Health29 Oct 2009 01:46 pm
Neurosis is a class of mental disorders that involves persistent distress (but neither delusions nor hallucinations) where behavior does not fall outside of socially acceptable norms. Neurotic people suffer from a variety of psychological ills, including experiencing persistently negative feelings, including anxiety, sadness, depression, anger irritability, confusion and feelings of low self-esteem. In an effort to avoid the source of anxiety or upset, neurotic people often engage in symptomatic behaviors such as phobic avoidance, vigilance, impulsive and compulsive acts, obsessive thoughts, habitual fantasizing and persistent negativity. Neurosis can have a negative impact on the interpersonal relationships of the neurotic, and may be manifested in inappropriate or excessive dependency, aggression and/or socially isolating behaviors.
On a fundamental level, neurosis represents a poor inability to adapt to one’s environment, an inability to change negative life patterns and the failure to develop a richer and more mature adult personality. Neurosis was once a common psychiatric diagnosis, but it gradually fell out of favor in most mainstream psychological circles because of its ambiguous etiology. However, most mental health professionals agree that heredity, temperament, upbringing, culture, education and life experience can both contribute to and mitigate the development of neurosis.
People grapple with new challenges by harnessing their arsenal of personal experience and inherited capacities to solve the problem presented as efficiently as possible. If a person is up to the task (or believes it so), then the emotional response can be kept within healthy limits. However, if an individual is not up to the task (or if they believe it so) than they experience anxiety. This anxiety can crystallize into neurosis if an individual begins to cope with repeated occasions of stress with behavior patterns aimed at avoiding or otherwise mitigating their anxiety, such as hyper-vigilance, escapism and defensive thinking. Thus, stress, anxiety and neurotic behaviors can form an unhealthy loop that can stifle personal growth and development.
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