What Does Neurotic Mean?

Psychiatrists don't use the word "neurotic" that much anymore, but in the last century, the word "neurotic" meant a category of mental disorders including depression, anxiety and other disorders in which the patients were poorly functioning but were not "psychotic". People with neurosis had all of their faculties intact and are in touch with reality and usually don't engage in behavior which is considered socially unacceptable or deviant.

What Does Neurotic Mean?

Calling someone neurotic in today's time is considered a term of derision. People who are eccentric or behave differently are labeled neurotic because of their differences. Being neurotic is considered an obnoxious personality trait but it isn't actually a psychiatric condition.

So what does neurotic mean? In the basic definition of the word, those who are considered neurotic display a variety of emotions, including jealousy, guilt, envy, anxiety, and depression. They do not have hallucinations or delusions.

A neurotic individual, for example, will follow up with a phone call right after sending you an email just to make sure you actually got the email or shows jealousy when another person looks a certain way at their husband. They feel guilty when they don't help the homeless and often shows symptoms of being a hypochondriac about their health.

While it's true that every individual sometimes displays anxiety, guilt or jealousy, but it isn't going to be regarded as neurotic, there are some people who carry these emotions to the extreme and can be considered neurotic. It could be argued that some of the emotions seen in those who are neurotic are also symptoms of anxiety and that all neurotic emotions indicate an underlying problem with anxiety.

Do you classify as being neurotic? Take this TEST to find out.

Neurotic, Neuroticism and Neurosis

The term "neurotic" is often related to the terms "neuroticism" and "neurosis". While these are related terms, they are somewhat different. When you suffer from neuroticism, you are considered to have been neurotic for a long period of time. The symptoms are the same as being neurotic, such as jealousy, anxiety, depression, guiltiness, and anger.

Neurosis is one of the mental disorders characterized by having a lot of distress but is absent of hallucination or delusions. Neurosis is also known as having a neurotic disorder or suffering from psychoneurosis. Many different types of neurosis exist. These include anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, hysteria, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. The symptoms of each are related but have a specific quality of their own. Neurosis and neuroticism are often terms we use interchangeably but they are a little bit different from one another. In truth, psychiatrists and psychologists don't refer to these terms nowadays because they are considered outmoded terms.

Does Someone With Neurotic Personality Need Help?

You may have known the answer to "What does neurotic mean" and now wonder about whether you need help or not if you suffer from being neurotic? This is a hard problem and depends on whether or not your symptoms adversely affect your life activities. You can ask yourself some questions like "Do you worry about things that aren't really there?" or "Have you come down with unhealthy strategies to cope with your anxious symptoms?"

You need to look deep within yourself to decide if you are neurotic or not. If others are strongly affected by your behavior and feelings, you probably need help. Fortunately, help is available. You can undergo psychotherapy in which you talk about your problems so that you can find ways to understand and overcome them. The psychiatrist might prescribe medications for anxiety and will ask you to stay away from illicit drugs, alcohol, and caffeine because these can make your symptoms worse.

Is Neurotic Always a Bad Thing?

Know what does neurotic mean may make you feel a little distrusted. However, being a little bit neurotic can actually be a good thing. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Turn anxiety into conscientiousness. Having a high level of conscientiousness prevents you from making detrimental behaviors. You use your anxiety to increase your awareness of things around you, so you are more careful around people.
  2. Be good to your health. If you are neurotic about your health and seeing the doctor and taking care of yourself because of it, you end up with better health. Your worry has been translated into being good to yourself instead of being destructive.
  3. Help you be successful at work. Stress is a part of every profession, whether you are at the bottom rung or the top of the ladder. Sometimes being neurotic will help you be more successful at work if you can channel your anxiety in better ways, such as turning anxiety into motivation to work. 

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