Difference between Neurosis and Psychosis

DifferencesMedical Conditions & TreatmentHuman Behaviour

Neurosis and Psychosis are mental disorders. Neurosis causes distress in a person without making them lose the contact with reality whereas in Psychosis an affected individual is not in touch with reality.

What is Neurosis?

Neurosis is a mental or emotional disorder which is identified by anxiety, depression, feelings of unhappiness or stress.

Types of Neurosis

The types of Neurosis include −

  • Anxiety − Response of body out of the thoughts of fear and/or apprehension.

  • Depression − Chronic sadness or persistent feeling of loss of interest.

  • Hysteria − Conversion of psychological stress into physical symptoms due to trauma.

  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder − Occurrence of unwanted thoughts repetitively and compulsion of doing some actions such as cleaning owns hands, surfaces, objects, even they are clean, etc.

  • Phobia − Irrational and intolerable fear about an object, a living creature, a person, or a situation.

Symptoms of Neurosis

An individual affected with neurosis can display multiple symptoms from the following −

  • Behavioural symptoms − Experience of extreme fatigue, anxiety, doubtfulness, or fear, or all at the same time, inability to handle everyday stresses appropriately (for example, trivial arguments or misunderstandings, delays in transportation, an unintended push from a person, etc.). Inability to control own emotions, oscillating between two opposite emotions quickly. Demanding perfectionism. Low self-esteem, overly self-consciousness about appearance, timeliness, cleanliness, Reluctance to make new acquaintances, flying off when one opens a serious conversation with them, eating too much or too less, etc.

  • Cognition − Temporary impairment of memory or learning ability

  • Mood − Irritation, anger, hastiness to get rid of unwanted event, sceptical, dullness

  • Psychology − Constant need of reassurance from others on the things already validated by others, instead removing the stimulus, fixing attention on the stimulus on and on.

  • Physical − Sleep deficit, changes in sleep patterns, stomach upset, Asthma bouts, irritable bowel syndrome.

Causes of Neurosis

Neurosis disorders arise from psychological conflicts between drives, objectives, and impulses between different components of mind. Other causes are disturbance in metabolism of neurotransmitters, changes in hormones, acute vitamins inadequacy, and other biochemicals mandatory for the normal functioning of the nervous system.

Treatment of Neurosis

Psychologists and psychiatrists treat neuroses in a variety of manners. Some of them are −

  • Exposing the patient to the models of appropriate emotion handling so that patients learn by observing and understanding.

  • Making the patient understand their suppressed emotions, feelings, impulses, or painful memories and replacing them with the realistic event interpretations.

  • Advocating antidepressant, antianxiety drugs.

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis is a mental disorder in which an affected individual develops distorted thoughts and perceptions, and disconnects themselves from the reality. Psychosis is severer than Neurosis.

Types of Psychosis

All psychosis disorders come under Schizophrenia range of disorders −

  • Delusional disorder − Inability to tell an imaginary belief from reality.

  • Bipolar disorder − Oscillations between two extreme moods.

  • Post-traumatic Disorder − Developed on experiencing or witnessing a shocking or scary event.

  • Mood disorder − Misaligned and inconsistent moods with circumstances.

  • Schizoaffective disorder − Combination of hallucinations/dilution, anxiety, and depression.

Symptoms of Psychosis

An individual affected with psychosis can display varied symptoms such as −

  • Behavioural symptoms − Speaking nonsense words and moving repetitively, incoherent thoughts, language, and actions, excessive speaking, aggression, irritation, hostility, withdrawal from society, harming themselves, decline in hygiene, loneliness, irregular sleep patterns, eating too much or skipping meals, messy eating, etc.

  • Cognition − Racing disordered thoughts with no specific orientation, disowning thoughts, perceiving an ordinary event as special, difficulty in understanding and thinking.

  • Moods − Anger, tantrums, detachment to own self, nervousness, lack of motivation.

  • Psychology − Experience of hallucinations (false perception by sensory organs like hearing voices when nothing is around/getting tastes when nothing is eaten/feeling touch when not touched/seeing something which is not present around.) and delusion (false belief). These are the most prominent indications appearing in the individual affected with Psychosis.

  • Physical − Overall physical weakness, untidiness, skin diseases.

Causes of Psychosis

Psychosis disorders occur because of changes in brain, facing traumatic events or injuries, or due to substance use. Psychosis can be triggered also due to very high fever, chronic illness or stress, abuse, trauma, or head injury. An individual with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease is likely to see hallucinations. An affected individual could have also be inherited from the previous generations.

Treatment of Psychosis

It is not curable completely, but it is manageable. Clinical psychiatrists can interact with the patient and their direct relatives and try to find underlying reasons. Psychiatrists also can advise to take antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizing drugs. Antipsychotic medicines block the effect of dopamine hormone, which is responsible to transmit and receive messages in the brain.

Difference between Neurosis and Psychosis

Here are some prominent differences between Neurosis and Psychosis:

Key Factor Neurosis Psychosis
Definition Neurosis is a mild mental illness which occurs due to stress, depression, or anxiety. It causes people to have unreasonable fears and worries over a long period of time. Psychosis is a serious mental illness that occurs due to loss of contact with the reality.
Perception of Reality Less or partially distorted, awareness of reality to a large extent. Perception of reality is highly or completely distorted.
Types The types of Neuroses are Hysteria, Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, Phobia (fear) or Philia (friendliness), etc. The types include Schizophrenia, Delusions such as Paranoia, chronic hallucinatory psychosis, Dementia, etc.
Personality Neuroses do not affect the whole personality of the affected individual. Psychoses can change an affected individual’s personality almost entirely.
Language and Communication In Neurosis the language, communication, or thought processes are not affected. They are normal. In Psychosis the thought process and speech are irrational or disorganized.
Awareness of Problem to the affected Individual The individual with Neurosis is aware of their challenges and difficulties. The individual with Psychosis being away from reality is unaware of the issues they are facing or creating.
Occurrence of Hallucination/ Delusion The individual does not experience hallucinations or delusions. The individual experiences Hallucinations and delusions.
Organic Changes It is a mental disorder without organic changes. It changes the anatomical structure and functionality of the nervous system.
Behaviour The affected individual can handle their usual tasks of life and do not lose life skills. They are rarely suicidal. The behaviour doesn’t deviate the individual from social norms. The affected individual cannot manage themselves. They often lead to suicide, and need hospitalization or care at home.
Treatment The treatment consists of moral and social support, medicines can also be prescribed. No hospitalization is required. The treatment consists of antipsychotic medicines, psychological therapy, social support. Hospitalization is required in some cases.
Severity The disease is not severe enough to decapacitate an affected individual because the sense of reality is retained. The disease can decapacitate the affected individual’s emotional, behavioural, and physical normalcy.


Neurosis and Psychosis are both lifelong mental disorders. One can prevent neither, though one can identify and treat them. Intense imbalance of hormones can also add to a mental disorder. However, these two diseases are different on the scale of severity, treatment, and the damage to the affected individuals they make. On identifying and treating the mental diseases correctly, the affected individual can lead a healthy life to a large extent.

Updated on 29-Sep-2022 13:28:14