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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. 
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – You experience symptoms of anxiety due to a traumatic or frightening event that you have experienced.
  • 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