Is There A Real Difference Between A Neurosis And A Psychosis

1709 words - 7 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

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 some unpleasant situation, to gain us some advantage, or to solve some conflict for us. People in whom hysterical symptoms are so pronounced that they can no longer lead a normal life are said to be suffering from hysteria.

Some people will not walk under a ladder; a few would be really worried if you asked them to do so. They are obsessed by the thought that it is unlucky. Some people feel compelled to throw spilt salt over their shoulders.

If a person is obsessed by a thought to such an extent, or compelled to perform certain actions so frequently that he/she is unable to lead a normal life he/she is suffering from obsessive-compulsive neurosis. The obsessions and compulsions take many different forms. The patient knows that they are unreasonable but are unable to control them. One of the most common compulsions is the need to wash time and time again another is extreme tidiness.

The one thing all of the above disorders have in common is that all arise from external factors. So a neurosis occurs when the mind is affected by factors arising in the environment.

A psychosis however, differs in that it is a mental illness arising in the mind itself. The psychosis can be divided into those in which physical disease plays a major part and those in which it does not. These subdivisions are called organic psychosis and functional psychosis.

Dementia and Infective-exhaustive psychosis are the main organic psychoses. The main functional psychoses are Schizophrenia and Manic-depressive psychosis.

Dementia is the mental illness associated with decay or deterioration of the brain. It usually occurs in people over 60, but occasionally earlier. In old people it is called senile dementia.

Most people retain their faculties quite well, but sometimes the brain ages and becomes diseased while the body remains comparatively healthy. The symptoms of dementia are those popularly known as ‘second child-hood’. The patient forgets the immediate past but remembers his early life clearly. He doesn’t recognize people he knows well, frequently forgets where he has put things, doesn’t know where he is or what day it is. Small changes in his routine make him confused. He is unable to grasp any new ideas. Sometimes he is extremely obstinate and at others quite docile.

Physical illnesses, which are accompanied by infection or exhaustion sometimes, give rise to mental symptoms.

The most common is puerperal septicaemia or infection following childbirth. Others are pneumonia, influenza, tuberculosis, cancer and sometimes diseases of the nervous...

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