffers from schizophrenia and/or paranoid personality disorder (PPD). This is because in the book he is the narrator so the reader knows that he has real symptoms of these two disorders and meets the criteria for abnormality. To be considered “abnormal,” one must reflect at least one of the four D’s: dysfunctional, distress, dangerous, and deviant. In the book, it is obvious that the chief falls under the two …show more content…
The cause of schizophrenia is unknown, however many medical professionals believe it can stem from environmental factors, such as the environment in which a child is raised. According to Psychology Today, “paranoid personality disorder can result from negative childhood experiences fostered by a threatening domestic atmosphere. It is prompted by extreme and unfounded parental rage and/or condescending parental influence that cultivate profound child insecurities.” In the book Chief talks about his childhood and parents, describing his father as an alcoholic who was constantly belittled by Chief’s mother, an oppressive and hostile figure in his life. As a child he was treated like he did not exist, too dumb to talk to and care for. During adolescence, Chief was drafted into World War Two where he continued to face traumatizing and scarring experiences. This knowledge the book provides helps the reader understand where his disorder comes from, however the movie does not acknowledge his …show more content…
Chief receives two forms of treatment, pills and electroshock therapy (ETC) which actually both worsen his mental illness. The movie never shows him receiving ETC, but in the book it is revealed that he has received ETC over two hundred times. Typical forms of treatment for his disorder is lifelong medication and psychosocial therapy. ETC is nowadays more of a controversial treatment. It is used today as a treatment for very severe depression and occasionally used to treat schizophrenia, however not at the intensity performed in this story in which it was also used for punishment.
Chief’s disorder did not have an impact on those around him. This is because he lived in a mental ward where everyone has a disorder, some much worse than his condition. I believe this is realistic because in a mental hospital one’s mental illness will not really bother or cause distress to those around you because they too are suffering. I believe if this story took place in a normal society, his disorder would impact others around him, especially family members and those close to him who must help him. It would be difficult and upsetting to see someone you care for suffer with a mental

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