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Types of Disorders

We have provided some key information on mental illness as we know how important it is to find out the facts, symptoms and diagnosis, whether that be for yourself or a loved one.  

Anxiety is diagnosed as experiencing low mood, sadness, panic and worry, which significantly affects the way a person feels and acts and interferes with their daily life.

Symptoms may include:

  • Feeling a sense of panic or extreme fear
  • Physical symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, headaches, shaking, rapid heartbeat, sweating, muscle aches
  • Feeling unsociable or withdrawal from certain situations
  • Having difficulty sleeping or waking up
  • Disordered eating - eating too much or too little
  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Feeling irritable or frustrated
  • Common anxiety disorders

There are different types of anxiety disorders, these are the most common:

  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder: You feel like you can’t relax most of the time and everyday worries seem to bother you more than they should - like work, health, family and financial issues. It has been happening for six months or more and interferes with your daily life.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: You experience intense anxiety when you are in social situations, it can be so extreme you might avoid social situations altogether. You are terrified of embarrassing yourself or of others judging you.
  • Panic Disorder:  An extreme sense of fear and may experience panic attacks regularly and worry about having another panic attack.
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - You have obtrusive or unwanted thoughts and fears that cause anxiety. You might feel out of control and develop particular behaviours and rituals such as washing your hands excessively. 

Acute Stress Disorder

Acute Stress Disorder can develop in a response to exceptional physical and/or mental stress and which usually subsides within hours or days. 

Symptoms may include–

  • Initial feeling of being dazed and confused.
  • Withdrawal from surroundings and having low mood.
  • Agitation or over-activity.

A person may feel -

  • Anxious
  • The heart may beat faster for a while.  
  • Sweaty and flushed.
  • Unable to remember some or all the stressful event. 


Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD often caused by a single incident trauma, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) arises as a delayed and/or prolonged response to a stressful event or situation. The symptoms to PTSD can take as long as a few weeks and up to 6 months to become noticeable.

Symptoms may include –

  • Episodes of repeated reliving of the trauma in intrusive memories ("flashbacks") or dreams
  • Persisting background of a sense of "numbness" and emotional blunting, detachment from other people, unresponsiveness to surroundings and avoidance of activities and situations reminiscent of the trauma
  • Anxiety and depression are commonly associated with the above symptoms and signs, and suicidal ideation is not infrequent
  •  Excessive use of alcohol or drugs may be a complicating factor

A person may feel –

  • Scared and avoiding places and things that remind them of the stressful event
  • Jumpy and easily startled
  • Finding it difficult to fall asleep and struggling with insomnia
  • Rarely, if reminded of the stressful event, the response can be fear, panic and aggression.

 

Complex trauma

Complex trauma is usually interpersonal (occurs between people), and involves ‘being or feeling’ trapped. It is often planned, extreme, ongoing and/or repeated. Complex trauma generally leads to more severe, persistent and extreme impacts than single incident trauma. The impacts tend to be cumulative.

Symptoms may include–

  • Chronic physical pains can develop such as headaches or stomach aches
  • Sensitivity or hypersensitivity to sounds, smells, touch or light
  • Dissociation - Detaching from the body. Spacing out or having a hard time concentrating, gaps in time and memory. Feeling like you are in a dream or like your life is happening to someone else
  • Behaviour - high-risk behaviours, such as self-harm, unsafe sexual practices, and excessive risk-taking such as operating a vehicle at high speeds.

A person may feel - 

• Angry and upset quickly and taking a long time to calm down or finding it very difficult to calm down
• Scared all the time and feeling anxious and depressed
• Like they want to self-harm  
• It is hard to trust other people and form close relationships
• Shame and guilt
• Unhopeful or unable to plan for the future.


Intergenerational Trauma: A large body of evidence demonstrates that traumatic or stressful life events, on either an individual level (e.g. physical or emotional abuse) or collective level (e.g. genocide, war) may be transmitted across generations, through mechanisms such as telling and re-telling of stories and memories, thereby affecting children and grandchildren of the original victim/s (1). People known to be affected include First Nations people, such as the Aboriginal people of Australia and Canada and survivors of war or natural disasters.

Symptoms of Intergenerational Trauma are complex and not yet fully understood. However, impacts are thought to significantly impact upon behavioural issues, parenting practices and attachment, substance use and misuse, patterns relating to violence and aggression and poor physical health (2).

 

 

 

 

Bipolar disorder is a type of mood disorder in which people experience  low mood (major depressive) and times of ‘high’ or elevated mood (mania).

 Symptoms of mania may include:

  • Elevated mood - feeling much happier and more confident than usual 
  • More active and having more energy than is normal: having racing thoughts, talking quickly
  • Feeling more frustrated or irritable than normal
  • Having difficulty focusing, moving from one thought to another
  • Less need for sleep and having difficulty sleeping and staying awake for long periods
  • Taking more risks than usual, for example, spending more money, using drugs and alcohol than you wouldn’t normally
  • Psychotic symptoms may be experienced during episodes of mania – it may involve delusions and not being in touch with reality

Mania can begin as a feeling of elation but over time may become overwhelming and frightening.

Symptoms of depression may include:

  • Feeling extreme sadness
  • Having less energy or feeling tired
  • Losing motivation and interest
  • Having difficulty making decisions or concentrating
  • Low self-esteem
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Thoughts of self-harm 
  • Psychotic symptoms may be experienced during episodes of mania – it may involve delusions and not being in touch with reality

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) gets its name from the notion that the disorder lays between psychotic and neurotic disorders. BPD is a serious and complex mental illness, characterised by a variety of behavioural symptoms including:

  • Low self-esteem, particularly around relationships and feelings of abandonment or rejection
  • Emotional detachment and paranoia
  • Risky and impulsive behaviour; including substance use and sexual behaviour
  • Anger, frustration and moodiness
  • Difficulties with identity; unstable self-image
  • Recurring suicidal behaviour

Depression is a disorder characterised by feelings of sadness, low mood, panic and worry that last longer than usual and significantly effects the way a person feels and acts.

 Symptoms may include:

  • Feeling extreme sadness
  • Having less energy or feeling tired
  • Losing motivation and interest
  • Having difficulty making decisions or concentrating
  • Low self-esteem
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Feelings of guilt,  hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Thoughts of self-harm 
  • Psychotic symptoms during episodes of mania – it may involve delusions and not being in touch with reality

Common types of depression

There are different types of depression, these are the most common:

  • Anxiety and depression:  some people who experience depression also experience some form of anxiety.
  • Post-natal depression: women who have had a baby may experience depression and experience the symptoms of depression.
  • Psychotic depression: some people who are experiencing psychosis may experience symptoms of depression – this may include delusions.

Depression is one of the main reasons for self-harm and suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide seek immediate help. If in doubt, call 000.

Psychosis is a disorder where people who experience it misinterpret or confuse reality and their view of the world is often distorted. It affects their beliefs, behaviours, thoughts and feelings.

 Symptoms may include:

  • Hallucinations: hearing, seeing or otherwise sensing things that aren’t real
  • False beliefs - delusions: beliefs that don’t seem logical or real to other people
  • Difficulty thinking and communicating
  • Not feeling like doing anything
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Losing interest in self-care and appearance
  • Difficulty in planning
  • Not wanting to talk to people
  • Feeling little to no emotions
  • Loss of interest in socialising, hobbies or activities

Types of Psychosis

Psychosis can occur for different reasons, and therefore there are different diagnosis, some are included below:

  • Drug induced psychosis: psychosis may be experienced as a results of drug or alcohol use or withdrawal. Cannabis and amphetamines can cause psychotic symptoms that last for a long or short period of time.
  • Brief reactive psychosis: If a traumatic or major stress has been experienced, psychotic symptoms may be experienced as a result. Recovery is usually quick.
  • Schizophrenia: If psychotic symptoms have been experienced for a longer period of six months or more then the diagnoses may be Schizophrenia.
  • Bipolar disorder: This comes under bipolar and related disorders (DSM-5): If episodes of extreme emotions highs (mania) and lows (depression) are experienced, psychotic symptoms may also occur. 

Schizophrenia is a disorder that effects the functioning of a person’s mind. It effects how they think, feel and experience the world. It involves intense episodes of psychosis including hallucinations and delusions.

Symptoms may include:

  • Hallucinations: hearing, seeing or experiencing things that no one else does
  • False beliefs - delusions: beliefs that don’t seem logical or real to other people
  • Difficulty thinking and communicating
  • Not feeling like doing anything
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Losing interest in self-care and appearance
  • Difficulty in planning
  • Not wanting to talk to people
  • Feeling little to no emotions
  • Loss of interest in socialising, hobbies or activities

Do you need emergency help?

NT Mental Health Line


Ph: 1800 682 288

Lifeline


Ph: 13 11 14

www.lifeline.org.au

Emergency Services


Ph: 000

Kids Helpline


Ph: 1800 55 1800

www.kidshelpline.com.au

Suicide Call Back Service


Ph: 1300 659 467

Headspace


Ph: 1800 650 890

www.headspace.org.au