Another Look At Neurosis: A Review Article
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Neurosis is a disturbance of the mind in which the patient retains contact with reality (Sims, 1968), that is to say, he can still appreciate that his fears or worries are unfounded although, nevertheless, disturbing. Once contact with reality is lost, the disease progresses and enters the more serious category of psychosis. Psychiatric disturbances are becoming increasingly common in society, a change attributed to the greater “stress” of modern life. In Britain a quarter of the patients attending the general practitioner have a predominantly psychiatric complaint (Valentine, 1965), a trend that we can expect to follow as this country “develops”. According to the World Heath Organisation’s International Classification, the two most common neuroses should be called anxiety reaction and neurotic depression. This classification implies that there are two distinct conditions, and yet it is common experience that anxiety and depression are closely associated and that they often- occur together in the same patient. The psychiatrist interprets anxiety as a failure to adapt to a threat from the outside world or a threat from incompletely repressed desires that are struggling to reach consciousness. Depression, on the other hand, is said to be the consequence of an unsatisfied desire for admiration and the attendant threat to one’s self-esteem (Sims, 1968).