Assignment: Influences On Behavior And Psychological Disorders

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Psychological Disorders and Behaviors



The psychological disorder we will be focusing on in this presentation is depression also known as major depressive disorder (MDD).

Depression is defined as a mental illness that affects an individual’s social life, mind, body and mood.

Statistics show that there are more than 15 million adults in the United States that are affected by depression and it is one of the leading causes of death (Gilbert, 1992).

Some individuals even refer to it as mood disorder. It is an intense case of stress in an individual that affects the normal functioning of an individual socially, psychologically, professionally and physically.


Depression: Major Depressive disorder

An individual can go from being happy to suddenly being sad all in one motion.

People who suffer from MDD often lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and have trouble performing everyday activities.

Occasionally, they may also feel as if life isn’t worth living.

This is an image that clearly shows depression as a mood disorder in an individual.



This presentation will provide a comprehensive psychoanalysis around depression as a psychological disorder. It will provide a summary of biological, behavioural, therapeutical and psychological aspects of the disorder.


There are various characteristics that can be used as indicators to depression.

A. Emotional Behaviour

Self Loathing

High level of irritability

Feelings of hopelessness

Low self esteem

These are the various emotional behaviour changes that can point to depression in an individual. Self loathing is the behaviour of harshly criticizing one self and feeling unworthy(Lam, 2012).

When one is undergoing depression, they are also more likely to get angry faster. One has very low levels of tolerance.

Hopelessness is a state when one is fully pessimistic about things and does not see anything getting better.

Low self esteem results from loss of confidence.



B. Physical Behaviours

Loss of concentration

Energy loss


Changes in sleep patterns

Pains and aches

Appetite changes

Under stress, an individual has a lot of trouble focusing on things and also making decisions.

One is also more likely to often feel fatigued and also drained physically rendering them unable to carry out even small tasks

One also is most likely to hate associating with others.

One is also more likely to either experience insomnia or too much sleep.

Pains and aches include headaches for example due to too much thinking

Finally, under stress one may either eat too much leading to weight gains or starve themselves leading to drastic weight losses.


Role of biological influences

There are various biological factors that are most likely to cause depression. They include:

Genes: It is possible to inherit genes from ones parents that may make an individual more vulnerable to depression.

Hormones: Over production or the underproduction of various hormones by the brain may account for depression symptoms.

Neurotransmission: Lower neurotransmission activities in the brain between the nerve cells drastically affect an individuals mood and behaviour.

Genetic influences do not cause the disease but in most cases they increase the chances of an individual being depressed.

Drastic changes in hormone levels in the body are also a very major influence of depression.

For proper functioning of all parts of the body nerve cells communicate to one another through chemical substances. If communication is reduced, various functions may be affected and this can trigger depressive symptoms.


Clinical effect of depression

Research have found that people with recurrent depression experience a shrinking of the hippocampus, an important brain area involved with forming and storing memories.

The diagram below explains the influence of neurotransmitter on depression. Depressive symptoms are more on a brain that has a low level of neurotransmission activities as shown on the first image.



Altered states of consciousness is a condition where the brain of an individual is detached from its normal way of perceiving things (Hand, 2014).

Most medical professionals who deal with individuals suffering from depression use this to help in treatment by lowering tress levels of an individual or returning the body into normal patterns of behavior.

For example hypnosis helps to make an individual more relaxed, more focused, reduces stress and also enables an individual to have better sleep.

altered states of consciousness help to reduce the behavioral and emotional symptoms of an individual for example by increasing their level of concentration and helping them catch better sleep and therefore helping reduce their levels of depression.



The is a strong positive correlation between stress and reduced memory levels in an individual

This is because depression greatly alters an individual’s mental state as earlier mentioned.

Stress lowers an individuals ability to concentrate, causes anxiety, confusion and also stress and this result to poor memory in an individual (Gotlib, Kurtzman & Blehar, 1997).

Depression however only causes short term memory loss and the level of memory loss differ from different depression victims depending on the state of mind and emotions of an individual.



The two personality trait theories we are going to be comparing in this section are Eysenck’s Personality Theory and Tripartite Theory of Personality.

Eysenck’s Personality Theory explains personality by looking at it in 2 dimensions that is stable vs. unstable and extroverts vs. introverts (Ellis, Abrams & Abrams, 2009).

Tripartite Theory of Personality explains personality as a system with three parts that’s the id, ego and the superego.

Tripartite Theory of Personality is a theory by Sigmund Freud while Eysenck’s Personality Theory is a theory by Hans Eysenck. Eysenck’s Personality Theory focused on high order behaviours and behavior differences between individuals. Tripartite Theory of Personality on the other hand sees personality as a system.


Tripartite Theory of Personality and Depression

This theory can be used to explain depression as a biological problem emotional and behavioural disorder.

The theory identifies the first part of the personality system as the id which refers to all biological traits inherited by an individual. This can help explain the genetic factor as a cause of depression.

The other two parts of the personality system according to the theory are ego and superego. The superego can help explain various emotional symptoms of depression such as guilty, hopelessness since it is the source of such feelings.

Ego controls the behaviour of an individuals . It responds to the social norms, vales as well as realities helping an individuals avoid various negative consequences in the society. the superego causes feelings in response to the ego. It renders punishment to the ego for behaviour choices.


Eysenck’s Personality Theory and depression

The first dimension is stable vs. unstable behaviour as analysed by this theory can help explain the behaviour displayed by a depressed individual.

The theory identifies unstable behaviour such as being moody, anxious, pessimistic and reserved among others and these are general behaviours associated with depression.

Both theories can be related to symptoms depression but the Tripartite Theory can further be used to explain genetic causes of the disorder.

This theory can be used to identify behavioural symptoms of depression by gauging an individuals behaviour as either being stable or unstable. Individuals with unstable behaviour show major characteristics of depression.




This is also called the talk therapy and it serves a major role in the treatment of depression

It s called a talk therapy because it involves talking to a mental professional.

This is effective in helping to understand the cause of the problem and help an individual know how to deal with the problem.

Psychotherapy helps an individual to better deal with the causes of their depression by devising ways of coping through an individuals feelings and symptoms, change behavior patterns that cause the problem and also ensure adherence to treatment and medication(Beck, 1979).



2. Electroconvulsive therapy

This is a form of therapy that is used for severe cases of depression.

It is a painless procedure that involves stimulation of the brain.

It is a very effective therapy especially for depression patients who have suicidal symptoms since it is the only form of therapy that works when all others have failed and thus helping to save lives.

Apart from its work effectiveness, it also serves as the fastest relieve to depression for patients. It prevents individuals from resorting to extreme behaviours such as suicide.



Depression is a more serious disorder than people may realize that affects the functionality of an individual in the various aspects of their life.

If left untreated, it can escalate to more serious issues such s suicide.

It is therefore important for individuals to be aware of these symptoms and the behaviours associated with depression to help identify it when it affects one of their own (family members, friends, co-workers, etc.)

Depression makes that management of our day to day activities very hard and does not only affect the victim but also affects very many other individuals around them such as colleagues, family and employers among others and therefore needs to be identified and treated early enough.



Beck, A. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press.

Ellis, A., Abrams, M. & Abrams, L. (2009). Personality theories : critical perspectives. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

Gilbert, P. (1992). Depression : the evolution of powerlessness. Hove, UK Hillsdale, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Gotlib, I., Kurtzman, H. & Blehar, M. (1997). The cognitive psychology of depression. East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.

Lam, R. (2012). Depression. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hand, Carol. (2014). Living with health challenges : living with depression. Abdo Publishing.

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