As reported by the World Health Organization in 2016, one in four people suffer or will suffer from some kind of mental disorder in their lifetime.
And it is that the human psyche is continually subjected to great tensions, environments and problematic situations which facilitate the appearance of states of great suffering or great difficulties or even inability to face the source of their discomfort. This is why the figure of the psychologist will continue to be more and more necessary all over the world, as a support figure with which to achieve the necessary overcoming or treatment.
There are many reasons that can cause a person to need psychological help, but some of them are more common than others. This is why throughout this article we will reflect several of the most common reasons for psychological counseling, As well as its characteristics and symptoms.
The most common reasons for psychological counseling
Below, we leave you with a total of sixteen of the most common reasons for a client or patient to go to a psychologist (some of them focus or specialize in certain areas). Among them, we can find mental disorders with complex situations that are difficult to manage but do not necessarily include the existence of a disorder, such as those related to interpersonal relationships.
There are other issues such as personality disorders as well, but although many are relatively common, they are usually not a cause for consultation.
1. Adaptive disorder
One of the most common reasons for a clinic visit, and which refers to more than a disorder a response to greater anxiety, stress, or emotional distress greater than expected and with an assignment to various levels of functionality in the daily life of the subject which arise from a clearly identifiable stressful situation or event, which is the cause of the impairment and which occurs within three months (usually before the month) following the event in question.
If the person manages to resolve this situation, the discomfort eventually goes away within six months.
This is the case, for example, of people who have lost their jobs, who suffer from stress at work, who have emigrated and still do not feel at home as such, who have separated, who suffer from bullying. or intimidation, who have been deported or who have been diagnosed with illness.
This is painful situations in which they generate severe and / or continuous stress that goes beyond the topic and is unclear how to deal with, although they usually do not require psychological treatment beyond support and counseling (unless it is complicated and some other type of impairment expands).
Major depression it is the most common mental disorder in the world (With anxiety-related disorders).
Depression is understood as a disorder in which, for at least two weeks, continuously for most of the day on most days (and a context in which the self, the environment and the future are seen as a form negative), a number of symptoms have been experienced including (and at least one of them is necessarily present) the presence of a sad mood and anhedonia or loss of ability to feel pleasure in things that were previously satisfactory.
Other common symptoms are sleep problems (insomnia and hypersomnia), loss of appetite and / or libido, difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, passivity, guilt or worthlessness, isolation and thoughts of death.
3. Anxiety: panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder
As just noted, alongside depression (and usually co-morbid) anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems or disorders. There are many anxiety disorders, some of which are common panic disorders or generalized anxiety disorders.
The first of them is characterized by the presence of recurring episodes of panic attacks in which appear physiological symptoms such as sweating, palpitations, chest pain, intestinal discomfort or suffocation, often alongside the fear of dying from these symptoms, going mad or losing control and next to the unrealized and depersonalized feeling (having the feeling that the environment or the person himself seems unreal).
These seizures and the associated discomfort cause the onset of anxiety and panic. faced with the idea that they are repeated or possible consequencesThis can lead to avoidant behavior which in turn greatly limits the subject’s life.
Generalized anxiety disorder involves the existence for at least six months of constant anxiety and worries that are difficult to control due to different causes (which may vary and refer to aspects that the subject himself may rationally consider irrelevant. ) and that you cause fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, Blood pressure and / or sleep problems. This is why it is important to find a psychologist who can deal with this type of problem.
Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder extremely prevalent in our society and based on the existence of a high level of fear, fear and anxiety (at a level that the subject himself often recognizes as irrational or disproportionate) when faced with the proximity of some kind of stimulus or situation, which is even capable of causing panic attacks or anxiety attacks.
Due to the fear or panic generated, the subject perform behaviors and actions that prevent phobic stimulation or he will remain in his presence but will experience extreme anxiety.
This definition immediately suggests specific phobias, such as blood / injection / pain, phobia of flight, phobia of certain animals (particularly frequent in these are those related to spiders, insects and dogs), phobia of height or claustrophobia. In addition to the above and other specific phobias, we can find other very common cases: social phobia or agoraphobia.
5. Neurodevelopmental disorders
While when we talk about a consultation with a psychologist we usually think of the patient as an adult or a teenager, the truth is that it is also very common (and in fact it is one of the types of population on which in less time to make a consultation, given the concern that most parents have for their children) meet psychologists specializing in child psychology. And while it is possible to find different mental disorders in children, some of the most commonly seen are the so-called neurodevelopmental disorders.
One of the most common reasons for consultation with neurodevelopmental disorders is specific learning disability (Including, for example, dyslexia or dyscalculia), as well as attention deficit disorder with (or without) hyperactivity or ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (including old Asperger’s).
Communication or motor disorders (such as tics or Tourette’s disorder) are also common.
6. Addictions and Substance Use Disorders
An addiction is defined as the usual performance / consumption of a certain type of behavior that generates physical or psychological dependence depending on the organism, it acquires a tolerance to it and over which control is lost, generating the attempt to stop this behavior a state of great discomfort, desire for consumption / accomplishment of the conduct and anxiety (with possible symptoms physiological conditions that depend on the case, they can even lead to death) and continue – knowing that this has consequences for the health or functionality of the person.
In this sense, some of the addictions the most common are those related to substances, among which they emphasize the addiction to alcohol, cannabis (Despite popular belief its habitual use if it can be addictive), cocaine or heroin. In addition to the addiction itself, they can treat heavy drinking (without the addiction having been reached yet) or other related disorders (for example, induced psychosis).
Coming back to addictions themselves, there are also behavioral addictions such as compulsive shopping, addiction to new technologies (including cell phones, video games), sexual addiction, or socio-emotional addictions.
7. Post-traumatic stress disorder
Another reason for consultation is known as post-traumatic stress disorder, an alteration in which consequence of having lived or witnessed a traumatic experience (Sexual abuse, attempted murder, war conflicts …) the person who has been the victim or who has witnessed it again experiences the event in intrusive and persistent thoughts and memories, nightmares, physiological reactions , a feeling of foreshortening of the future, hyperalertia or hyperactivation, loss of interest, possible feelings of guilt, possible dissociations such as psychogenic amnesia, depersonalization or unrealization, anxiety and agitation or behaviors avoidants among others.
8. Cognitive impairment and dementia
While in this case we are talking about a reason for consultation which is generally limited to neuropsychiatry and neuropsychology, and is not so common in other types of psychological consultation, the importance of cognitive disorders must be mentioned. and in particular dementia within psychology and psychiatry.
This type of condition they often cause great suffering both to those who suffer from them and to their loved ones and caregiversAs affected individuals lose their mental faculties over time, their nervous system suffers from progressive neuronal degeneration.
The work generally focuses on rehabilitation and maintenance of autonomy and functions as long as possible, the search for compensatory strategies and cognitive stimulation in order to preserve impaired functions as much as possible.
9. Managing emotions, self-esteem and personal interaction problems
It is more common than you might think that the reason for seeing a psychologist is not a mental disorder per se, but the existence of difficulties in aspects such as managing emotions (Highlighting anger or sadness), looking for ways to increase the level of self-esteem (for example in people who have suffered continuously from bullying at school or at work) or having difficulty establishing stable personal relationships , deep and consistent without the need for there is (although in some cases it may be) a disorder behind it.
All of this can be approached from different perspectives and techniques.
10. Couple and family conflicts
Another relatively common reason for psychological counseling occurs among family and couple therapy specialists. The issues addressed in this regard they are usually based on conflict, a lack of communication and dysfunctional dynamics and roles in relationships, And the existence of any type of disorder is not necessary (although in some cases the cause of the conflict may be an organic disease or a mental disorder).
11. Sexual dysfunctions
While in general, this is something that until recently was taboo and many people who suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction experience it with shame (Which in many cases leads not to consult), the normalization of sexuality and the search for a satisfactory sexuality mean that little by little this type of problem is consulted more and more by professionals.
While in some cases we are dealing with a problem of organic cause, these problems often have either a cause or a significant psychological component (such as anxiety). It highlights erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation as the most common problems in men, while hypoactive sexual desire is most prevalent in women (followed by female orgasmic disorder).
12. Eating disorders
Particularly linked to the culture of the cult of the body and the canons of beauty of our time and our society, eating disorders are a reality that in recent times has dramatically increased in the prevalence.
It is one of the few types of mental disorders that can lead to the death of those who suffer without direct action for this purpose, and some of them are considered very dangerous.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are most common, especially in pubertal and young women (although they can appear in childhood, in adulthood, and although they usually occur in a lesser degree. also measured in men). In addition to this, there is also binge eating disorder or avoidance / restriction of food intake.
13. Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by the presence of obsessive thoughts, Which are recurring, egodistonic and intrusive thoughts that are experienced with great anxiety and guilt by the sufferer and often involve performing rituals to reduce the level of anxiety, rituals called compulsions which, although at the anxiety slightly decreases, eventually the appearance of intrusive thoughts, forming a continuous cycle between obsession and compulsion which largely occupies the subject’s time and generates great suffering.
14. Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
Another common type of patient consultation by professionals in psychology and psychiatry is people with psychotic disorders.
Of particular note is schizophrenia, probably one of the most well-known and most widespread mental disorders among those of the psychotic spectrum (with a prevalence of around 1% of the general population).
This disorder is characterized by the presence for at least six months of symptoms such as hallucinations (usually auditory) and delusions, disorganized language, restlessness or derailment of language, catatonia, Poverty of thought or allergy, abulia or apathy, being necessary that at least one of the first three is present.
15. Bipolar disorder
Another of the most prominent affective disorders, bipolar disorder is characterized by the presence of one or more manic episodes (characterized by extreme euphoria, irritability and hostility and can lead to fights and conflicts, thoughts and even delusions of grandeur, decreased judgment, sleep and eating disorders, risky behaviors and high impulsivity, among others) which may be alone or followed / preceded by depressive episodes in the case of bipolar disorder type 1 or at least one hypomanic episode (less intense, severe and lasting than maniacs but sharing most of its symptoms) followed or preceded by at least one depressive episode in bipolar disorder type 2.
This disorder causes great suffering to those who suffer from it, and it usually requires good pharmacological treatment combined with psychological treatment when the subject is stable.
16. Health psychology: fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and other medical problems
If the figure of the psychologist is usually associated with that of mental disorder, the truth is that many people who suffer from medical-type illnesses can benefit from psychological therapy, such as a type of therapy that can help improve it (Without ever replacing medical treatment) either by treating emotional or cognitive alterations that may occur after diagnosis, or by techniques likely to promote improvement or better prognosis.
This includes areas such as psycho oncology with other applications in people with heart, metabolic (including thyroid or diabetes), pulmonary or respiratory (asthma, for example) problems.
One of the most common examples is fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease whose main symptom is generalized musculoskeletal pain, which although until a few years ago was not recognized (it was even suspected to be a real illness) is very common.
It is common in conjunction with chronic fatigue, a syndrome characterized by the presence of fatigue or continued fatigue, Sleep problems and various pain.
Often, this suffering causes, secondarily, depression, anxiety and distress, avoidant behavior, isolation and socio-professional difficulties that they can benefit from psychological treatment (In addition to trying to approach it differently and in a more positive way of pain), it is common for those affected to see a professional psychologist.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
- Muñoz, AM and Novos, MM (2012). Reasons for the consultation and explanatory clinical hypotheses. Psychological therapy, 30 (1).