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Mental Health & Culture on Weight and Eating Disorders Research Paper


Eating disorders are superficial expressions of cavernous emotional or psychological confusion. Sufferers resort to eating as a means of conveying personal difficulties. The concern appears to be about food projected to a deeper level. The problem expresses an essential unhappiness originating from a number of dissimilar sources. Therefore, it is fundamentally not disorders of eating but indicates and expresses a troubled perception of personality.

Eating disorder is not a unique illness but an unfavourable habit among the close friends of the victim and to the person having the habit as well. It is a mock to the standards of beauty but ends up mocking the person with the habit more that the surroundings or situations at hand. It would be equitable to a protest against the normal cultural standards associable to beauty but eventually as portrayed, eating disorder flourishes from a disturbed mind. A person would wish to have some safety; stay alive and contained but when one ends up doing the opposite, then the problem arises creating conflict between the mind and body.

The Origins of Overweighs and Eating Disorders

There is a close relation between diet and health to the psychological, emotional and physical well-being of a person. According to O’Brien, (2007) Psychological factors influence the eating habits and eventually the problem of overweight. Boredom, stress, strain, anger, depression and anxiety are some of the psychological factors that aggravate weight problems by triggering the impulses for one to engage in overeating.

If taken into deep considerations, this is a way of getting rid of the emotional distress. The comfortable foods preferred during the youth as the junk foods or those offered when one was ill are more preferable at such states. These foods are often associable to the soothing effects thus the close link between the moods, foods and eating habits.

The emotional arousal is another factor contributing to the unhealthy eating habits. It disrupts the ability to offer personal care such as having physical exercise program or sticking to particular diet. The depressed and anxious mind sabotages one’s efforts to loosing weight thus leading to the weird feeling of hopelessness and the good efforts or intentions capsizes leaving one to the option of the detrimental food choices, and inactivity that kills the need to ever try the activities again.

The problem of overweight or obesity has close link to many other factors besides the emotional disturbance. For instance, a person may be susceptible to some environmental factors that promote overeating, one may have some generic susceptibility or the psychological stress can also exacerbate an already existing problem. (O’Brien, 2007)

If the efforts to loose weight fail to work out, one may end up suffering from frustration, weakened feelings of competence or lowered self-esteem. Others suffer from weigh related discrimination or prejudice. Anxiety and depression are some of the problems that come about because of excessive and constant helpless mood, stress and incessant emotional agony.

The mental and physical disturbance often classifies to the emotional disturbance often leading to overweight and obesity that habitually contributes to stress and other psychological disorders. Medically it may be very difficult to determine whether overweight is a symptom associable to another disorder or just a causative factor.

Causes of Eating Disorders and Overweight

Although the eating disorder presents the problem of compromised self-esteem or prejudice, in most cases the victims do not suffer from any psychological disorder. In line with O’Brien, (2007) those with a mild obese may try working out without much success and end up suffering from eating disorders, which brings about the depression and compromised self-esteem. These people loose their eating behaviours and end up consuming abnormally in terms of quantity over certain duration.

According to Alexander et al, (2009) the leading causes of the eating disorders are stress and depression. One can trace the problem to the impulsive responses of behaviors that are spontaneous to hatred or other related mental difficulties such as nervousness or lack of self-confidence, which make one to isolate themselves from others into an inactive lifestyle this enhancing bad feeding habits that lead to gaining of weight and eventually to obesity.

This is a good indication that the physical disorders coexists with some mental hysteria such as the need for substance abuse, anxiety, depression, loneliness, depression, lack of control and a wide range of other interpersonal and social problems.

Eating disorder is therefore a problem that is deeply rooted into the interpersonal issues as opposed to preoccupation on the food and psychological factors. Some of these issues entails family interrelation problems, expression related problems especially emotionally, sexual abuse, feeling of taunt, tease and ridicule over size, appearance, shape or weight.

Other factors entail the social dynamics for instance people would be having a specific body size and weight as their standard measuring unit such that, when one is not conforming to the specifications, then they lack the factors for a “perfect body”. They are mainly concern with the person’s physical appearance. The pressure from the public reinforces the problems by reactivating the psychological concern enhancing stress due to the negative feelings especially in females. (Alexander et al, 2009)

A more complicated origin points to temperaments and its interaction with the mental/psychological, social and interpersonal factors. The mental health professionals indicate the temperamental propensity as “perfectionism, compulsiveness, impulsiveness, behavioral, cognizance, and emotions linked to bad eating habits.

Preventing Eating Disorders and overweight

Emotionally, people suffering from this disorder have the uncontrollable urge for consuming. Prior to eating, they experience urge or craving while there after feeding they suffer from discontent, dissatisfaction as well as restlessness thus their aim to continue eating.

They feel the urge being out of their personal control, they eat quickly, feeding until they suffer from physical discomforts. They always take food in large quantities regardless of their state of hunger, feed alone because of embarrassment; feel disgusted, miserable and remorseful.

In line with Lavine and Marine, (2002) the physician can only treat the medical complications involved but mostly the treatment entails the psychological guidance by the nutritionists. The psychotherapy might be necessary in dealing with the underlying emotional problem. A person with such a disorder should seek advice from the mental health experts such as the psychiatrics or psychologists.

Such a person may be having a normal body weight, but have difficulty in visiting these professionals. The challenges involved in the treatment of the disorder entails acceptance. Very few people will accept that they suffer from such a disorder. Their adherence to treatment is too low because they deny the factors and feel frustrated by the realities.

The specialists mainly psychiatrists and psychologists use the Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which informs the victims on the procedures for monitor their diets and eating habits. They ought to nurture new styles of stress management and other factors know to influence emotions or behaviours.

The main aim of the therapy is to assist the victim in cultivating measures of dealing with the feeling of stressful situation and they are able to change on they way they respond to stressful situations. The Interpersonal Psychotherapy on the other hand assists the victims to develop better relationship with the family members and close friends.

This helps them to share their feelings other than engage in awkward activities such as overeating. The therapy takes the assumption that the mental health and emotional problems emerges from the interpersonal problems. The therapy reveals the symptoms by intervening the social setups and any interactive programs.

The group therapies work wonders because of the nature of moulding and nurturing interaction. (Lavine and Marine, 2002) The victims feel relieved when they find that the problem is not uniquely identifiable to them only. The group therapy entails a combination of behavioural and family system therapy.

At the family level, the family setup is an entity for treatment, where consideration for the victim’s role is within the system rather than as a personal problem. The system is modifies to accommodate the victim and assist them solve the problem as opposed to focussing on the individual. The eating disorder is still associated with the mental illnesses and therefore persons suffering from the condition need to benefit from antidepressant and anti- anxiety treatments to relieve them the mental depressions.


The new directions with regard to research and treatment of the problem to eating disorders and over weight need urgent considerations. It is hugely affecting many people today and is associated with other illnesses. People must understand the conditions and the methods of dealing with eating disorders.

Medically the conditions has prove for a wide range of treatment and therefore the need for experts to continue scrutinizing other possibilities such as identifying susceptible genes that enables development of improved treatment. “Scientifically, the appetite and energy regulation of expenditure by high complex network of nerves and cells, which act as messengers to the brains called neuropeptides.” (Lavine and Marine, 2002)

According to Lavine and Marine (2002), the National Eating Disorders Association urges the parents to spearhead the campaign over the condition by encouraging their children to acquire good eating habits early in life and resist the stereotypes presented by the media in relation to weight, shape and height.


Alexander, L.L., Lorosa, J., Bader, H., and Garfield, S. (2009). “New Dimensions in Women’s. Health”. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Levine, M and Maine M, (2002) “Eating disorders can be prevented!” National Eating Disorders Association, Seattle, WA: National Eating Disorders Association. Web.

O’Brien, P.G., Kennedy, W.Z., and Ballard, K.A. (2007). “Psychiatric mental health Nursing: an introduction to theory and practice”. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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"Mental Health & Culture on Weight and Eating Disorders." IvyPanda, 1 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/mental-health-culture-on-weight-and-eating-disorders/.

1. IvyPanda. "Mental Health & Culture on Weight and Eating Disorders." December 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mental-health-culture-on-weight-and-eating-disorders/.


IvyPanda. "Mental Health & Culture on Weight and Eating Disorders." December 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mental-health-culture-on-weight-and-eating-disorders/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Mental Health & Culture on Weight and Eating Disorders." December 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mental-health-culture-on-weight-and-eating-disorders/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Mental Health & Culture on Weight and Eating Disorders'. 1 December.

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