Sample Psychology Essay Paper on Generalized anxiety disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Mental disorders are widespread in the country and are identified by disturbed thoughts or behavior in an individual that affect how they cope with various situations in life. In the movie “I Feel Pretty” the main character Renee has a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) that makes it difficult for her to interact with other people without voicing her insecurities. Renee is worried that people are watching and judging her due to her appearance and body size. She works with a colleague in a basement office where they manage the website for a famous cosmetics company, Lily Leclaire. Renee learns of a job opening for a receptionist who will be the ‘face’ of the company in the Fifth Avenue head-office but does not apply despite her complains that they should not be working at a ‘hideout’ office.

Driven by her anxiety and desire to look pretty and lose some weight, Renee signs up for exercises at SoulCycle bike. Unfortunately, she falls off her bike and suffers a head injury from which she awakes thinking herself to be beautiful and perfectly shaped. This changed self-perception finally gives Renee the self-confidence to apply for the receptionist’s position and she gets it and makes valuable contributions to the company. In addition, other characters such as Avery and Mallory also have insecurities over her voice and low self-esteem respectively.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders (DSM), generalized anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive worry over something or certain situations (Glasofer, 2018). The DSM-5 indicates that a person exhibiting excessive worry and anxiety disorders can also suffer from feeding and eating disorders, stay awake disorders and sexual disorders (Regier, KuhL, & Kupfer, 2013). This can greatly affect one’s performance at work or school and their relationships with other people. People with generalized anxiety disorders have fewer or no panic attacks but they are afraid of being judged making them feel inadequate. The movie “I Feel Pretty” shows how Renee’s talents can be obscured by worry that she was not pretty enough to be part of the team at the head-office of Lily LeClaire cosmetic’s company.

For Renee, social settings were particularly anxious places for her since she thought people were judging her due to her appearance. She thus opted to work in the basement office where there wasn’t much social contact. Her behavior and confidence were affected until she suffered the fall at the bike gym. Avery was anxious that her voice made people not to take her seriously despite her running a successful cosmetics company. The movie shows the problems which many American women face in their day to day life.

The issue of mental illness, particularly generalized anxiety disorder, was brought out well at the beginning of the movie. The plot was centered around Renee and the display of her insecurities when with her friends and colleague. However, the hit on her head, whether magical or not, changed her perspective and helped her overcome her anxiety problems. The film might not have clearly captured the proper treatment for GAD but it did show how self-esteem can be boosted by having a positive self-image and outlook to life. Once a person overcomes the fears and worries, they can contribute positively to society and their input is appreciated and valued. Looking at Renee, she was worried that her looks would not land her a job as a receptionist in the cosmetic company thus limiting her potential. In contrast, she becomes a valuable team member and eventually gave a passionate speech during the product launch for LeClaire’s new diffusion line.


Deborah R. Glasofer, Ph.D. (2014, November 3). How Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder Diagnosed Using the DSM-5? Retrieved from

Regier, D. A., KuhL, E. A., & Kupfer, D. J. (2013). The DSM-5: Classification and criteria changes. Retrieved from National Institute of Health website: