term and disease in psychology

Neurosis is a class of mental disorders involving distress but not delusions or hallucinations. The person's behavior is not outside socially acceptable norms.[1] It is also known as psychoneurosis or neurotic disorder, and those suffering from it are said to be neurotic. The term neurosis was coined by Scottish doctor William Cullen in 1769.

The American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has eliminated the category of "neurosis". The editors decided to provide descriptions of behavior instead.[2] According to The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, it is "no longer used in psychiatric diagnosis".[3] Instead, the disorders once classified as neuroses are now considered anxiety disorders.[4] These changes are controversial.[5]

Neurosis may 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".[6]

Neurosis has also been defined simply as a "poor ability to adapt to one's environment, an inability to change one's life patterns, and the inability to develop a richer, more complex, more satisfying personality."[6]


  1. neurosis at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  2. Horwitz and Wakefield (2007). The loss of sadness. Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-531304-8.
  3. The American Heritage Medical Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin. 2007. ISBN 978-0-618-82435-9.
  4. Brink T.L. 2008. Psychology: a student friendly approach. Unit 11: Clinical Psychology, p246 [1]
  5. Wilson, Mitchell 1993. DSM-III and the transformation of American psychiatry: a history. The American Journal of Psychiatry 150 399-410.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Boeree, C. George (2002). "A Bio-social theory of neurosis". Retrieved 2009-04-21.