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Mental and emotional disorder that affects only part of the personality, is accompanied by a less distorted perception of reality than in a psychosis, and is characterized by various physiological and mental disturbances (such as visceral symptoms and impaired concentration). The neuroses include anxiety attacks, certain forms of depression, hypochondriasis, hysterical reactions, obsessive-compulsive disorders, phobias, various sexual dysfunctions, and some tics. They have traditionally been thought to be based on emotional conflict in which a blocked impulse seeks expression in a disguised response or symptom. Behavioral psychologists regard them as learned, inappropriate responses to stress, which can be unlearned.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on neurosis, visit Britannica.com.