By David Joel Miller.
You do not have a mental illness but counseling may still help.
Do you have problems getting along with a spouse? Has it been difficult adjusting to a new job or a new town? Kids won’t mind or you are having financial and legal difficulties? Do you have “anger issues?” All these things and many more may be reasons to seek counseling even through you do not have a diagnosable mental illness. Getting help for these issues early may mean you can live a better life and not have your problems become a mental illness.
There is nothing noble about suffering for long time periods when help is available.
There are a whole slew of life problems that might need working on but they do not rise to the level we would recognize as a mental illness. These issues are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders (DSM-5 is a registered trademark of the APA.) even though they are not mental disorders.
The idea behind including these issues is that they cause significant distress to clients. These issues bring people into the offices of doctors, therapists, counselors and even judges, but they are not at this point in time considered a mental illness.
The result of these distinctions is that while you may want or need help in these areas you will need to look for other sources of help than the doctor and probably your issuance will not cover treatment for them.
EAP’s and Non-Medical Counseling.
Many employee assistance plans will offer you a few sessions with a counselor to work on these issues. They find it is cheaper and better to help employees overcome outside work issues than to let them go and then have to hire and train new employees. So if you have an EAP plan look for help there first.
You may have insurance coverage for some Non-medical counseling issues.
A few medical insurance plans or Behavioral insurance plans, to be more precise, also cover these issues. For some problems of living you can get other help. Most of these problems have such severe impacts on people’s lives they need treating even if your insurance does not cover them. Private therapists and counselors can help here.
About Life Coaches.
Recently we have seen a proliferation of “life coaches” who also can help you work on life issues that need help but are not technically mental illnesses. Some of these coaches have training and can be very helpful, others have minimal training and will miss when you really need to see a trained professional. Until this gets sorted out and there is some kind of licensing for life coaches, I recommend you seek out a licensed person even if what you need is non-medical counseling or coaching. Most professional counselors are happy to work on life coaching issues also.
First some background and then the list of problems.
In the U. S. we have been used to using the DSM (Currently the DSM-5) for mental illnesses. In the rest of the world they use the International Classification of Diseases. As of October 1, 2015 the U.S. is switching to use the numbering system the rest of the world uses. We also updated the names that we use to more closely align with the rest of the world. The result, the numbers and names have changed for some things so you will see multiple names and numbers for those things and some things will get split while others got combined. Do not let the professional’s confusion confuse you.
V Codes and Z Codes.
I have sorted this list to make it easier to write about so the list does not exactly follow the DSM. Things called “V codes” are the old number and the “Z codes” are the new ones. Sometimes two problems had or have one number and others have or had no number. This is not a full list, for that see the DSM-5. I just wanted you to see the flavor of things that might bring someone to counseling that are not technically mental illnesses.
Partner Relational V61.10 Z63.0
Parent Child V61.12 Z62.820
Sibling Relational VV61.8 Z62.891
Abuse and neglect (victims) V61.12, V61.21, V62.83
Perpetrators of Abuse get a 995 point something number (now a T number)
Other relational problem V62.81
Bereavement V62.82 Z63.4
Discord with neighbor, lodger or landlord Z59.2
Job – work problems
Occupational problem V62.2 Z56.9
Academic problems V62.3 Z55.9
Adult Antisocial Behavior (Career criminal) V71.01 Z72.811
Acculturation V62.4 Z60.3
Phase of life problem V62.89 Z60.0
Situational adjustment – military deployment, moves from job changes
Religious or spiritual problem V62.89 Z65.8
Noncompliance with treatment V15.81 Z91.19 (NOW NON ADHERANCE)
Inadequate housing Z59.1
Problems living in a residential institution Z59.3
Living alone Z60.2
Other things that get treated but may be missing or hard to find in the DSM
Caregiver fatigue or burnout
Military sexual trauma
Military deployment Z56.82
Child care issues
Poverty related issues
Lack of food and water Z59.4
Extreme poverty Z59.5
Not enough welfare Z59.7
Other unspecified housing or economic problem Z59.9
Physical health issues – the emotional part
Those problems that are poverty related, school and child related and involve interactions with the government, may have services available from public agencies. Other issues may justify you seeking private treatment.
Hope that somewhat clarifies all the things that counselors, social workers and therapists may work with that are not specifically mental illnesses. If you or someone you know has any of these kinds of issues consider looking for help. Seeking out help for these issues does not mean you are “crazy” or that you have a mental illness. Not using help when it is available, that is more like stubbornness.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books