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What is Depressive Neurosis? Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Depressive neurosis is characterized by emotional commitment. By that we mean it’s not just that the person feels that an environment is hostile in an exaggerated and irrational way – as is typical with conventional neurosis. With this type, people experience intense and constant depressive states.

In fact, people that are affected by this issue show certain behavior that is characteristic of depression. Basically, an extremely negative perception of reality is what causes an overall reduction in mood.

In the majority of cases, there are also physical symptoms. In other words, the intense drop in mood brings physical discomfort, like headaches, muscle tension, and problems with sleeping, among others.

What are the causes of depressive neurosis?

According to psychoanalysis, which is where the term depressive neurosis comes from, this is caused by a psychogenic condition that develops from traumatic experiences.

In fact, there are two large groups of trauma that cause this kind of neurosis. In the first group, we find recurring failures in specific areas in a person’s life that generate a learned helplessness. This is where people come to believe that no matter how hard they try to be successful, they never will be.

Secondly, we have what are known as ‘deprivation facts’. These are experiences that distance a person from their sources of security. For example, people that have had to abandon their family somewhat abruptly.

Regardless of what caused the trauma, the trigger for this type of neurosis is difficult to overcome. With that in mind, it’s clear that no one is immune to it; the difference lies in the intensity of the negativity and in a person’s ability to move on from the situation.

Symptoms of depressive neurosis

The main symptoms of this psychopathology range from irritable behavior to apathy. When in that state, a person could seem to be euphoric when upset or indifferent to any situation.

Let’s take a look at a list with the most characteristic symptomatology of depressive neurosis.

  • Excessive pragmatism: When someone conforms to repetitive routines in an intense way, like a ritual.
  • Apathy: A lack of drive to do any kind of activity or even get themselves moving. It usually comes with a physical sensation of tiredness.
  • Introverted behavior: It’s common for people in this state to isolate themselves from the world to avoid feeling vulnerable to the dangers of the outside world.
  • Indecisiveness: A lack of drive can also reflect in the way the person makes decisions; people that seem incapable of making concrete decisions in any area of their life.
  • Feelings of guilt: The person sees themself as the responsible party for the negative things they’ve experienced.
  • Anxious behavior: The pattern of anxious thinking is a recurrent symptom; people assume that whatever they do will end badly even before they’ve begun.

Additionally, other psychiatric symptoms of this illness are related to a low tolerance for frustration. Similarly, they may have outbursts of uncontrollable rage in a sudden or irrational way.

Also, some physical symptoms are important to bear in mind:

  • Insomnia or other alterations in sleeping.
  • Excessive sweating of the hands or other parts of the body.
  • Tension headaches: When there’s an intense pain in your head caused by excessive muscle contraction in certain muscle groups of the brain.

How can we treat it?

As we’ve seen, this illness is made up of signs and symptoms that also belong to neurosis and depression. It’s for that reason that the treatment should be dual-focused. Below, we’ll see which approaches mental health care professionals use the most.

1. Psychiatric treatment

Psychiatric treatments include medication with some drugs to control a person’s mood. Psychiatrists prescribe antidepressants that act effectively against some neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline).

You should follow guidance when taking pharmaceutical treatment to ensure the dosages are controlled. Also, in these cases, it’s common for the psychiatrist to work with the psychologist, who will be working on the emotional aspect.

2. Cognitive behavioral therapy

This style of psychological therapy looks at restructuring dysfunctional thought patterns. By this, we mean it aims to change your poorly adjusted mental patterns for ones that are more functional. The success comes from conversational sessions.

3. Brief solution-based therapy

This kind of therapy aims to help in short periods of time. It tackles patients’ problems with the most effective resources for each case.

Brief solution-based therapy doesn’t place emphasis on what caused the conflict. It’s particularly effective when the psychologist works with the psychiatrist. This way you can deal with your mood from an emotional point of view.

4. Systemic therapy

Those close to people with depressive neurosis may not be able to fully understand what’s happening to their loved one. For that reason, it’s essential to include them in the therapeutic process.

Systemic therapy aims to detect the conflicts in a dynamic or system compromised of several people. For example, families or romantic relationships.

Does depressive neurosis have a cure?

In a similar way to the majority of psychiatric disorders, depressive neurosis can be treated over the long term. It’s important we clarify this so you can accurately manage your expectations. However, a patient with this diagnosis can overcome it and live a full life over time.

The difference between those who improve and those who don’t is related to whether the person has a support network of relatives or caregivers, especially since those that have the disorder don’t always have the drive to continue attending consultations.

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