What Is a Neurotic Person?

Reviewed on 6/30/2022

Woman sitting on couch looking anxious
Someone who is considered neurotic may have such personality traits as a tendency toward negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and other negative feelings.

A neurotic person is one who exhibits neurotic personality traits, which include a tendency toward negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and other negative feelings.

Neuroticism is sometimes called one of the “Big 5” personality traits. The other “Big 5” traits include: 

  • Openness to experience 
  • Conscientiousness 
  • Extroversion (opposite of introversion)
  • Agreeableness 
The term “neuroses” is not really used anymore as a diagnosis, and in 1980 it was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III). When the term "neuroses" is used today, it often refers to symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental illness that is not psychotic in nature.

What Are Symptoms of Neuroses?

Symptoms of neuroses include: 

  • Anxiety 
    • Worry
    • Restlessness
    • Feeling on edge
    • Being easily fatigued
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Irritability
    • Muscle tension
    • Sleep disturbance
    • Phobias
  • Depression
    • Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
    • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
    • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
    • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
    • Decreased energy or a sense of being “slowed down”
    • Fatigue
    • Restlessness
    • Irritability
    • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
    • Sleep problems
    • Appetite changes 
    • Frequent mood swings
    • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential. You may also visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information.

What Causes Neuroses?

  • Neuroticism, like other personality traits, is usually caused in part by genetics, and in part by environmental influences.

How Is Neuroses Diagnosed?

The term “neuroses” is not really used anymore as a diagnosis, and in 1980 it was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III).

  • Depression and anxiety disorders are usually diagnosed with a psychological evaluation. 
  • To be diagnosed with depression, symptoms of depression (as listed above) must last at least two weeks and be a change in a person’s previous level of functioning.
  • The American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) provides diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder. 

What Is the Treatment for Neuroses?

Personality traits are not necessarily set in stone and can change over a person’s lifetime. 

Treatments to cope with neurotic traits include: 

  • Psychotherapy 
  • Mindfulness practices 

Treatments for depression include: 

  • Medications
  • Antidepressants 
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Psychotherapies
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
  • Problem-solving therapy
  • Brain stimulation therapies
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) 
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) 
  • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)
  • Light therapy
  • Alternative approaches 
  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation
  • Nutrition 

Therapies used to treat anxiety disorders include:

  • Behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) 
  • Computerized CBT (FearFighter) 
  • Psychodynamic therapy 
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy 
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Supportive psychotherapy
  • Mindfulness therapy

Medications used to treat anxiety disorders include: 

  • Anti-anxiety drugs such as buspirone (BuSpar)
  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines, often used in emergency situations
  • Anticonvulsants 
  • Antihypertensive drugs

Other treatments used for anxiety disorders and anxiety attacks include: 

  • Cranial electrotherapy stimulator (CES)

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Reviewed on 6/30/2022
References
REFERENCES:

Image Source: iStock Images

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/neuroticism

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3463136/

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/286227-overview