Id is the basic feeling that all individuals have to situtations in life, like the feeling of robbing a bank to make money when one goes to a bank and sees all that mony lying around. This is without morals oe ethics. On the other hand the superigo is a practical feeling that is purely on ethics and morality. It does not allow the id to gain control, and tries to maintain a balance in the life. However a continuous collision between thse maechanisms leads to anxiety. It is here that the ego, which is the reality of the indivivual uses defence mechanisms to rationalise the balacne between the id and the superego. To be able to protect the ego from anxiety, defence mechanisms are used. If they are not used then the mental health of an individual will suffer. However if they are used out of control, once more it can be damaging to individuals mental health.

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These are mechanisms an individual uses to explain actions and do what is right based on his or her social and educational status. Some of the mechanisms are:

i           Denial:

this is the refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening. The person starts fighting against  an anxiety provoking stimuli by stating it doesn’t exist. Denial is probably one of the best known defense mechanisms, used often to describe those who seem unable to face reality or admit and obvious truth. This simple mechanism allows the treatmetn of anxiety provoking stimuli by simply shutting it out of conscious mind. However prolonged denial can lead to severe mental and physical maladaptations. Denial is an outright refusal to admit or recognize that something has occurred or is currently occurring. A common example of this situation is that of a mother, when faced with the sudden and unexpected death of her young son. Initially she will refuse to accept this news outright. Then she will just not bother about this news, acting in a seemongly nornal manner, as if nothing has happened, even perhaps making things for her son, which he may like very much. This may actually continue for some time, before eventually she breaks down to the reality of the siutation. Failure to do so will lead to development of a psychiatrci state of mind.

ii          Intellectualization

this is a mechanism that allow alleviation of  anxiety by thinking about events in a cold, disconnected manner. This defense mechanism allows us to avoid thinking about the stressful, emotional aspect of the situation and focus only on the intellectual component. This may be better understood when a person is diagnosed with HIV infection. Instead of acknowledging the illness and accepting that he is suffereing from a untreatable condition, he will put all his efforts on the learning about the disease and its manifestations. This behaviour allows him to alleviate his anxiety by absorbing himself in the study of the disease.

iii         Rationalization

this is  a defense mechanism that involves explaining an unacceptable behavior or feeling in a rational or logical manner. This is simply undertood by a situation where a person is denied a visa to enter a country. The affected person instead of feeling anxious over it, thinks that that country any way had nothing to offer to him, and maybe starts looking at other places to visit. He constantly explains to to others, that this particular country or the visa officer are useless, and he never wanted to go there in the first place.


Freud’s theory of the mental apparatus: motivation, structure, and functioning. Gelder, Michael G., Lopez-Ibor, Juan J., Andreasen, Nancy.  Eds. New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry (1st Edition) Oxford University Press, 2000

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