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Classification according to ICD-10
R45.0 nervousness
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

Nervousness is an inner state of mind of people (and also animals ) ( syn . Restlessness ), which is represented by removal from the state of rest and reduction or loss of calm . Characteristic for this term, which is often used colloquially, is the widespread and naturalized largely scientific-historical hypothesis of a psychophysical correlation , i.e. a connection between nerve functions and mental well-being or state of mind.

The inner "nervous condition" can make itself visible to the outside, through recognizable restlessness such as B .:

  • rapid eye movements, eyelid flutter,
  • restless hand and arm position,
  • Walk back and forth,
  • changed, raised voice and fast, less controlled speaking,
  • Sweats
  • Racing heart
  • Tremble
  • other control reduction,
  • many more expressions of body language .

These symptoms are to be regarded as variable and multifaceted.

Nervousness can be triggered by situations of tension (e.g. exams, impending difficult life situations or conversations).

Nervousness can also be a trait that belongs to the character of a person (or animal: in horses, for example).

Colloquial terms are “nerve suffering” as a synonym for mental illness or “nerve crisis” as a synonym for a stronger emotional reaction to an experience perceived as stressful or as an expression of a phase of life perceived subjectively as critical.

Nervousness (in the sense of a state of restlessness ) is also a common term for medical diagnosis and therapy .


Nervousness is a term based on a scientific history, especially in the German and English-speaking countries. The assumption of the somatics that nerve functions make up the mental well-being goes back to antiquity, but there was a widespread acceptance of these theses, especially in the 18th century. Representatives of these theories were u. a. George Cheyne and William Cullen . Cullen coined the term neurosis . Colloquial terms such as " Spleen " that are still used in Germany today go back to this time. Later, the term neurasthenia was also used for nervous disorders associated with altered mental well-being.


Web links

Wiktionary: nervousness  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Nervous crisis. and nervous disorders. In: Uwe Henrik Peters : Dictionary of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology. 3. Edition. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Munich 1984, p. 368.
  2. Martin Lindig: Pain, Sedation and Anesthesia. In: Jörg Braun, Roland Preuss (Ed.): Clinic Guide Intensive Care Medicine. 9th edition. Elsevier, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-437-23763-8 , pp. 581–618, here: p. 588 ( Therapy for restlessness, psychosis and delirium ).
  3. ^ William Cullen : First Lines of the Practice of Physic, for the Use of Students . 1777.
  4. George Cheyne : The English Malady. or, A Treatise of Nervous Diseases of All Kinds, as Spleen, Vapors, Lowness of Spirits, Hypochondriacal and Hysterical Distempers with the Author's own Case at large. Dublin 1733. (Facsimile: Eric T. Carlson (Ed.), Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1976, ISBN 0-8201-1281-X )