Movies often show people who have schizophrenia as unpredictable and dangerous. New research shows that these movies often misinform people about the condition.
Researchers analyzed movies, released between 1990 and 2010, that had at least one character with schizophrenia for the present study.
Researchers found a total of 42 movie characters that had schizophrenia. Most of the characters were depicted as violent towards others or themself.
They also found that just about a quarter of movies showed traumatic event as the cause of the disorder.
According to National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that has affected people throughout history. People with this disorder hear voices that others don't hear. They may also believe that others are plotting against them. These people may become agitated and withdraw themselves from the society.
The agency also says that people with schizophrenia are usually not violent. The risk of suicide is higher by about 10 percent, especially in young males.
About 1 percent of all Americans have this disorder, NIMH says.
Movies often show that the characters use medication to treat the disorder which is true in real life.
Antipsychotic medications are the most effective treatment for schizophrenia. People with this disorder have to stay on this medication for lifetime which may cause another condition called tardive dyskinesia- uncontrollable and repetitive movements, especially around the mouth.
Movies like A Beautiful Mind and Donnie Darko have a character who suffers from schizophrenia.
The movie "A Beautiful Mind" was criticized for glossing over the life of central character John Forbes Nash. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia but his hallucinations were mostly auditory and not as visual as depicted in the film. Also, Nash stopped taking medications for his disorder in 1970's whereas the movie showed him talking about "a new medication" that he was taking to treat the disorder.