Defining and Understanding Neuroticism

Neuroticism often gets confused with narcissism or narcissistic people; however, they are two completely different things. We can learn more about neuroticism, what it means to be a neurotic person, and how to know when you need help.

What Is Neuroticism?

Neuroticism is a personality trait, specifically one of the Big 5 Personality traits. The five personality traits are extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. Each personality trait categorizes various feelings and behaviors in scale format.

The personality trait neuroticism focuses on the stability a person may experience. Using the Big 5 Personality trait scale, people will rate themselves as high (neurotic) or low (stable). For example, someone with high neuroticism may be an aggressive, self-conscious, emotional, and anxious individual. On the other hand, someone with low neuroticism will be confident, happy, carefree, calm, and emotionally stable. Learn more about neuroticism with BetterHelp articles!

Common Signs of a Neurotic

Once you understand the definition of neuroticism, you may begin to see signs of it in your life or others’ lives. Those who rate high on the neuroticism scale can be categorized as neurotic. The following signs are common among neurotics.


You may notice that a neurotic has a difficult time controlling and managing their emotions. For example, they are more likely to fall into a deep sadness or depression at some point in their life. They may also bounce back and forth between dramatic feelings. For instance, extreme joy one moment and aggressive irritability ten minutes later. Neurotics also have difficulty managing their stress levels. Small stressors for most people will feel unbearable for someone high on the neuroticism scale.

Mental Health Concerns

Neurotics are more likely to develop a mental health concerns than those with emotional stability. Depression, stress, anxiety, chronic worry, phobias, low self-esteem, and self-consciousness are all common signs of a neurotic. In many cases, these mental health concerns can disrupt a person’s daily life. You could picture a neurotic as an intense pessimist. They tend to look at the world more grimly than others; therefore, they feel more grim emotions as well. In an attempt to protect themselves, they often resort back to feelings of stress, worry, and anxiety.

You Think You Are Neurotic? What Now?


The most common treatment for neurosis is therapy, often psychotherapy. Psychotherapy allows people to sit with a therapist in a relaxed and safe environment. It is there that they can discuss their thoughts and feelings. With a psychotherapist, people can learn more about why they feel the way they do. They can also learn how to manage symptoms that feel impossible to bear.


In more severe cases, individuals may be put on medication in pair with their therapy. Certain medications can assist patients with their phobias, depression, and anxiety. For example, antidepressants and anxiolytic medications can help alleviate feelings of neuroticism.


Many doctors and therapists suggest their patients engage in some form of self-care. Self-care can include breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, music therapy, art therapy, and other relaxing activities. By participating in self-care, patients can practice various calming techniques that can aid them in managing their emotions.

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