Neurosis vs Psychosis
Abnormal psychology concerns itself with the study of psychological disorders, so when we talk about abnormal in psychology, it really is that we’re talking about disorders.
There are two main types of disorders that we’re going to look at. There are actually more than two, but we’re going to focus on two because between those two really cover a lot of different disorders. So, it’s enough to know about these two types of disorders.
The first type is neurosis and the second type is psychosis.
Neurosis is very common. If you gather all of the different types of neuroses and put them together, you would see a huge prevalence rate. This means that a lot of people will suffer from one neurosis or another at some point in their life. What’s different from psychosis here is that people are usually fully aware of their symptoms and not all of the symptoms may be neurotic. They aware that something is wrong.
They’re aware that their behavior is abnormal.
Psychosis on the other hand involves a loss of contact with reality, part of you, or maybe the whole of you. In some cases, a person has lost touch with what is real and psychosis is much less common than neurosis, but it is also much more serious and is very severe.
In some cases, extremely difficult to treat and one of the huge problems is that people are not aware that they are suffering from a problem. So, they might be perfectly happy, which can be a bad sign.
If there’s obviously something wrong with a psychological stage and you are still happy, then that’s not a good sign. All they might think is that everyone else around them is behaving in a strange way and is having abnormal behavior. Whereas, they’re perfectly normal and often hallucinate, having either visual or auditory hallucinations. That is very serious and not a good sign at all.
So, I’m going to talk about some examples of neurosis and psychosis that will make it so much more real.
Neurosis is divided into three big branches of disorders and the first one is affective disorders and that you will be familiar with, because it’s really mainly about depression and there are so many people who suffer from depression.
Unipolar Depression is what we usually just call depression. It’s also called major depressive disorder and it’s just the regular type of depression, which means a person is sad and upset for more than two weeks. They might have difficulties in the morning, especially getting up. They might be tired. They might have a loss of appetite for life in general, for activities, problems with sleep, and problems with food.
Bipolar depression is a little different because people will go up and down. They will have moments where they are deliriously happy, have full of energy, and full of appetite for life. Then soon afterwards, they will be completely depressed. This is a little bit more difficult to treat, but it’s still a neurosis in most cases.
Then there is postnatal depression, also extremely common. That’s when women have depression after they’ve had a baby. It is often triggered by hormones, but it can be very serious and lasts for a long time. It’s fairly easy to treat nowadays.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
It’s also SAD, which stands for seasonal affective disorder. It is a depression that people get in the winter, in countries where there’s not enough light in the winter season.
1.2- Anxiety Disorders:
Then there’s all the anxiety disorders, which involve a lot of very common disorders as well.
You’re a bit scared of spiders or you’re a bit scared to go in a very crowded place. That’s fairly a normal behavior really. We’re talking about phobias that are preventing people from doing things. If you have a meeting on a 75th floor and you will not take that elevator, there’s something a bit more serious than just not liking it.
Everyone’s got phobias, but like some people who have phobias, that will prevent them from functioning. So, it becomes dysfunctional, which is when it becomes a problem.
OCD also fairly common. It is a obsessive-compulsive disorder and it involves rituals. The one that’s most common is washing your hands, but there are lots of different types of OCD. So, some people might count everything they do. They count the steps, count their words, or they might never leave their house without checking the door, a door that has been locked 50 times. Things like that can be debilitating as well.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
After traumatic events, people become very stressed and anxious and develop very specific symptoms. There’s general stress. Again, we’re not talking about “I’m a bit stressed because I have exams,” but we’re talking major stress. The person may have constant insomnia and problems with appetite. The symptoms can even cause heart problems and high blood pressure, things like that and panic like panic attacks. These are just examples, but you can see if you combine all of these with all the types of depression, you can see how extremely common those disorders are.
Restraining the amount of food you eat.
Binging and purging, so you eat too much and then you throw up and very often combine these two.
You can see how common they are and the person is aware of them. That’s the big difference with psychosis . If you have depression, you’re aware that you’re not well and are you upset.
Psychosis is, as I say much more serious. Some psychotic disorders include acute paranoia, where you really think everyone’s out to get you. Let’s say you have a hallucination one morning. You go to class and then someone tells you, “There is no class this morning. It was canceled.” You say, “Wait, are you joking, I was there.” Then all of your friends say, “No! No! There was no class.”
You think they’re making fun of you. You will think they are all together on this and they’re playing a joke on you or something like that, and if that happens again and again, you’ll just become very distressed and upset, unless the problem is, if you have hallucinations of paranoia, this almost naturally follows. You think what you’ve seen is entirely real and you think no one else understands. So, it’s very isolating.
Schizophrenia is often related to multiple personality disorders. So, it’s a personality type of disorder. Some people have two personalities and others will have loads. Sometimes, one of the personalities will be aware of what is real and isn’t and then when they’re into another personality. They will not know at all. That it’s not real and it’s very disturbing and very difficult to treat. Because sometimes, one personality will refuse medication. While the other is very compliant, since you don’t know who you deliver dealing with almost.
Manic Depression is a like bipolar depression in a way, but it is much more serious. People go up and down, up and down. When they are depressed, they aware of the problem and they just feel really upset. They often feel very suicidal, but when they’re manic, they lose touch with reality.
So, for example, manic people will think they’re very rich or they think they are on top of the world and no one else is quite as good as they are.
Therefore, they think they’re very rich and spend an absurd amount of money they don’t have. That’s a very common symptom of a manic stage of manic depression .
This can include paranoia schizophrenia when there are loads more.
So, don’t think everything is either one or the other. There are all kinds of problems due to brain damage. These are just two examples of things that are not neurosis or psychosis, although they can lead to some neurotic and psychotic states.