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Neurosis - Definition


Neurosis is a generic term used in psychiatry denoting disorders that are characterized by impaired function of the individual's nervous system, in the absence of any anatomical cause. This term has recently been replaced by that of "adjustment disorder". In these cases, the individual is fully aware of the disorder, which is where it differs from psychosis in which the affected person thinks they are not ill and exhibit significant changes in behavior. An individual affected by a neurosis has difficulty in overcoming the disorder, despite often being willing to do so. Among the different types of neurosis, psychiatrists have defined: phobic neurosis, or a characteristic fear of something (arachnophobia for fear of spiders, agoraphobia for fear of large, populated spaces, claustrophobia for fear of confinement); anxiety neurosis, characterized by anxiety attacks; or obsessive neurosis, more commonly known as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Treatment methods employing what is known as cognitive behavioral therapy can help to resolve these disorders.