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Difference Between Neurosis and Psychosis

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An Introduction

Neurosis and psychosis are two distinct types of mental disorders. Neurosis is a minor disorder that is characterized by physical and mental disturbances. Psychosis is a major disorder related to personality characterized by emotional and psychological disruptions. 



Neurosis is a set of mental disorders that involve chronic distress, but they do not include delusions and hallucinations. Neurosis is also known as neurotic disorder or psychoneurosis and is of different types:

  • Hysteria.

  • Impulse control disorder.

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

  • Anxiety.

  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Neurosis involves sadness, depression, irritability, anxiety, anger, confusion, and so on. We can say that neurosis is the inability of a person to change their life pattern and the inability to develop a more complex, satisfying personality.

  • Neuroses are generally rooted in ego defense strategies, but both are not the same. Defense strategies are a common way of maintaining a sense of self. The thoughts that give rise to struggle or difficulties can be called neurosis.

  • A person suffering from neurosis faces an unconscious conflict and emotional distress, which leads to different mental problems. The person might also be neurotic due to some natural disaster that he witnessed and cannot overcome the thoughts leading to emotional instability.

  • Neurosis can happen to a person who has been through a traumatic event, and the thoughts of the events make it difficult for him to forget the incident and cause anxiety, which is a primary symptom of neurosis.

  • Every person constructs his ideal image by the experiences he has gone through, his needs, fantasies, and the facilities given to him. A person tends to get into ego defense mechanisms at times and when these mechanisms lead to emotional distress, we call it neurosis.

  • Psychologists and psychiatrists conduct the treatment of neurosis in various ways. Helping the ill person to start being aware of feelings, traumatic memories, repressed impulses that cause the symptoms, and then helping the person to have a growth in his personality by deeper self-understanding can cure neurosis. 

  • A person can also be cured by watching or learning from examples. Discussing thoughts that contribute to the symptoms of neurosis and gradually replacing those thoughts with better interpretations of surroundings can be quite useful in curing neurosis.

  • The conventional way of providing medicines can also work for a neurosis patient. Shock therapies can resolve some cases. Most therapists go with a combination of all the different treatments to help the person get better with the conditions.



A serious mental illness that causes hallucinations, delusions, faults in judgments, and other such processes is called psychosis. The term refers to the Greek word psyche, which means soul or breath. In other words, psychosis happens when a person has forgotten the essence of his life, and the person has designed their view of life, which is not shared by others.

  • The primary symptoms of psychosis consist of delusions and hallucinations. That means a person is in a state of imagination, and he thinks that he is living in that image rather than actual reality.

  • A person who has psychosis tends to commit suicide or have suicidal tendencies. The change in the function of the brain usually causes delusions and hallucinations.

  • Psychosis is of two types:

  1. Functional psychosis.

  2. Organic psychosis.

  • The most common and severe psychosis is Schizophrenia. The symptoms appear in the teen years. Disorganized speech, lack of emotional expression, and lack of energy are the major symptoms besides hallucinations and delusions.

  • The above symptoms, which lasted for more than six months, can disable a person's functioning. The duration of the disease is not constant. Clinical scans and history are vital in the diagnosis of psychosis. Early detection of the disorder can help in improving the outcomes in the long term. Later discovery can affect and cause acute phases of psychosis.

  • The diagnosis of psychosis is done through scanning and also questioning the family about the behavioural changes. Many diseases can show symptoms of psychosis, such as brief psychotic disorder, Schizophrenia, delusional disorder, bipolar psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, depression, and postpartum.

  • The traditional curing or treatment methods include antipsychotic drugs. A stay in the hospital is a must when the phase of the ailment is acute. At times when a patient goes out of control, tranquilization is used for immediate relaxation of the person so that he does not harm himself.

  • The use of psychotherapy will also help in treating residual symptoms and cognitive symptoms of psychotic disorders.

  • If the patient is in the phase of maintenance, the family and the surroundings need to see that no interventions are happening; it can cause a psychotic episode.

  • Sometimes psychosis can be secondary and a hint to a bigger problem such as brain tumour, Alzheimer's disease, some kinds of epilepsy, and HIV.   


Neurosis and Psychosis Difference Table



The set of neuro-physical disorders that occur in a specific clinical phenomenon due to the absence of psychical phenomena. 

Psychosis is a severe mental disorder that can be identified by loss of contact along with reality and profound disturbance in relationships with people, leading to ill social health.

Neurosis also has fearful neurosis, hysteria, neurasthenia, phobic disorders, etc.

The types of psychoses are a bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia, chronic hallucinations, epilepsy, senile dementia, etc.

Neurosis does not affect the personality of the being.

Changes in personality are evident in the case of psychosis.

The contact with reality is not entirely changed but is undoubtedly affected.

Contact with reality is lost or changed.

The affected person is aware of his surroundings.

The affected person is not aware of his disorder or his surroundings.

Communication and language are not affected by neurosis.

There is a certain discrepancy in communication and language.

There is no hallucination or delusion for a person suffering from neurosis.

Delusion and hallucination are the main symptoms in the case of a person who has psychosis.

There is no organic reason for the cause of neurosis, and it is a purely functional illness.

Pathofunctinal and pathomorphological changes within the body accompany psychosis. The anatomical structure of neuro cerebral substances is affected.

Biological, psychological, socio-psychic climate, socio-economic, and pedagogical factors can cause neurosis.

Genetic, environmental, and biochemical factors can cause psychosis.

The person affected by neurosis can take care of themselves and are suicidal in rare cases. There is no necessity for hospitalization.

The person who has psychosis cannot take care of themselves. They tend to suicide and must get treated at the hospital.

Psychological treatment is a must for giving social and moral support for a person suffering from neurosis.

Antipsychotic medicines, social support, and psychological therapy are compulsory for a person affected by psychosis.



Neurosis and psychosis are not similar types of mental disorders. Neurosis is less significant and only a mental impact that can be cured by support from peers and also discussions with experts. Psychosis is a severe ailment that is both emotional and functional. The person with psychosis has a madness and can harm himself if not cared for properly. Hospitalization is a must to some extent in neurosis and a greater extent in psychosis.

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FAQs on Difference Between Neurosis and Psychosis

1.What is the importance of mental health in today’s world?

Mental health is extremely important in the modern world. We live in a globalized world where Social Media is the new norm of the world; almost all adults have a smartphone and have access to connect with anyone on the planet. While there are obvious benefits that have come due to social media, there have also been some worries like the mental health consequences which the children of today face. This needs proper guidance and parental help to help children understand what is real and what is not.

2. What should one do when someone is facing Neurosis or Psychosis?

Neurosis and Psychosis are both conditions of mental disorder where the individual loses its ability to rational think and starts hallucinating and loses their sense of judgment. In such a scenario, the individual must reach out to his family and friends. Parents have an important role to play in such circumstances. Immediate help from a psychiatrist or mental health expert must be sought, which would help the individual.

3. What can we do to raise awareness about mental health issues?

Mental health has become an epidemic in our society; with the rise of atomization of society, people have developed a kind of disaffection towards the community life and closed themselves towards the outside life. This leads to a kind of disillusionment among people, which makes them think that they would be better off if they lived their life alone and without as little contact with the outside as possible. Civil society must take up this issue and raise awareness about mental health.

4. What are the causes and treatment of psychosis?

Psychosis is a very serious mental condition. Major causes of psychosis include genetic factors- Research shows that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may have a common genetic cause. The second factor is Hormones- Some people experience postpartum after giving birth. Due to this, some experts have suggested that hormonal factors may play a role in those with genetic susceptibility.  Psychosis can be disruptive, but treatment is available to help people manage it.

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