a mental and emotional disorder that affects only part of the personality, is accompanied by a less distorted perception of reality than in a psychosis, does not result in disturbance of the use of language, and is accompanied by various physical, physiological, and mental disturbances.

Neurosis: Understanding the Impact and Management in Contemporary Mental Health Practice

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

At the crossroads of the psyche and society lies neurosis, a term that encompasses a spectrum of mental disturbances characterized by anxiety, depression and irrational fears. This article explores a journey to unravel neuroses, from its origins in Freudian theory, to contemporary perspectives that view it as a response to the pressures of modern life.

Freud affirmed, “in general, a neurosis represents an instance where the ego’s efforts to deal with its desires through repression, displacement, etc., fail: A person only falls ill of a neurosis if his ego has lost the capacity to allocate his libido in some way.” If we want to start with the history, “psychiatrists first used the term neurosis in the mid-19th century to categorize symptoms thought to be neurological in origin; the prefix “psycho-” was added some decades later when it became clear that mental and emotional factors were important in the etiology of these disorders.”

Britannica states, “central to psychoanalytic theory, which was founded by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, is the postulate existence of an unconscious part of the mind which, among other functions, acts as a repository for repressed thoughts, feelings, and memories that are disturbing or otherwise unacceptable to the conscious mind.” 

What about neurotic conduct? “The line that divides neurotic from normal is the intensity. Neurotic thoughts and behaviors by definition are so extreme that they interfere with your personal, professional, and romantic lives. What’s more, they tend to be your default response to even minor problems.”

We have to recognize the neurotic personality symptoms: “a person who is neurotic will often experience and express negative emotions like anger or irritation. They are likely to react negatively to stress and overreact in situations with little to no stress. Therefore, they can come across as moody or unstable.”

The same source considers, “a neurotic personality has little natural buffer against stress. You see everyday situations as far worse than they really are, and then blame yourself for your extreme pessimism and negativity. You might constantly feel:”

  • Irritated
  • Angry
  • Guilty
  • Worried
  • Hostile
  • Self-conscious
  • Vulnerable

 It is important to mention some types of neurotic behaviors:

  • Anxiety and apprehension
  • Excessive worry and guilt
  • A tendency toward more negative emotions and reactions
  • Irritability and anger
  • Low self-esteem and self-consciousness
  • Poor response to stress
  • An interpretation of everyday situations as threatening
  • Depression
  • Emotional instability

According to Sandstone Care, “the best treatment for neurotic personality disorder generally includes psychotherapy, medication, and relaxation. However, other types of therapy and environment changes can also help.”

In conclusion, reflecting on the exploration of neuroses, it becomes evident that this condition, often shrouded in misunderstanding, is a testament to the complexity of the human psyche. Let us commit to fostering environments that promote psychological resilience, encouraging individuals to seek understanding and support in their journeys toward mental wellbeing.


“Neurosis Definition & Meaning.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/neurosis. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Introduction to Sigmund Freud, Module on Neuroses, www.cla.purdue.edu/academic/english/theory/psychoanalysis/freud4.html#:~:text=In%20general%2C%20a%20neurosis%20represents,%22%20(Introductory%20Lectures%2016.387). Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

“Neurosis.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 5 Apr. 2024, www.britannica.com/science/neurosis.

“Neurotic Behavior (Neurosis): Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/mental-health/neurotic-behavior-overview. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Quinn, Deborah. “Neurotic: Behavior, Meaning, & 5 Tips to Cope.” Sandstone Care, Sandstone Care, 22 Aug. 2023, www.sandstonecare.com/blog/neurotic-behavior/.

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