What Are Neurotic Disorders, And How Can I Get Help?
If you’ve ever heard someone described as “neurotic,” you may have a negative connotation with neurotic disorders. While the term neuroticism in psychology refers to a specific personality trait associated with high levels of moodiness and frustration, neurotic disorders are a particular category of common mental health disorders that includes anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
If you are living with one or more neurotic disorders, online therapy may help. In one study of 1,500 patients experiencing neurotic disorders such as depression, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helped individuals achieve large short-term reductions in symptoms for up to a year post-treatment. Connecting with a therapist online may help you learn to manage your mental health symptoms and improve your quality of life.
What Does Neurosis Mean?
Neurotic disorders are a subset of mental health disorders characterized by an inability to manage everyday life. Unlike psychosis disorders, people living with neurosis are firmly established in reality, but they may have difficulty coping with stressful situations or certain emotions.
Neuroses may be described as an impediment preventing a person from properly adapting to their environment. Some people living with neurotic disorder may struggle to cope with change. This may make it difficult to get help, since getting treatment requires making a change in their daily life. According to the International Review of Psychiatry, at least 25 percent of the people living with a neurotic disorder choose not to get help.
Types of Neurotic Disorders
Neurotic disorders are some of the most common mental health challenges. They include:
About 3.1% of people in the U.S. are living with anxiety. Anxiety is a mental health disorder characterized by feelings of restlessness, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, and trouble controlling feelings of worry. People with anxiety may experience symptoms for months or years, and their symptoms may interfere with daily functioning.
Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the U.S.; around 8.4% of adults have experienced a major depressive episode. Depressed people may experience energy changes, loneliness, difficulty concentrating, or persistent sadness, regardless of their life circumstances.
Phobias are extreme fears that may be rational or irrational. Each phobia has a different name; for instance, someone who is afraid of vomiting is said to be “emetophobic,” while someone who is afraid of leaving the house is said to be “agoraphobic.” According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 12.5% of adults in the U.S. will experience a specific phobia at some time throughout their lifetime.
People living with OCD may regularly experience negative, involuntary, and intrusive thoughts that impact their behavior. For example, a person with OCD may experience a sudden and involuntary thought that they left the stove on, leaving their home at risk of burning down. To make sure their home is safe, they may be compelled to check to see whether their stove is off. Even after confirming it’s turned off, they may keep turning the stove on and off to ease their feelings of anxiety. These behaviors may impact their daily life by making it difficult to leave the home or to be on time for commitments like work or appointments. About 1.2% of adults in the U.S. have experienced OCD symptoms in the last year.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is a specific type of anxiety disorder which may be experienced by people who have lived through a traumatic event. About 6% of adults will experience PTSD at some point throughout their lifetime. PTSD may cause flashbacks or nightmares related to the traumatic experience as well as symptoms of depression like loneliness and fear. While PTSD is most commonly associated with veterans, it may affect anyone who has experienced some sort of trauma in their life.
Treating A Neurotic Disorder
If you’re living with a neurotic disorder, there are many different treatment options that can help you move forward from your symptoms. In most cases, treatments can be obtained from a medical provider like a psychiatrist or from a licensed psychologist or counselor. Treatment options may include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy, a specific type of therapy that trains your brain to respond differently in stressful situations
Other types of therapy, including talk therapy, art therapy, or music therapy, can help individuals with neurotic disorders learn to combat intrusive or negative thoughts.
Changing your lifestyle may also help you take control over your symptoms. Many lifestyle modifications may help, including:
Exercising regularly. Exercise increases your body’s production of brain chemicals like dopamine, which may improve your happiness level.
Finding social support. Attending support groups or talking to friends and family about what you’re going through may improve your mental health symptoms.
Practice relaxation techniques. Yoga, deep breathing exercises, and meditation can help reduce stress and improve your mental health challenges.
Neurosis Vs. Psychosis
Some people may confuse neurosis with psychosis; although these terms sound similar, they are very different mental health symptoms. Neurosis is a condition where an individual reacts to life’s challenges with an unusually strong response, typically of fear, anxiety, or sadness. Although people with neurotic disorders may have a tendency to experience intrusive thoughts, their thinking remains grounded in reality.
Those experiencing psychosis have difficulty separating what’s real from what’s not. They may experience delusions or hallucinations or hear voices that aren’t there. During a psychotic episode, individuals may be unable to distinguish reality from their intrusive thoughts.
Psychosis may have several different origins. For instance, it can be the product of a person’s environment or the sign of another mental illness like schizophrenia. It can even be caused by things like sleep deprivation or the use of drugs and alcohol. In some cases, people in the postpartum period can experience a form of psychosis known as “postpartum psychosis” which occurs a few weeks after giving birth to a child.
If an individual is experiencing psychosis, it’s important for them to get treatment as soon as possible. A delay in treatment may increase the risk that a person experiencing psychosis may harm themselves or others. Early signs of psychosis can include:
A lack of care for personal hygiene
Preferring to be alone
Emotions that are either too strong or nonexistent
A decline in school or work performance
If early psychotic symptoms are not recognized, a psychotic episode may occur. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may want to report them to a medical provider, as they may indicate a psychotic episode is occurring:
Experiencing a taste, sound, or vision that others don't
Having strong emotions, no emotions at all, or emotions that are inappropriate for the situation
Being plagued by persistent beliefs that are denied by family or friends
Avoiding family and friends
Online Therapy Can Help You Manage Neurotic Disorders
Whether you’re experiencing a neurotic disorder, psychosis, or another mental health condition, online therapy may help you learn to manage your symptoms and cope with challenges in your daily life. Online therapy is a supportive treatment modality for people who experience difficulty coping with change, since treatment can be obtained from a safe, comfortable space, like your home. Additionally, online therapy may feel more safe since it can be obtained from home, which may make some people feel more comfortable obtaining treatment and discussing information.
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Living with a neurotic disorder may cause some people to experience difficulty coping with the ups and downs of daily life. Neurotic disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD are extremely common, and treatment is available to help those living with neurotic disorders manage with their symptoms and learn coping mechanisms to help them navigate life’s challenges. Online CBT therapy with BetterHelp is an evidence-based treatment to reduce mental health symptoms for those living with neurotic disorders. To get matched with a licensed online counselor in 24–48 hours, complete our brief questionnaire.