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The 16 most common psychological consultation reasons

The 16 most common psychological consultation reasons

January 10, 2023

As reflected by the World Health Organization in 2016, one in four people suffer or will suffer throughout his life some kind of mental disorder .

And it is that the human psyche is continually subjected to great tensions, environments and problematic situations that facilitate the appearance of states of great suffering or great difficulties or even inability to deal with the source of their discomfort. That is why the figure of the psychologist is will continue to be increasingly necessary worldwide, as a figure of support with which to achieve the necessary improvement or treatment.

There are many reasons that can lead a person to require psychological help, but nevertheless some of them are more common than others. That is why throughout this article we are going to reflect several of the most common reasons for psychological consultation , as well as its characteristics and symptoms.


  • Related article: "The 18 types of mental illnesses"

The most common psychological consultation reasons

Then we leave you with a total of sixteen of the most common reasons for a client or patient to visit a psychologist or psychologist (some of them focused or specialized in certain areas). Among them we can find from mental disorders complex situations difficult to handle but that do not necessarily include the existence of a disorder, such as those linked to interpersonal relationships .

There are also other problems such as personality disorders, but although many are relatively prevalent, they are not usually a reason to consult.


1. Adaptive disorder

One of the most common reasons for consultation in the clinic, and that actually more than a disorder refers to a response of great anxiety, stress or emotional distress greater than expected and with affectation to diverse levels of the functionality in the day to day of the subject which are derived from a situation or clearly identifiable stressful event, which is the origin of the alteration and that happens within three months (usually before the month) subsequent to the event in question.

If the person manages to resolve this situation, the discomfort ends up disappearing before six months.

This is the case, for example, of people who have lost their jobs, who suffer from work stress, who have emigrated and still do not feel the new home as such, who have separated, who suffer from mobbing or bullying, who have been evicted or who have been diagnosed with a disease.


Is about painful situations in which they generate severe stress and / or continued which surpasses the subject and which one does not know how to face, although generally they do not require psychological treatment beyond support and counseling (unless some other type of alteration is complicated and developed).

  • Maybe you're interested: "Mixed adaptive disorder: symptoms, causes and treatments"

2. Depression

Major depression is the most prevalent mental disorder worldwide (along with the disorders linked to anxiety).

Depression is understood as a disorder in which for at least two weeks, continuously for most of the day of most days (and a context in which the self, the environment and the future are perceived in a negative), a series of symptoms has been experienced, among which (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 used to be satisfactory.

Other frequent symptoms are sleep problems (both insomnia and hypersomnia), loss of appetite and / or libido, difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, passivity, guilt or worthlessness, isolation and thoughts of death.

  • Related article: "Are there several types of depression?"

3. Anxiety: Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder

As we have just indicated, anxiety is next to depression (and generally comorbid) one of the most frequent problems or mental disorders. There are many existing anxiety disorders, being some common panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.

The first of them is characterized by the presence of recurrent episodes of panic attacks in which physiological symptoms appear such as sweating, palpitations, chest pain, intestinal discomfort or suffocation, often together with the fear of dying from these symptoms, going crazy or losing control and the feeling of derealization and depersonalization (have the feeling that the environment or the person seems to be unreal).

These attacks and the associated discomfort cause anxiety and panic to appear at the idea of ​​recurrence or possible consequences , which can lead to avoidant behaviors that in turn limit the life of the subject to a great extent.

The generalized anxiety disorder implies the existence during at least six months of anxiety and constant worries and difficult controllable by different causes (which can vary and refer to aspects that rationally the subject itself can be considered irrelevant) and that generate fatigue, irritability, problems concentrating , tension and / or sleep problems. That's why finding a psychologist who can treat this kind of problem is important.

4. Phobias

Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder that is extremely common in our society, and that is based on the existence of a high level of fear, fear and anxiety (at a level that the subject himself usually recognizes as irrational or disproportionate) in the face of some kind of stimulus or situation, which is even capable of causing panic attacks or anxiety attacks.

Due to fear or dread generated, the subject will conduct behaviors and actions that allow avoiding the phobic stimulus or else it will remain in the presence of this but experiencing extreme anxiety.

This definition makes one immediately think of specific phobias, such as blood / injection / damage, phobia to fly, the phobia of certain animals (especially frequent within these are those related to spiders, insects and dogs), the phobia of the heights or the claustrophobia. In addition to the aforementioned and other specific phobias we can find other very common cases: social phobia or agoraphobia .

  • Maybe you're interested: "Types of phobias: exploring the disorders of fear"

5. Neurodevelopmental disorders

Although when we talk about a psychologist, we usually think about the patient who has adults or adolescents, the truth is that it is also very common (and in fact it is one of the types of population over which, in less time, a consultation, given the concern that most parents have for their children) meet with psychologists specialized in child psychology . And while it is possible to find different mental disorders in children, some of the most consulted are the so-called neurodevelopmental disorders.

One of the most common reasons for consultation within neurodevelopmental disorders are the specific learning disorder (including, for example, dyslexia or dyscalculia), along with attention deficit disorder with (or without) hyperactivity or ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (including the old Asperger).

Also common are communication or motor disorders (such as tics or Tourette's disorder).

6. Addictions and disorders due to substance use

An addiction is defined as the usual accomplishment / consumption of some type of behavior which generates physical or psychological dependence according to the organism, it acquires tolerance to it and over which control is lost, generating the attempt to cease said behavior a state of great discomfort, desire for consumption / conduct and anguish (along with possible physiological symptoms depending on the case). they can even generate death) and continue despite knowing that it has consequences on the health or functionality of the person.

In this sense, some of the most common addictions are those related to substances, among which They emphasize the dependence to alcohol, to cannabis (despite the popular belief, its habitual consumption can generate dependence), cocaine or heroin. In addition to the addiction itself can be abusive consumption (without it has yet reached the addiction) or other related disorders (for example, psychosis induced).

Going back to the addictions themselves, there are also behavioral addictions such as compulsive shopping, addiction to new technologies (including mobile phones, video games), sex addiction or even socio-affective 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, assassination attempts, warlike conflicts ...) the person who has suffered or witnessed it experiences reexperiences of the event in intrusive and persistent thoughts and memories, nightmares, physiological reactions, sensation of shortening of the future, hyperalerta or hyperactivation, loss of interest, possible feelings of guilt, possible dissociations such as psychogenic amnesia, depersonalization or derealization, anguish and restlessness or avoidant behavior among others.

8. Cognitive impairment and dementias

Although in this case we are talking about a reason for consultation that is usually confined mainly to neuropsychiatry and neuropsychology, not being so usual of other types of psychological consultation, it is necessary to mention the importance of cognitive impairment and especially dementias within psychology and psychiatry.

This type of conditions they usually generate great suffering for those who suffer them as well as their relatives and caregivers , since the affected ones are losing mental faculties with the time according to their nervous system is undergoing a progressive neuronal degeneration.

The work usually focuses on the rehabilitation and maintenance of autonomy and functions for as long as possible, the search for compensatory strategies and cognitive stimulation in order to preserve as much as possible the impaired functions.

  • Related article: "Types of dementia: the 8 forms of loss of cognition"

9. Emotion management, self-esteem and personal interaction problems

It is more usual than one might think that the reason for consulting a psychologist is not a mental disorder per se, but rather the existence of difficulties in aspects such as emotion management (highlighting anger or sadness), the search for ways to increase the level of self-esteem (for example in people who have suffered from continuous school or work harassment) or difficulties in establishing stable, deep and consistent personal relationships without has to exist (although in some cases it can be) a disorder behind.

All this can be approached from different perspectives and techniques.

10. Conflicts of couple and family

Another relatively frequent reason for psychological consultation occurs with specialists in family and couple therapy. The problems treated in this regard They tend to be based on conflicts, lack of communication and dysfunctional dynamics and roles in relationships , the existence of any type of disorder is not necessary (although in some cases the cause of conflict may be an organic disease or a mental disorder).

11. Sexual dysfunctions

While it's usually something that until recently has been taboo and Many people who suffer from some type of sexual dysfunction live with shame (something that in many cases leads not to consult), the normalization of sexuality and the search of a satisfactory sexuality makes that little by little this type of problem is increasingly being consulted with professionals.

Although in some cases we are facing a problem of organic cause, these problems often have either a cause or an important psychological component (such as anxiety). Stresses erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation as the most frequent problems in men, while hypoactive sexual desire is the most prevalent in women (followed by female orgasmic disorder).

12. Eating behavior disorders

Especially linked to the culture of the body cult and the canons of beauty of our time and society, eating disorders are a reality that in recent times has increased dramatically in prevalence .

It is one of the few types of mental disorder that can lead to the death of those who suffer without direct action to that end, some of which are considered very dangerous.

Emphasize anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa as the most common, especially in pubescent and young women (although it can appear in childhood, in adulthood, and although it tends to occur to a lesser extent also 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-related disorder characterized by the presence of obsessive thoughts , which are recurrent, egodistonic and intrusive thoughts that are lived with great anxiety and guilt by the person who suffers it and that often involve the performance of rituals in order to lower the level of anxiety, rituals called compulsions that although Initially they slightly diminish the anxiety they finish by reinforcing the appearance of the intrusive thoughts, forming a continuous cycle between obsession and compulsion that occupies to a great extent the time of the subject and generates a great suffering.

14. Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders

Another type of habitual patient of the consultations of the professionals of the psychology and the psychiatry is the one of people with psychotic disorders .

Among them, schizophrenia stands out, probably one of the most known mental disorders and the most prevalent among those that form part of the psychotic spectrum (with a prevalence of approximately 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, agitation or derailments in the language, catatonia , poverty of thought or praise, apathy or apathy, being necessary that at least one of the first three be present.

15. Bipolar disorder

Another of the most relevant affective disorders, bipolar disorder is characterized by the presence of one or more manic episodes (characterized by extreme euphoria, irritability and hostility can generate fights and conflicts, thoughts and even delusions of greatness, diminished ability of judgment, alterations of sleep and intake, performance of risk behaviors and high impulsivity, among others) that can go 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 manic but sharing most of their symptoms) followed or preceded by at least one depressive episode in bipolar disorder type 2.

This disorder generates great suffering to the sufferer, and usually requires a good pharmacological treatment along with psychological treatment when the subject is stable.

16. Health Psychology: Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and other medical problems

Although the figure of the psychologist is usually associated with that of the mental disorder, the fact is that many people suffering from medical diseases can benefit from psychological therapy, such as a type of therapy that can contribute to its improvement (although without ever replacing the medical treatment) either through the treatment of emotional or cognitive alterations that may arise after the diagnosis or through techniques that may favor an improvement or a better prognosis.

This includes from fields such as psycho-oncology to other applications in people with heart problems, metabolic (including thyroid problems or diabetes), lung or respiratory (asthma, for example).

One of the most commonly seen examples is fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease whose main symptom is a generalized musculoskeletal pain, which until recently was not recognized (it was even doubted that it was a real illness) is highly frequent.

It is common to be in conjunction with chronic fatigue, a syndrome characterized by the presence of fatigue or continued tiredness , problems sleeping and various pains.

Many times these conditions secondary cause depression, anxiety and anguish, avoidance behaviors, isolation and social and labor difficulties that can benefit from psychological treatment (in addition to trying to approach in a different and more positive way to the pain), being habitual that the people affected go to some type of professional of the psychology.

Bibliographic references:

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
  • Muñoz, A.M. and Novos, M.M. (2012). Reasons for consultation and explanatory clinical hypotheses. Psychological therapy, 30 (1).
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