Types of Mental Disorders

Discussing mental health is undeniably challenging and, in some cultures, remains a taboo subject. The sensitivity surrounding this topic often leaves individuals hesitant about how to broach it and where to seek support. Yet, it’s crucial to recognise that mental health is a serious matter, not to be taken lightly. It can influence, shape, and sometimes overwhelm individuals, profoundly impacting their lives. Mental health struggles can manifest in various forms, leading to different diagnoses.

Addressing these issues openly and creating safe discussion spaces are essential to understanding and supporting mental health challenges.

Initiating conversations about mental health awareness should ideally begin within the confines of our homes. However, as mentioned, it remains taboo in many households, spaces, and communities. There is a pervasive reluctance to address mental health issues openly and candidly.

A recent study in Australia revealed alarming statistics about mental health-related stigma and discrimination  (Better Health Channel, n.d.). According to the National Survey of Mental Health, over four million Australians faced such discrimination in the past year, primarily from people close to them. One in three individuals with personal mental health conditions reported mistreatment by family and friends, and one in four faced unfair treatment from their spouse or partner. Workplace discrimination also affected one in three people, particularly those with complex mental health issues like schizophrenia.

Reports like these highlight the ongoing efforts by individuals and organisations to raise awareness about mental health disorders and create safe environments for open discussions.

Recognising that there exists a wide array of mental health conditions is crucial. This term encompasses various disorders such as Anxiety, Affective, and substance use disorders. The following is a list of mental health conditions that cumulatively affect millions of people worldwide.

Types of Mental Health Conditions.

Anxiety disorders are characterised by excessive fear, anxiety, and avoidance triggered by specific objects or situations. While panic attacks are prevalent in these disorders, they may also occur in unrelated conditions.

Anxiety disorders include:

  • Agoraphobia,
  • generalised anxiety disorder,
  • panic disorder,
  • separation anxiety disorder,
  • specific phobias,
  • postpartum anxiety,
  • social anxiety disorder.

Mood disorders are mental health conditions that impact a person’s emotional state. Depressive disorders bring about feelings of sadness, emptiness, or irritability, accompanied by cognitive and physical changes that hinder daily functioning. Bipolar disorders, on the other hand, entail dramatic mood swings, ranging from manic highs to depressive lows.

  • depressive disorders
  • major depressive disorder
  • persistent depressive disorder, previously known as dysthymia
  • peripartum depression
  • postpartum depression
  • premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • seasonal affective disorder
  • situational depression
  • bipolar disorder
  • major depressive episode
  • hypomanic episode
  • manic episode
  • mixed features
  • cyclothymic disorder
  • additional specifiers for bipolar disorder

Alcohol and substance use disorders stem from alterations in brain chemistry, leading to a reliance on the substance consumed. Due to substance use, individuals afflicted by these disorders often face dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and disruptions in their personal and professional lives.

  • alcohol use disorder,
  • opioid use disorder symptoms,
  • substance use disorder

Schizophrenia spectrum disorders are characterised by difficulties in one or more of the following five domains: delusions, hallucinations, disorganised thinking or speech, abnormal movements like catatonia, and negative symptoms, which involve a lack of motivation, pleasure, or emotional expression.

  • brief psychotic disorder
  • catatonia
  • delusional disorder
  • postpartum psychosis
  • psychotic disorder not otherwise specified
  • schizophrenia
  • schizoaffective disorder
  • schizophreniform disorder
  • schizotypal personality disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and OCD spectrum disorders encompass obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. While these disorders share certain traits, they also exhibit distinct differences.

Specific experts argue that these conditions should be regarded as individual disorders rather than being classified under the umbrella of OCD spectrum disorders.

  • body dysmorphic disorder
  • hoarding disorder
  • dermatillomania
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • trichotillomania

Feeding and eating disorders are characterised by disrupted eating habits, which can involve changes in the quantity of food consumed or the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. To be diagnosed, these altered eating patterns must substantially impact a person’s body or significantly affect their personal, social, work, or school life.

  • avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
  • anorexia nervosa
  • binge eating disorder
  • bulimia nervosa
  • pica
  • rumination disorder

Trauma or stressor-related disorders are conditions in which experiencing trauma or severe stress is a crucial component of the diagnosis. These disorders are closely connected to anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and dissociative disorders, often sharing overlapping symptoms and features.

  • acute stress disorder
  • adjustment disorder
  • disinhibited social engagement disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • reactive attachment disorder

Dissociative disorders entail disruptions in the usual states of awareness, affecting consciousness, memory, identity, emotions, and perceptions of oneself and the surroundings. These disorders frequently emerge in response to stressful or traumatic situations, leading to significant disturbances in a person’s psychological well-being.

  • depersonalization-derealization disorder
  • dissociative amnesia
  • dissociative fugue
  • dissociative identity disorder
  • dissociative disorder not otherwise specified

Neurodevelopmental disorders manifest early in a child’s development, frequently before they begin formal education. These conditions are characterised by developmental challenges that impact various aspects of an individual’s personal, social, academic, or occupational life.

  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • Rett syndrome
  • expressive language disorder
  • intellectual disability
  • social (pragmatic) communication disorder
  • specific learning disorder
  • stereotypic movement disorder
  • transient tic disorder

Personality disorders comprise a group of ten disorders characterised by a persistent pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that deviate significantly from cultural expectations. These patterns often lead to substantial stress and disruptions in a person’s life.

  • antisocial personality disorder
  • avoidant personality disorder
  • borderline personality disorder
  • dependent personality disorder
  • histrionic personality disorder
  • narcissistic personality disorder
  • obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
  • paranoid personality disorder
  • schizoid personality disorder
  • schizotypal personality disorder

Sleep disorders impact both the quality and quantity of sleep an individual receives. These conditions typically lead to distress during daytime hours and can significantly disrupt a person’s ability to function effectively in their daily life.

  • circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder
  • hypersomnolence
  • insomnia
  • nightmare disorder
  • narcolepsy
  • restless legs syndrome
  • non-rapid eye movement sleep arousal disorders
  • sleep terror disorder
  • sleepwalking disorder
  • sleep paralysis

Neurocognitive disorders entail a decline in cognitive abilities, representing a loss of previously acquired thinking skills. These disorders are not present at birth or in early developmental stages; instead, they reflect a deterioration of previously intact functions.

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • major neurocognitive disorder
  • mild neurocognitive disorder
  • Parkinson’s disease

Childhood mental health disorders, often labelled as developmental disorders or learning disorders, most often arise and are diagnosed when the child is of school age. Adults may also relate to some of the symptoms of these disorders, but typically, their symptoms need to first appear at some point in childhood.

  • conduct disorder
  • disorder of written expression
  • disruptive mood dysregulation disorder
  • encopresis
  • enuresis
  • oppositional defiant disorder
  • reading disorder
  • selective mutism
  • Tourette syndrome

Additional mental health disorders, conditions, and symptoms encompass a diverse range of issues, such as:

  • bereavement
  • conversion disorder
  • diabulimia
  • gaming disorder
  • gender dysphoria
  • illness anxiety disorder, formerly known as hypochondriasis
  • intermittent explosive disorder
  • kleptomania
  • psychotic disorder not otherwise specified
  • pyromania
  • sex addiction
  • shared psychotic disorder
  • somatic symptom disorder
  • stuttering

Seeing a doctor

Navigating challenging emotional issues is a part of life, and it’s important to acknowledge that seeking help is a sign of strength. Handling these challenges alone can be overwhelming, so it is crucial to reach out for support, especially when it’s not an emergency. If you are in such a situation, consulting your doctor is a proactive step toward finding the help you need.

During your doctor’s visit, they will assess your situation comprehensively. This assessment may involve conducting a mental health evaluation, devising a tailored treatment plan, or referring you to a specialist such as a psychiatrist or another mental health professional. Depending on your needs, your doctor might prescribe medications to assist in managing conditions like depression or anxiety.

Understanding that discussing personal matters can be complex, your doctor is there to help and support you. They may ask you some personal questions to better understand your situation. If you find it challenging to talk about your mental health, you can find valuable tips on how to communicate effectively with your doctor about these concerns on the healthdirect website.

Additionally, the healthdirect website offers a wealth of information, including details about different types of mental health professionals and a directory of health services. This resource can guide you in finding the appropriate support tailored to your needs, ensuring you receive the assistance necessary for your mental well-being. Remember, seeking help is a proactive step toward better mental health, and you don’t have to face these challenges alone.

Promoting a Stigma-Free Environment

Everyone needs to contribute to reducing the stigma associated with mental illness.

When encountering negative stereotypes in conversations or the media, actively challenge and correct these myths, providing education against harmful and inaccurate labelling.

If you encounter stigma in the media, report it to SANE StigmaWatch.

Be mindful of your language when referring to yourself or others, avoiding insensitive and hurtful words that define individuals by their mental health condition.

Speak out against inappropriate comments about mental illness and ensure that people with mental health challenges are treated with respect and acceptance as everyone else.

Remember, individuals with mental health issues have the same rights and opportunities as others. If you witness discrimination or bullying, particularly in the workplace, challenge it, as it is against the law in Australia under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Understanding Mental Health Coverage in Health Insurance

At Healthdeal, we recognise the significance of mental health, considering it on par with physical health. Here’s what you should be aware of regarding how health insurance can support your mental well-being.

What’s Covered?

We assist in comparing private health insurance providers to determine if you are covered for different mental health services and treatments. However, it’s important to note that these services may not be included in every type of coverage. Please be aware that waiting periods and annual limits apply, and all extras providers must be recognised by your private health insurance provider before we can help switch you to a cover that suits you the best.


 Talking therapy is provided by psychologists, nurses, social workers, or occupational therapists.


 Psychologists offer diverse therapies for depression, anxiety, grief, and stress.

Hospital Psychiatric Services

Psychiatrists, who are medical doctors, specialise in the biological causes of mental illness. They can prescribe medications and admit individuals to hospitals.

Stress Management

Services and courses are offered by recognised providers to manage and prevent health conditions associated with high-stress levels.


Therapy involves inducing a trance-like state to enhance focus and receptiveness to suggestions.

24/7 Support

Members with hospital or package cover can access a 24/7 Mental Health Support Line.

Mental Health Waiver

The Mental Health Waiver allows individuals with hospital coverage to access in-hospital psychiatric services without the standard 2-month waiting period.

Members who have completed the two-month waiting period for Restricted hospital psychiatric services can upgrade to a plan that includes hospital psychiatric services. They can choose to waive the two-month waiting period for these enhanced benefits.

You can opt for the waiver when or after upgrading before completing the two-month waiting period for Included Hospital psychiatric services. To be eligible for the waiver, you must have maintained continuous hospital cover without a break exceeding 30 days.

Please note the waiver applies explicitly to the two-month waiting period for the higher benefits related to hospital psychiatric services. All other waiting periods for services not previously covered or for increased benefits remain applicable.

Each individual is entitled to use the Mental Health Waiver once in their lifetime.

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