Influences on Behavior and Psychological Disorders

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Psychological disorders comprise of a wide range of health complications that lead to distress, psychological dysfunction, or an impairment that is normally unexpected. Psychological dysfunction refers to the cessation of the normal functioning of an individuals behavior, cognition, or emotions (Mitchell, and Carol 2005). The psychological or mental behaviors are mostly studied within the broader field of abnormal psychology, which seeks to understand the challenges that people suffering from these conditions go through. Some of the most common psychological; conditions include Bipolar disorder, Anorexia nervosa, Antisocial personality disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Schizophrenia, and Borderline personality disorder among others (Keel, 2006). This paper specifically focuses on analyzing how psychological disorders affect the behavior of individuals in terms of their physical and mental disposition (Carolyn, 2010). In order to achieve this objective, the paper will be based on one of the most common psychological disorders, Anorexia Nervosa, analyzing how the condition affects he psychology of individuals. As such, the paper asserts that physical, mental, and behavioral aspects of an individual are greatly influenced by various disorders.

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Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa arises from a psychological condition where an individual has a distorted image of his or her body, causing them to view themselves as being excessively overweight, when in fact, they are very slim (Carolyn, 2010). Individuals with anorexia nervosa often reduce the amount of food they eat in order to reduce their weight. It is one of the three common eating disorders alongside bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder (Mitchell, and Carol 2005). These are a group of serious health conditions characterized by ones preoccupation with food and weight resulting in an individual consuming excess food or insufficient amounts of food in order to control his or her desired weight and body shape (Carolyn, 2010). Eating disorders are psychological conditions because they affect ones mental state in terms of their emotional development. Eating disorders often result in other serious physical, mental, emotional and in some cases life-threatening conditions.

In some cases eating disorders may be secondary symptoms to other more dangerous psychological issues while in other instances the eating disorders may be primary symptoms of other psychological problems (Keel, 2006). It is therefore important to understand the link between eating orders and psychology in order to respond to them efficiently. The longer one takes nursing their eating disorders the longer they may be harboring other psychological disorders.

Primarily, eating disorders affect women and teenage girls, but men are also becoming victims of eating disorders. In the UK, for instance, about 12% of the victims of eating disorders are male. Eating disorders have been on the increase in various parts of the world. Women are the most susceptible (Mitchell, and Carol 2005). Leading psychologists in America state that nearly half of the entire population knows of at least an individual struggling with challenges of eating disorder. Global statistics show that eating disorders are more prevalent in the developed world as compared to less industrialized nations (Keel, 2006). This mostly attributed to changes in lifestyles in the Western world and the influence of mass media and marketing strategies of businesses.

The American Psychiatric Association identifies eating disorders are psychological disorders categorized under Axis I in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). This is as a result of the various factors that contribute to one contracting psychological disorders. Some of the most common psychological factors that can cause eating disorders include low self-esteem, clinical depression, mood swings, withdrawal, obsession with weight and body shape, and distorted self-image among others (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).

Low self-esteem is common among teenage girls. This is mainly because they find it very difficult to accept their bodies, especially if they are overweight, or if they fell that their body shape is does not meet the acceptable social standards (Keel, 2006). These girls may find it difficult to fit in their groups of friends and may be susceptible to peer pressure. Low self-esteem affects how an individual views himself or herself and affects ones self-image.

General Behaviors Associated With the Disorders

Anorexia nervosa is associated with a wide range of behaviors, which ultimately indicate the symptoms of the psychological condition. Like other eating disorders, anorexia nervosa is a learned behavior that in can overcome if they have the right motivation and will to do so. It is important for individuals to note however, that treatment of eating disorders is more than just changing ones unhealthy eating disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Anorexia nervosa has a significant impact on the biological makeup of the individual. It often results in excess weight loss leaving the patient emaciated (David, 2014). Excessive weight loss is an extreme condition where one loses more weight that is required.

Effects of the Disorders

Anorexia nervosa has a very profound impact on the health of an individual. Am affecter person is very conscious about their health in terms of their weight. Any slight increase in weight is likely to be problematic in terms of affecting the psychology of the individual. Anorexic people are very careful about their weight and are obsessed with weight reduction. Even in circumstances when one is not really fat, they often hate it that they have gained weight (David, 2014). This preoccupation with ones weight is what ultimately affects the individual in terms of memory development while also contributing to other psychological conditions such as lack of sleep, and depression (David, 2014).

For example, since one is very obsessed with weight reduction, they mainly focus on comparing themselves with other slim people. Any differences are likely to affect the persons social life (Yacov, 2012). The affected individual will lack sleep as they will be mainly focused with their weight and keep thinking of how to get thinner.

Application of Theories

One theory that can be applied in understanding the condition of Anorexia nervosa is Sigmund Freuds psychodynamics perspective. Freudian perspective also states that an individuals personality comprises of three parts namely id, ego, and super-ego. An individuals behavior is influenced by two instinctive drives: eros and Thanatos. Eros refers to life instinct and sex drive while Thanatos refers to death instinct and the aggressive drive (Morris, 2011). Some parts of the unconscious mind are always in constant conflict with the conscious part of the mind, often yielding anxiety.

Based on this theory, it is clear to see why the individuals affected by anorexia nervosa mainly focus on their sexuality. They always want to remain beautiful since beauty is often defined based on ones slimness.


Eating disorders are becoming more popular as people change their lifestyles with respect to globalization and modernization. People tend to consume less or more food in order to correspond to the ever-increasing demands of their livelihoods. Busy schedules of people in urban centers have also contributed to changes in eating habits, thereby facilitating development of eating disorders. While women form the largest portion of victims of eating disorders, there has been an increase in the number of men falling victim to eating disorders has also been on the rise in recent years. It is, therefore, very important that both men and women should be cautious about their eating habits.


American Psychiatric Association, (2000), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR, American Psychiatric Association.

Carolyn, K., (2010), The Writer's Guide to Psychology: How to Write Accurately about Psychological Disorders, Clinical Treatment and Human Behavior, Linden Publishing

David, H. B., (2014),Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders, Fifth Edition: A Step-By-Step Treatment Manual, Guilford Publications

Keel, P.K.(2006). Eating Disorders. New York: Chelsea House Publishers.

Mitchell, J. E, and Carol B. P. (2005). Assessment of Eating Disorders. New York: Guilford Press.

Morris, J. (2011). Abc of Eating Disorders. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Reel, J. J. (2013). Eating Disorders: An Encyclopedia of Causes, Treatment, and Prevention.

Yacov R., (2012), The Rationality of Psychological Disorders: Psychobizarreness Theory, Springer Science & Business Media.

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