As a self-described neurotic, news that my neurosis may lead me to an early grave did not surprise me in the least. Unlike many neurotics who may read this story, however, I will not be adding "fear of premature death" to my list of things I like to worry about. There are too many things there as it is!
So who, exactly, is neurotic? Anyone who is constantly worried, anxious, or prone to depression, according to these researchers. (According to Freud? Neurotics are the normal people, if by "normal" you mean average!) But it’s not anxiety or depression that will necessarily do them in — it’s that they tend to drink and smoke more than “normal” folks do — with smoking being the worst thing they can do to themselves. (25 to 40 percent of the link between being neurotic and an early death was related to smoking — not drinking.)
Participants were asked questions like "Do you usually worry a long time after a distressing incident?” and "Are you sometimes sad without any particular reason?" to determine how neurotic they were.
Neurosis, I think, gives people an interesting edge, so as long as they cut down on the boozing and the cigarettes — worry away! I'm kidding. Kind of.