Waiting for today...: Article: Normalcy, Neurosis and Psychosis: What Is a Mental Disorder?

Saturday, January 18

Article: Normalcy, Neurosis and Psychosis: What Is a Mental Disorder?

Speaking with my psychiatrist got me to thinking about neurosis…
n. pl. neu·ro·ses
Any of various mental or emotional disorders, such as hypochondria or neurasthenia, arising from no apparent organic lesion or change and involving symptoms such as insecurity, anxiety, depression, and irrational fears, but without psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations.  No longer in scientific use.

As I looked to my peers in the mental health community, it was brought to my attention the frustrations many had with being misdiagnosed.  Misdiagnosis subsequently leads to prescribing errors which can have debilitating even life-threatening consequences. Because of this and other reasons, I made it a point to remember to ask my psychiatrist about mood disorder as it seemed like a very general diagnosis. Unfortunately, I don’t remember getting a concrete answer.   

On that day she likened depression to a fever, which is a symptom of an underlying disorder. Later she would state that I had bipolar features which I eventually agreed with after examining and being honest about my highs. What piqued my interest was her mention of neurosis.   Although the definition of neurosis asserts that it arises “from no apparent organic lesion or change”, I refused to believe that it is something that just emerges without a root cause.  I say this confidently as other definitions suggest neurosis involves symptoms of stress.   My history tells not only of a low stress tolerance but also poor stress management. The following article helped me to further understand neurosis and how it differs from, the more severe, psychosis.

We each live in close proximity to the artificial line created by society, psychiatry and psychology separating "sane" from "psychotic," "normal" from "neurotic." All of us straddle that non-existent border at times, depending in part on our experiences and circumstances.  Many flirt with or cross over this threshold temporarily, returning sooner or later to the land of the "normal." And some never recover from this departure from "normalcy." But if what we mean by "normal" is defined solely by how well a person conforms to society, does what is expected of them, and does not stand out too conspicuously from the herd, what becomes of individuality? Creativity? Self-expression? Indeed, it could be argued that much of what we deem maladaptive, abnormal or pathological behavior patterns are, at some conscious or unconscious level, acts of rebellion rooted in anger about not being allowed to authentically be oneself in society...
con't reading: Normalcy, Neurosis and Psychosis: What Is a Mental Disorder? by Dr. Stephen Diamond Ph.D., contributor at Psychologytoday.com and author of Evil Deeds blog. Retrieved January 11th, 2014 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evil-deeds/201003/normalcy-neurosis-and-psychosis-what-is-mental-disorder