Neurosis is a class of functional mental disorders involving distress but neither delusions nor hallucinations, whereby behavior is not outside socially acceptable norms. It is also known as psychoneurosis or neurotic disorder, and thus those suffering from it are said to be neurotic. The term essentially describes an "invisible injury" and the resulting condition, and is no longer officially used by the scientific, medical, and psychiatric community.
Neurosis was coined by the Scottish doctor William Cullen in 1769 to refer to "disorders of sense and motion" caused by a "general affection of the nervous system". For him, it described various nervous disorders and symptoms that could not be explained physiologically. It derives from the Greek word "νεῦρον" (neuron, "nerve") with the suffix -osis (diseased or abnormal condition). The term was however most influentially defined by Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud over a century later. It has continued to be used in contemporary theoretical writing in psychology and philosophy.
The American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has eliminated the category of "Neurosis", reflecting a decision by the editors to provide descriptions of behavior as opposed to hidden psychological mechanisms as diagnostic criteria., and, according to The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, it is "no longer used in psychiatric diagnosis". These changes to the DSM have been controversial.
Signs and symptoms
There are many different specific forms of neurosis: pyromania, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety neurosis, hysteria (in which anxiety may be discharged through a physical symptom), and a nearly endless variety of phobias. According to Dr. George Boeree, effects of neurosis can involve:
...anxiety, sadness or depression, anger, irritability, mental confusion, low sense of self-worth, etc., behavioral symptoms such as phobic avoidance, vigilance, impulsive and compulsive acts, lethargy, etc., cognitive problems such as unpleasant or disturbing thoughts, repetition of thoughts and obsession, habitual fantasizing, negativity and cynicism, etc. Interpersonally, neurosis involves dependency, aggressiveness, perfectionism, schizoid isolation, socio-culturally inappropriate behaviors, etc.
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