The neurotic structure in psychoanalytic psychopathology

The term structure allows us to study the subject of psychoanalytic psychopathology in a comprehensive and simple way.

Let us know that the symptoms, (which are the main reason for consultation when someone goes to a psychoanalyst), usually refer to one of the many symptomatic structures, and this neurosis is one of them.

Thus, what is called a “symptom” is a phenomenon that we could qualify as universal, that we all experience, at one time or another, subjectively and produce sensations of discomfort, in addition to being unpleasant and / or painful.

It should be emphasized that our “symptom” (which causes us discomfort) is easy for anyone to understand and / or identify, because it is a conscious experience of which we are aware. However, their effects (which we perceive based on our own subjectivity) are most intense when felt by a person with neurosis.

Symptom, syndrome and disorder

We differ from the previous one by taking other pathological structures as a parameter.

In more severe clinical cases, such as with psychosisSymptoms are usually stranger and more incomprehensible (unlike neurosis), due to the presence of severe sensory, perceptual and interpretive distortions on the part of the subject.

On the other hand, if several symptoms are grouped together in a fixed and defined pattern, presenting themselves in the same way in different patients, then you get what we call a “syndrome” (depressive, for example). But if the patient’s suffering is severe and his subjective discomfort considerably alters his psychic balance by disrupting his normal functioning, it becomes “messy”.

Let us be clear that the individual way of adapting and defending oneself from the demands of our reality will influence neuroses more than other pathological patterns.

From normal to neurosis

Remember that the separation between normality and neurosis or other mental disorders is not only a nosological problem (description, differentiation and classification of diseases), but also a problem of great magnitude. In other words, the differentiation between normality and discomfort it depends on both the extent of the pathology and the characteristics of a given condition psychodynamics.

At this point (and on the basis of the above), we can consider the term individual susceptibility, i.e. psychic predisposition, to be valid.

The structure of neurosis

The characteristics of a neurotic personality are identified to present an intense sense of internal conflict, as well as a great difficulty in harmonizing impulses, desires, norms and awareness of reality, which can translate as a centered life. on anxiety and insecurity.

Outraged, the configuration of a neurotic structure begins in the events of the individual’s original affective relationship, In the way he manages his aggressiveness and his sexuality, but also in his need for self-assertion and self-esteem.

On the other hand, the origin of a neurotic structure is strongly linked to the individual’s Oedipal fixations, which (by their very nature) arouse various fears, guilt, doubts and anxieties in the face of various events considered to be stressors of a relationship, family conflicts or work difficulties.

As a result of the above, the individual with a neurotic structure he develops a dependence on the affection and esteem that others can bring, Regardless of the value they attach to it or the importance they attach to the subject.

Neurosis and affectivity

As the neurotic’s desire for affection is practically voracious, he begins to experience continuous anxiety, which (clinically) results in emotional hypersensitivity, an excessive demand for attention from others in addition to a state. standing alert pretty awkward.

But something curious contrasts at this point: the subject’s intense desire to gain affection it is equal to their own capacity to feel it and / or to offer it. We point out that it is not uncommon to observe a propensity to hide the need for love under a mask of indifference or manifest contempt for others.

Self-esteem cracks

Likewise, the experience of life without sufficient love as well as adequate narcissistic satisfaction generates a constant feeling of inferiority and incompetence towards others and, as a result, self-esteem is diminished.

Likewise, in the clinical setting it is not uncommon to find people of above average intelligence showing feelings of disability and ideas of highly overdone stupidity, as well as people of great beauty, with ideas of ugliness or flaws that they never believe they can overcome.

On the other hand, in a neurotic structure, there is never a lack of compensatory attitudes on the part of the patient presented in the form of self-praise, he boasted of a constant demonstration (about everything ) and expresses its economic capacity as well as its power and influence within their social circle.

Mentions about travel to various places, professional connections and contacts as well as general knowledge that the individual may have about a specific area cannot be absent either.

Neurotic inhibitions

In the same way, the neurotic patient comes to present personal inhibitions of all kinds within the framework of its particular neurotic structure. These inhibitions can be expressing desires, complaints, praise, giving orders of any kind to others, making criticism (both destructive and constructive) as well as presenting a serious inability to relate to others. people.

These inhibitions also consist of self-determination as a person, knowing clear concepts about one’s own ideals and ambitions as well as collaborating in constructive work with sufficient autonomy.

is also they exhibit / display disinhibitions such as aggressive, intrusive, dominant and extremely demanding behaviors. These people, convinced to be right, can come to order and order, deceive others, criticize or denigrate without measure or control. Or, conversely, projectively, they can express a feeling of deception, trampling or humiliation.

The role of anxiety in the neurotic structure

It is curious to know that, in clinical practice, many neurotics whom they consult seem to complain only of depression, of a feeling of handicap, of various disorders in their sexual life, of a feeling of total incapacity. to exercise effectively (or at least as idealizing) in their work, without obviously realizing an extremely important element: the presence of anxiety, therefore the basic symptom (And main) which is in the deepest part of its neurotic structure.

It is then possible to keep an anxious and hidden anxiety without knowing it, and of course, without realizing that it is a determining factor for their treatment and their well-being.

Unlike the previous one, there are other individuals who, before the smaller indication of an anxiety episode, react disproportionately, exhibiting / displaying feelings of complete helplessness, especially if they are associated with difficulty controlling ideas of weakness or cowardice.

In general, no neurotic individual clearly identifies their anxiety, among other reasons, because the more threatened they feel, the less they will accept that something is wrong with them and (therefore) it needs to be changed.

An indicator of pathological features

Know that the neurotic structure of a person is the antechamber of any neurosis and the determinant of its pathological characteristics.

Although symptoms often vary from person to person or even become absent altogether, treatment anxiety is of great importance because it contains the root of the conflict and concentrates its own psychological suffering.

It is also recalled that, among the symptoms of the various existing neuroses, the similarities between them are more important than the differences present. These differences lie in the mechanisms used to solve the problems. For its part, the similarities have to do with the content of the conflict and the disruption of development.

To note: if you think you have a mental disorder, the first professional you should see is your family doctor. You will be able to determine if the symptoms that lit the warning lights are due to a psychopathology, a medical condition, or both. If psychological suffering is finally diagnosed, the next step is to see a mental health professional.

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