Psychologist asked: What is neuroticism?
Neuroticism was once considered a mental functioning disorder. In the 19th century, a lot of medical research was devoted to neurosis as a disease causing significant suffering. In the 1980s, the American Psychiatric Association removed neuroticism from its diagnostic recommendations.
Currently, neuroticism is a personality trait that occurs in all people to varying degrees. People with poorly developed neuroticism do not have any difficulties in functioning, they cope very well with emotions and are quite resistant to stress. However, people who are more neurotic often struggle with various types of difficulties:
- They often worry, including for trivial reasons;
- They are easily distracted;
- They are subject to frequent mood changes;
- They experience severe stress; they quickly become sad and return to a state of balance with great effort;
- Excessive irritability.
Psychologist answers: Why are some people more neurotic than others?
There is no clear answer to this question, but the factors associated with more intense neuroticism include:
- The specificity of how the brain works Some studies indicate a relationship between the intensity of neuroticism and the activity of the prefrontal cortex in uncomfortable situations. More neurotic people, in stressful situations, were characterized by lower oxygen flow in the areas of the cortex responsible for higher cognitive functions, including the rational analysis of information. Further research is necessary to confirm the influence of brain function on neuroticism. However, research conducted so far suggests that neurotics have difficulty controlling their emotions precisely because of insufficiently intense work of certain brain areas engaged when reducing fear.
- Traumatic event in childhood It is believed that experiencing trauma in childhood or early life promotes the development of neuroticism. This effect decreases as the age at which the trauma was experienced increases. People often cannot remember traumatic events, but they still struggle with the effects of this trauma, which still remain in the unconscious zone of the psyche. When neuroticism does not allow normal functioning and the causes of neuroticism are not obvious, it is worth going to psychodynamic therapy in Krakow. A good psychotherapist has various tools with which he can remind the suffering person of content that has been repressed from consciousness.
What are the dangers of excessive neuroticism?
It is true that neuroticism has its positive sides. Neurotic people often achieve professional, material and personal success. Their tendency to analyze and self-criticize drives them to action. Neurotic people are more cautious because they constantly bring to mind content about potential danger.
At the same time, very intense neuroticism does not allow for active coping with negative emotions. A neurotic person is at risk of developing clinical depression and other mental disorders because he or she is prone to prolonged episodes of stress and anxiety.
Neurotics also often encounter difficulties in establishing social contacts. Such people constantly criticize themselves and others, complain and express their dissatisfaction, which means that contact with them is rarely a pleasure. Neurotics are often perceived as aggressive people because they react to unpleasant situations inappropriately to the circumstances. The unpredictability of their reactions is related to the lack of trust of those around them.
A neurotic parent may overwhelm his or her child with excessive concern. Numerous studies show that overprotection often results in children having difficulties coping with stress, lacking the ability to solve life problems, and even developing addictions.
What steps are worth taking?
Although neuroticism cannot be completely eliminated, psychologists believe that it can be learned to control it. First of all, it is worth working on the interpretation of events, modifying their subjective value and learning stress control techniques – the main enemy of neurotics.
The support of a psychodynamic psychotherapist in the early stages of the fight against neuroticism may be necessary. A neurotic person often needs reinforcement from the outside, while taking responsibility for internal changes on himself. In such a case, only a qualified and experienced specialist can find optimal therapeutic measures to help the patient get rid of the ailment as quickly and effectively as possible.