Neuroticism is a personality trait that varies in severity. People higher on the neuroticism scale tend to be mercurial or moody and may appear anxious, fearful, angry, or easily frustrated. They may envy individuals without disruptive behaviors and struggle to maintain their emotions. Neurotic individuals often showcase impulsive behavior, which can be a source of self-sabotage. However, noting that some neuroticism may result from a mental illness and not one’s personality may be helpful. In these cases, neurotic symptoms can be treated.
This page contains articles about neuroticism and how it can severely impact people’s lives. People with neurotic behavior are often unaware of how much their habits affect those around them, whether they are close friends or strangers. Through these articles, you may learn how to recognize neuroticism, its causes, and psychological strategies to help people cope with these challenges.
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Neuroticism is a personality trait marking a tendency toward worrying, self-doubt, depression, and shyness. A neurotic person could be emotionally unstable, engage in self-deprecation, and be prone to loneliness. Some people with neuroses also live with mood disorders, and some may engage in obsessive-compulsive behavior. Coping with neuroticism can be difficult. You may find yourself in a feedback loop of negative thinking that doesn’t stop. In these cases, professional support may be beneficial.
Neuroticism can cause people to form unhealthy self-beliefs, partially due to how others might react to their emotions. Try to tell yourself you’re not a “bad person” for finding it challenging to cope with negative thinking. You’re human, and neurotic thoughts and behaviors can be managed. To start, it may be helpful to understand neuroticism in detail and why you might be experiencing these thoughts.
What Are Neuroses?
The word “neuroses” was coined in the 18th century to describe psychological challenges that couldn’t be defined as part of a physical impairment. The term led to certain mental illnesses being classified as neuroticism or neurosis, mental illnesses not including psychosis.
Psychosis refers to a loss of touch with reality, whereas neurosis doesn’t involve a loss of reality. Some psychologists use the word “neurosis” to indicate symptoms of anxiety. For example, early psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung talked about thought processes that were neurotic.
In the 21st century, the term “neurotic,” used as an adjective to describe another person, is often seen with negative connotations. In addition, more official scientific and clinical terms have been developed to replace this label, as it is no longer an official diagnostic term. People can have neurotic behaviors without mental illness, and vice versa.
Neuroticism Isn't Funny
Some television shows and sitcoms may showcase neurotic characters pictured as funny. However, neuroticism isn’t funny and can be uncomfortable for the person with it. Like any other mental health challenge, neuroses take skills to manage. When you constantly doubt yourself, you might spend significant time figuring out how to respond to that inner voice that tells you you’re not enough.
Many techniques can be used to cope healthily with neurotic behavior, and you can learn them when you work with a licensed therapist or counselor. Your therapist may first help you discover whether neuroticism might be due to a mental illness or a personality trait.
What Mental Illnesses Are Connected To Neuroticism?
Neuroticism may be a symptom or similar to symptoms of some mental illnesses. Neuroticism in mental illness occurs when a person is in distress. Most often, neurosis is seen in anxiety disorders. In addition, obsessive-compulsive-related disorders can be associated with neuroticism, such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
A person with OCD may have an inner critic that says that they’re acting incorrectly. They might feel shame and guilt after engaging in rituals or compulsions and may become frustrated or ruminate about being unable to control these behaviors. This excessive worry is an example of neurosis or neuroses. Neuroticism can also appear in mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD), or eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa.
If you’re struggling with neurotic traits, you’re not alone. These traits may be a sign of a mental illness or be part of a challenge you’re experiencing with your personality. In either case, a therapist can offer support online or in your area.
If you opt for an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can connect with a therapist from home, often receiving a match within 48 hours. Some platforms may also allow clients to choose between phone, video, or live chat sessions and access extra resources like worksheets or interactive activities.
Studies also back up the effectiveness of online therapy for severe mental illness. One study found that online treatment could be as effective as in-person interventions in treating personality disorders, which can cause a wide range of symptoms.
Neuroticism is a complicated topic, and the term “neurotic” may sometimes be used in outdated ways. To learn more about neuroticism and clinical terminology, consider reading the above articles or contacting a licensed professional for support.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about neuroticism.
What Is A Neurotic Person?
People with neurotic tendencies may seem consistently distressed, preoccupied, anxious, and worried about everyday circumstances. Highly neurotic individuals display maladaptive personality traits and distressing behaviors on an ongoing basis and can often be critical of themselves and others. However, people with these traits may be at a higher risk of mental illness, so it can be helpful not to label them with words that have harmful connotations to reduce stigmas.
Is Neuroticism Bad?
In small doses, being neurotic can be part of a personality. For example, if you are on an overnight camping trip with dangerous wildlife, being neurotic may keep you safe in an unfamiliar environment. However, there is growing evidence that neuroticism can be debilitating in highly neurotic individuals with heightened awareness. In some cases, neuroticism may be a sign of mental illness. While mental illness doesn’t make someone “bad,” it can have distressing symptoms and require treatment.
How Do You Say Neuroticism?
The word neuroticism is pronounced “nyuh" + "ROT" + "i" + "si" + "zuhm. This five-syllable word is related to mental health conditions involving prolonged periods of distress and anxiety.
Can A Neurotic Person Change?
Neuroticism is a psychological trait that can be managed. Researchers are still searching for ways to mitigate the effects of neuroticism on highly neurotic individuals. Counseling and psychotherapy have shown a positive impact in reducing symptoms that may be similar to neuroticism.
What Causes Neurosis?
According to behavioral neuroscience, some people are born highly neurotic, while others become highly neurotic over time. Physical trauma and mental health trauma can lead to someone experiencing these traits. Neuroticism can be similar to symptoms of some mental health disorders, including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Is Neuroticism Inherited?
Neuroticism is a personality trait that may be genetically inherited. However, studies on genetics and personality are still being tested. Mental illnesses that can cause neurotic-seeming features can be genetic, such as bipolar disorder and depression.
What Is The Opposite Of Neurosis?
The opposite of neurosis is homeostasis. In contrast to the term neurosis (including neuroticism), people who have achieved homeostasis are in a state of relaxation and harmony internally and externally.
Can You Reduce Neuroticism?
Psychotherapy and similar mental health-based interventions have shown some promise in reducing symptoms of neuroticism. As such, the American Psychological Association removed the term neurosis as a stand-alone diagnosis and included the term as a symptom or component of some mental health disorders.
Does Neuroticism Decrease With Age?
Neuroticism can fluctuate based on interventions like lifestyle changes and regular therapy. If you’re having issues with neurosis and need to talk to someone, a therapist may help you develop healthier behaviors and mindsets.
Is OCD A Neurosis?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can be a result of having a neurotic disposition. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder often have neurotic tendencies, including overthinking, obsessing about minor details, and experiencing severe anxiety. However, OCD is a mental illness and not a personality trait.
How Do You Treat Neurosis Naturally?
To begin treating neurosis naturally, start by reducing the number of stressors in your everyday life. You might start by trying a ten-minute meditation daily. Talk therapy with a licensed professional can also provide natural relief.
How Is Neurosis Diagnosed?
Your medical and mental health providers will run a series of tests, including physical exams, lab work, and psychological assessments, to understand why you might be experiencing symptoms. Based on these findings, your medical professional may let you know if you have a mental illness. Note that “neurosis” is not a diagnosable condition.
Is Neurosis A Mental Illness?
Neurosis is not a mental illness but a personality trait. However, it can show up in people with mental illnesses. People with neurotic tendencies may develop related mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you think you might have a mental illness, consider contacting a therapist for support.
What Is Depressive Neurosis?
Depressive neurosis is present when someone experiencing neurotic tendencies also experiences depressive symptoms. Note that this combination could also be due to co-occurring depressive and anxiety disorders. Talk to a therapist to understand what may be causing these symptoms.
At What Age Does Personality Develop?
The exact age of personality development can differ. While certain developmental milestones may happen around the same time, personality is distinct to the individual. Some people begin developing their personality during early childhood. Others may not start to develop their personality until later.
Is It Possible To Change Your Personality?
You can learn new coping strategies and behavior to change your personality drastically. However, some people, like those living with personality disorders, may require support in this process.
How Do You Use Neurotic In A Sentence?
You can use neurotic in a sentence by saying, “I was having neurotic thoughts that day.” Neurotic thoughts and behaviors are often an outward response to internal stress and anxiety.