Rollover text informationAmerican Experience Logo
A Brilliant Madness
The Film and More
Special Features
Online Poll
Game Theory
John Nash
Behind the Scenes
Online Forum

People and Events
Teacher's Guide

spacer above content
Interview with John Nash: Paths Toward Recovery

John NashI don't really remember the chronology very well -- exactly when I moved from one type of thinking to another. There was a time when I went to live sort of dependently on my mother. She was a widow, and I was living in her apartment until she died, and it was a sort of dramatic incident. A sudden illness went badly. I don't know exactly what happened in a medical sense.

And then after she died I had to move from that area. I couldn't just live dependently on my sister and her husband. I was there for a short time in the house, but then they sort of -- you could say they forced me out. I came back to Princeton and Alicia took me in at that time. And at this time I was at least avoiding the type of behavior that could lead a person to be put into a mental hospital.

And this is sort of the level that my son has reached now. He can behave well enough -- most of the time he can hardly be just taken and put in a hospital and considered dangerous or dangerous to himself. That is the type of standard they have now. A person is supposed to be dangerous or dangerous to himself, and then they can be involuntarily hospitalized. But in earlier times, in the 50s or 60s, the later 50s and 60s, it was sufficient to argue that the person could benefit by the medical treatment of being in a hospital; it was more that type of thing.

Of course, there may have been a different attitude in the hospitals also. One could go into that. I do think that the hospitals tend to be too much like warehouses rather than places where there is really a strong type of psychotherapy effort. They're very expensive. It's so expensive just to have a person in there that they don't feel that they could do much more than just giving his daily pills and housing.

previous | return to questions | next

Site Navigation

Special Features: Online Poll | Game Theory | John Nash
Behind the Scenes | Online Forum

A Brilliant Madness Home | The Film & More | Special Features | Timeline
Gallery | People and Events | Teacher's Guide

American Experience | Feedback | Search & Site Map | Shop | Subscribe | Web Credits

© New content 1999-2002 PBS Online / WGBH

Exclusive Corporate Funding is provided by: