What Are The Differences Between Neurotic And Psychotic?

by Anthony Carter on July 29, 2011


Two mental health terms that tend to get used a lot are neurotic and psychotic. Although these words tend to be mentioned a lot there can be a bit of confusion as to what they actually mean. It is the aim of this article to clear up some of the confusion in this regard.

What Does Neurotic Mean?

To say that somebody is neurotic means that they react strongly to things that happen in their lives. The behaviour of the individual in reaction to stressors can be unusual, but not so much that it would be considered socially unacceptable. The symptoms of a neurosis (cardiac neurosis, combat neurosis, war neurosis, depressive neurosis, etc.) are not extreme enough to get in the way of normal living. The person with a neurosis will not suffer from hallucinations or delusions. There are many examples of neurotic behavior including:

  • Hysteria
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Fear of crowds
  • Fear of speaking in public
  • Phobias
  • Perfectionism
  • Dependency

It is believed that every human on the planet will suffer from at least some type of neurosis form time to time. It is only when these symptoms become extreme that they are characterized as unusual.

What Does Psychotic Mean?

If somebody has a psychosis they will have far more serious symptoms than the individual who is neurotic. With this type of mental health condition the individual will have lost at least some contact with reality. The thoughts, judgement, and perception of the individual with a psychosis will be impaired by their symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of psychosis include:

  • Visual and audible hallucinations (there may even be hallucinations involve other senses including taste)
  • False beliefs
  • Paranoia
  • Lack of ability to distinguish between reality and make believe
  • Confusion
  • Talking in a way that doesn’t make much sense
  • Inability to follow logical thought
  • Distortions to memory
  • Personality changes
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to sleep
  • Excitability

The individual who is dealing with psychotic symptoms may only have them for a short period of time. Once the cause is remedied there may not be any further episodes. In some cases it will indicate that the individual is suffering from some type of metal disease. A psychotic episode can also occur for other reasons such as:

  • A reaction to prescribed medication
  • Illegal drug use
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • A reaction to extreme stress or trauma
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor nutrition

Treatment for Psychosis and Neurosis

Generally speaking psychosis is a far more serious condition than neurosis but both can negatively impact the life of the individual. If the neurosis is severe then it is likely that the person will require some type of treatment. If a person is having a psychotic episode they will require urgent help. Such people may be at risk of harming themselves or other people and so will need to be managed properly. More on neurology, visit our sister blog: Neurological Blog.

Share This Article:

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: