Being Neurotic May Help You Live Longer

New York Magazine:

To some people, the word “neurotic” can conjure images of a certain type of psychotherapy: Woody Allen types splayed out on long divans, with Freudian therapists sitting coolly behind them, asking vague questions about Oedipal complexes. Psychology’s come a long way since Freud, though, and today, this scenario feels a bit like an anachronism — and so, in some ways, does the term. In 1994, the condition of “neurosis” was dropped entirely from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, psychiatry’s encyclopedia of mental disorders. Since then, it has been largely replaced by more specific terminologies, like social-anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder.

But that argument didn’t entirely convince Catharine Gale, a professor of cognitive epidemiology at the University of Southampton and the lead researcher of the Psychological Science study.

“Previous studies have been inconsistent,” Gale tells me. “Some of them have found that being high in neuroticism increases your risk of dying prematurely; others have found that it’s been slightly protective.”

Read the whole story: New York Magazine

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