Neurosis, Culture and Change

Leda Carter, A balancing act…. Details coming…. “To hell, to hell with balance! I break glasses; I want to burn, even if I break myself. I want to live only for ecstasy. I’m neurotic, perverted, destructive, fiery, dangerous – lava, inflammable, unrestrained.” ― Anaïs Nin via Flickr

In non-medical schools of psychology neurosis is a less serious condition than psychosis. Unlike the psychotic, the neurotic hasn’t lost touch with reality but experiences anxiety to a degree that can affect judgement and behavior.

Examples of neuroses would be phobias, obsessions, anxiety, depression, hysteria and hypochondria.

Psychosis, on the other hand, is generally taken as a violent or non-violent break with reality, where normal judgment is severely impaired or non-existent.

To me, this distinction seems a bit arbitrary. Isn’t it more a continuum than an either / or situation?

Psychiatry formally dropped the term neurosis in 1980, although it may come up in so-called talk therapy because the idea permeates the cultural landscape.

Both terms – psychosis and neurosis – are to some extent culturally bound. Psychology and psychiatry are in part indicators of social norms at any given point in modern history. As social norms change, the scientific categorization system often changes with them.

An example that comes to mind of as a middle-aged person is the idea of aliens. As a kid, my parents’ generation would have thought only a real flake would have believed in the possibility of ETs.

Advertidos! by Psicoloco / Alex Torres via Flickr

Today, however, serious inquiry into ETs takes place in several fields.

Considerable scientific research funds are invested around the world in an attempt to detect ETs through the construction and monitoring of large satellite dishes, China being the latest country to step up.

So a belief that was once pretty crazy to one generation is taken seriously by the next.

One can only wonder what will be next. ESP? Telekinesis?

Mind you, some folks do seem to get locked into beliefs and behaviors that aren’t quite in touch with the world around them. So the debate continues, as it should.

Related  » Alien Possession Theory, Compensation, Defense Mechanism, Madness, Obsession

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