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Dr. R. Grunsten Content Administrator Updated on: 13/05/2020

What is the difference between neurosis and psychosis: the difference in symptoms, comparative table

People who are not related to medicine are often confused with the definition of neurosis and psychosis, and yet these States have nothing in common, the difference between them is very large, and it is important to know the differences at least to understand which specialist to seek help in case of problems.

To Distinguish neurosis from psychosis will help medical definitions, main characteristics and a comparative table, which clearly shows the differences between these diseases.

The Difference between neurosis and psychosis: comparison table

Without going into details, we note that neurosis differs from psychosis in virtually all indicators: the causes, the beginning, and course of the disease, the characteristic symptoms, the patient's attitude to his condition and, of course, the approach to treatment.

For clarity, the main differences are shown in the table:

Clinical picture and treatment principles Neurosis Psychosis
Start of the disease Often occurs immediately after severe stress or injury Starts almost asymptomatically. It is very difficult to determine the exact date of the onset of the disease
Criticism of the disease Person is aware that they are ill and is ready to take measures to solve the problem Patient denies having problems and does not want to be treated
Manifestations of the disease Characteristic symptoms of neurosis are usually somatoform: there may be increased sweating, rapid heartbeat, fever, chills, or a combination of them When psychoses occur, illusions and hallucinations of various types
Personality Change Patient's Identity does not change Patient's Personality is undergoing significant changes
Hospitalization Not required. The patient is not dangerous to others Required. The patient can harm both others and himself
Specialists Treatment of neuroses engaged in psychotherapists Psychiatrists Treat psychoses

Characteristic of neurosis

Neurosis is not a disease, but a painful condition that combines a whole group of psychogenic disorders and is traditionally considered as a functional disorder of the higher nervous activity of the GNI.

Neurosis is not unambiguously defined either in biology or medicine, but it is more or less familiar to everyone. Only in Russia, according to who, up to 75% of the population suffers from neurotic disorders, and every year this frightening figure is steadily growing.

Brief Introduction to Psychosis

Neuroses are dangerous. They can cause a lot of inconveniences, up to complete disability. But if you contact a specialist promptly and follow the recommendations, they are completely curable. Neurologists and psychotherapists treat these types of disorders.

The Forms of neurosis are quite diverse. They can be divided into two large groups. The first group includes States associated with stress: various phobias, in which anxiety is provoked by external situations and objects that are not currently dangerous. The second group includes conditions associated with physiological (physical) disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, etc.


A Term that combines several interdependent fears. For example, the fear of leaving the apartment and entering the store. Fear of traveling and being in a crowd.

The Clinical picture of agoraphobia is very diverse. In most cases, there are symptoms such as dizziness, migraines, nausea, or palpitations. The intensity of anxiety can vary from mild discomfort to panic terror.

Women get sick more often than men. The onset of the disease occurs mainly in adulthood. The main danger is that the patient can completely isolate himself from society, closing "within four walls".

Social phobias

Neuroses that combine fears associated with being in society. Isolated (such as drinking or eating in public) or diffuse (including most situations that occur outside the family circle). Often combined with a panic fear of criticism and low self-esteem. Often accompanied by tremors of the hands, redness of the skin, urge to urinate, sudden nausea and vomiting.

Specific phobias

A Term that combines fears that are limited by strictly defined circumstances (the type of blood, being near an object, a thunderstorm, flying in an airplane, being treated by a doctor, etc.). they usually appear in childhood or adolescence and, without proper treatment, persist throughout life. The severity of the discomfort resulting from specific phobias depends on whether the traumatic situation is easily avoided.

Paroxysmal alarm

A Group of phobias that are not limited to certain situations. Fears arise suddenly. They are unpredictable and paroxysmal.

They usually Last a few minutes.

They are accompanied by chest pain, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, a sense of derealization and depersonalization (loss of a sense of the reality of what is happening).

Obsessive-Compulsive disorders

Neurosis characterized by repeated actions or thoughts over and over again. Drives, images, or ideas that are almost always aggressive or painful.

The Disorder is characteristic of both men and women. It appears, as a rule, in adolescence and eventually flows into a chronic form. Often accompanied by depression.

Anorexia Nervosa

A disorder that is characterized by intentional weight loss caused directly by a sick person. It often occurs in adolescent girls and young women. The clinical picture is easily recognized: the bodyweight is at least 15% less than expected. A super-valuable obsession is the horror of obesity.

Bulimia Nervosa

A Disorder in which a strong craving for food is combined with a painful fear of obesity. A sick person rushes "from extreme to the extreme", is prone to abuse laxative medications or cause vomiting.

There Are other physiological disorders: sexual dysfunction, sleep disorders, etc. However, in practice, they are usually handled by specialists of a narrow profile.

Characteristic of psychosis

Psychosis is a serious mental illness that is often not cured, but only corrected by psychiatrists.

Depending on the chronological regularity of the manifestation of psychosis is divided into episodic or periodic.

Episodic psychosis

Psychoses characterized by motor disorders, affective disorders, and pseudomanic States.

Movement disorders are manifested in the form of stupor. Patients freeze in unnatural poses, with wide-open eyes, an expression of suffering on their faces. Stupor can be replaced by increased motor or speech activity. Aggression towards others.

Affective disorders are most often manifested by dysphoria. Patients are embittered, withdrawn, tearful, prone to monotonous lamentations. Less often there are fears, depression or euphoria, accompanied by illusory disorders or hallucinations.

Periodic psychoses

Pseudomedical condition manifested senestopatii, the rough monotonous pranks, hypochondriacal statements. Possible visual hallucinations, delusions of jealousy or persecution.

The Symptoms of psychosis are extremely extensive. In mild or severe form, a variety of disorders can be present. Namely:

  • Emotional disorder. Distortions of emotional reactivity (quantitative and qualitative changes in emotions), sensory sphere (progress or regression of feelings), and mood (its decrease or increase). Patients experience higher feelings (personal dignity, aesthetic satisfaction) or, on the contrary, lower (arising from instincts or basic needs). They fall into depression and melancholy or experience euphoria and ecstasy. Possible sharp transitions from one state to another, the emotional inadequacy, ambient intensity, parapodia or paratime.
  • Disorder of consciousness. Distortion of perception, memory, and abstract thinking. Illusions and hallucinations. Patients can not build logical connections between words, make unexpected conclusions, give random meaning to certain concepts, distort phrases without new semantic content. They can't remember recent events, but they can recall distant ones. They are disoriented in time, space, and their personality. Hallucinations are mostly visual: polytopic, hemianopsia, microscopic, autoscopic, like Charles bonnet. Black and white or color. Extracampine, scene-like, and others.
  • Psychomotor disorders. Patients speak and move too slowly or too quickly. The transition from Hypo - to hyperactivity is unpredictable. The four-Holm reflex is enhanced.
  • Sleep-Wake rhythm disorders. Patients experience drowsiness during the day, but do not fall asleep at night. They sleep restlessly and have nightmares that can turn into hallucinations when they Wake up. In severe cases, there may be an inversion of the sleep-Wake rhythm or total loss of sleep.

Brief Introduction to Psychosis

Neuroses differ significantly from psychoses. Also, the forms of these disorders differ from one another. But occasionally in medical practice is found in the psychoneurosis, which combines the symptoms of both diseases.

Don't self-medicate. Symptoms are often blurred, which makes it difficult to diagnose. Only a qualified specialist can help you find peace of mind.

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