Difference Between Psychosis and Neurosis

Psychosis and neurosis are terms used to describe mental conditions. Sometimes these words are used interchangeably to refer to the same condition.

What is Psychosis?

Psychosis features a loss of perception of reality. In psychosis there are thought disorders, speech disorganization, rigidly held false beliefs (delusions), seeing or hearing things that are not there (hallucinations). Many medical and mental conditions give rise to psychosis. Alcohol and illicit drug use, as well as their withdrawal, steroids, neuro-stimulants, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, meningitis, encephalitis, fits and stroke give rise to psychotic episodes. Psychosis may occur as a part of depression, mania and schizophrenia.  Doctors investigate for all these medical conditions to rule out secondary psychosis.

Blood tests and brain scans give clues for or against clinical suspicions. Antipsychotic drugs and psychotherapy are effective against psychosis. Close contact care prevents drastic deterioration and accidental self- harm due to loss of reality.

What is Neurosis?

Neurosis is a mental state that may result in mental distress. They do not interfere with normal day to day activity. There is a clear perception of reality and goings on in the surrounding environment. The behavior is not outside what is considered as normal. Neurosis refers to a type of invisible injury to the brain function. Some schools believe that every human being suffers from an episode of neurosis in his or her lifetime. There are many types of neurotic disorders. Anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, hysteria, and phobias are chief among them. These conditions may present as individual disorders or as a part of another psychiatric condition. There are no delusions or hallucinations in neurosis. Anxiety features intense apprehension, perception of a threat to survival, sweating, rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure and dilated pupils. This may come spontaneously or triggered by a certain stimulus. Obsessive compulsive disorder features an irresistible need to perform certain acts or need for perfection. Phobias are irrational fear of things that would not be frightening normally.

Graded exposure, flooding, graded withdrawal and hypnosis are some effective psychological interventions used to treat neurotic disorders.

What is the difference between Neurosis and Psychosis?

• Psychosis is a term used to describe symptoms while neurosis refers to a group of disorders.

• Psychosis features delusions and hallucinations while neurosis doesn’t.

• There is an altered perception of reality or a total loss of contact with reality in psychosis while neurosis does not interfere with the perception of reality.

• Psychosis interferes with day to day functions while neurosis does not.

• Psychosis almost always requires pharmacological treatment while neurosis may respond to behavioral therapy only.