Is There a Real Difference Between a Neurosis and a Psychosis

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Is There a Real Difference Between a Neurosis and a Psychosis A major part of clinical psychology is the diagnoses and treatment of mental disorders. This can often be difficult and controversial due to the fact that many of the disorders can be confused with others; there aren’t always clear guidelines in which to follow. An example of this confusion can be seen in the disorders Neurosis and Psychosis. Neither neurosis nor psychoses appear as major categories in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III). The main reason for this is that both categories were fairly broad and included a number of mental disorders with quite dissimilar symptoms. Consequently, mental health professionals did not always agree on the diagnosis for a particular patient. Neurosis is a functional (Psychogenic) disorder consisting of a symptom or symptoms caused, though usually unknown to the patient, by a mental disorder. The four commonest are Anxiety State, Reactive Depression, Hysteria and Obsessive-Compulsive Neurosis. We all know what it is to feel anxious. Anxiety becomes abnormal when it is out of all proportion to the cause, or when it continues long after the cause has been removed. Patients with other mental illnesses often feel anxious from time to time, but the term anxiety neurosis is used to describe the illness in which anxiety is the main feature and the patient feels anxious all the time. Reactive Depression is a form of depression where the cause is known i.e. marriage break-up or bereavement. Reactive depression can be classed as a neurosis as it is an exaggeration of the normal expected response to such situations. In medical language the word Hysteria is used to mean that a symptom is beyond the patients control. If I have to take an examination tomorrow and to get out of it I ring up and say that I cannot attend because I am going to the dentist, I am malingering. I am quite deliberately telling a lie to get out of taking the examination. But if, on the morning of the examination, I wake up with a raging toothache although there is nothing wrong with my tooth, this is hysteria. There is nothing wrong, but the pain is genuine. I am quite truly incapable of sitting the examination. The symptom is out of my conscious control and has become hysterical. Hysterical symptoms always serve to get us out of som... ... middle of paper ... ...ers, neurosis and psychosis, may appear small but they can help in the diagnoses and treatment of patients. It can be very difficult to treat a patient when the cause of their illness is unknown or when the illness itself is difficult to understand. It is for this reason that mental health professionals need to categorise mental disorders as clearly and concisely as possible. The DSM-III dropped the entries of neurosis and psychosis and split them down into subdivisions to try to enable better diagnosis but there is still confusion as to the differences between neurosis and psychosis. There is not only a difference between the two but also a difference in each individual case. Different things effect people in different ways and many people although share the same illness have completely different symptoms. Every case should be looked at individually and treated as such. Instead of looking for the best treatment for neurosis, it would be better to look for the best treatment for an individual. References Introduction to psychology - Atkinson - Hilgard - 1983 The science of mind and behaviour - Gross - 1999 The oxford companion to the mind - Gregory - 1987

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