Mental disorders: a challenge for society

As a result of their widespread use, mental disorders have an increasing incidence in modern society and represent an ever greater challenge that the national public health system is called to face. Despite this, they still do not receive the attention they deserve in public opinion, in the world of work, and within the family. It is not rare to fault the sufferer for his disease or be called incompetent or reckless.

This is because mental illness is often perceived as less real and is, in most cases, much less recognized than physical illness.

Some peculiar data characterize the spread of mental disorders:

  • First, the general population's high frequency, regardless of age, social class, or cultural background.
  • It is associated with significant impairment levels in personal functioning such as difficulty in carrying out daily activities, in the workplace, in interpersonal and family relationships.
  • Lastly, it almost always represents a high social and economic cost for the affected people and their families

How mental disorders appear

Given the underlying causes, mental disorders appear in a number of ways. Two fundamental aspects characterize most of them:

  • Emotional suffering is an integral part of the disorder. An example is an anxiety and panic that accompany agoraphobia;
  • The consequences of the disorder which are usually interpersonal and cause suffering to the patient. For example, it may happen that an individual suffering from social anxiety can limit, and often even completely avoid, the opportunities for meeting and relating with others.

Many mental disorders are also due to hereditary factors for which they tend to arise in already predisposed subjects. To this is added the interaction with environmental factors.

The alarming data

A recent Istat survey "Health conditions and use of health services" in 2013, carried out on a widely representative sample of 72,476 individuals aged between 18 and 64, highlighted a very significant incidence of depressive disorders and disorders of 'anxiety. These disorders are the most common in the general population, affecting people personally, relational, and working. According to this analysis, at the national level, the percentage of subjects who have a high probability of presenting anxious and / or depressive disorders is equal to 14.8%. It should be noted that although the incidence is high in all regions, there are still large regional variations: from 9.6% of the Bolzano PA to 18.5% of the Marche. Applying this percentage to the general adult population, we get an overall figure that exceeds five million people. Therefore, a figure is much higher than that which spontaneously refers to suffering from other diseases important for public health such as diabetes and ulcers.

The most common psychological disorders

In this section, some of the most common disorders are presented, divided by age group, and, for each of them, the psychotherapeutic treatment of choice is indicated (according to guidelines and / or research data).

Adult ailments

Most of the symptoms related to mental health appear in adolescence or, in any case, around the age of twenty. In other cases, the genetic component affects. Below, we will analyze the most frequent:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Obsessions are thoughts that disturb the mind in OCD. Hands full of germs are one of the crazes of OCD.
  • Eating disorders: characterized by wrong eating attitudes can be common among women as well as men. These include anorexia and bulimia but also binge eating.
  • Depression (major depressive disorder): about 15 out of 100 people suffer from it, regardless of age or sex. Symptoms need to be analyzed very carefully.
  • Dysthymia: or a depression condition is dysthymia. Dysthymia may be characterized as persistent depression that is milder in effects but extended with time than severe depression.
  • Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia: consists of a state of intense fear that reaches its peak within ten minutes, characterized by the appearance, often unexpected, of very unpleasant physical symptoms due to the activation of the sympathetic system and catastrophic thoughts (fear of dying, to go mad, faint).
  • Personality disorders: these are relatively inflexible ways of perceiving, reacting, and relating to other people and events; such modalities heavily reduce the possibility of the subject to have effective and satisfying social relationships for himself and others.

Developmental age disorders

  • Tic Disorder and Tourette Syndrome: The mean age of onset is 5 years, although more than 40% of people develop the first symptoms at an earlier age. Complex tics generally appear later than simple tics, as vocal tics usually follow motor tics.
  • School phobia: When we talk about school phobia (school refusal), we refer to a disorder in which the level of anxiety and fear of going and staying in school is such as to significantly compromise regular school attendance and cause short-term sequelae and long term.
  • Attention deficit and hyperactivity: it is one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders and manifests itself, in early childhood, mainly with two classes of symptoms: an evident level of inattention and a series of behaviors that denote hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  • Attachment disorders: Early attachment characteristics play a crucial role in determining protective conditions or in representing risk factors for psychopathological development in childhood.
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Applies to children who exhibit levels of persistent and developmentally inappropriate anger, irritability, provocative behaviors, and oppositionality, which cause impairments in social adaptation and function.
  • Conduct disorder: the main clinical feature is the systematic and persistent violation of others' rights and social norms, with very serious consequences on the level of scholastic and social functioning.

Disorders of the elderly and organic patients

Geriatric psychiatry is on the rise as the elderly population is on the rise.

Diagnosis and therapy require specific knowledge, given the considerable differences between the elderly and young populations. In the elderly, complicating factors such as the use of medicines must also be considered.

  • Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy in the elderly patient: given its proven effectiveness, this discipline is a valid tool for treating chronic pathologies of this phase of life.
  • Cognitive rehabilitation: some events can impair cognitive and emotional functioning. Rehabilitation protocols are based on brain plasticity.
  • Organic pathologies: all the diseases and suggested treatments are described. Among these, for example, chronic pain.


Psychotherapy is a therapeutic activity of a health nature, carried out by a professional (psychologist or doctor), enrolled in his professional order, trained through a four-year course in a university or private Specialization School.

Below you can deepen some specifications between the different ways of carrying out the psychotherapeutic path.

  • Individual: it takes place in a setting made up of therapist-patient, in which both collaborate on one or more contracted purposes, with a strong focus on the present and the reduction of discomfort.
  • Couple psychotherapy: it is put into practice when the psychological suffering concerns two individuals who have a sentimental relationship.
  • Solidarity psychotherapy: gives a quality response, at low cost, to those people affected by psychological disorders who are in poor economic conditions.

Nowadays, mental disorders are often happening. So if you have any mental illness, then do consult mental health therapist in Louisville, Ky.


Related Article: How to Become a Psychologist?