Mental Disorders

Around 20 per cent of Australian adults are affected by some form of mental or substance abuse disorder every year. Anxiety disorders affect around 14 per cent and depression affects around 6 per cent of the adult population. The remainder are affected by substance abuse, psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, personality disorders, and other conditions. Many people have more than one diagnosis.

Around three per cent of adults are so severely affected by mental illness they become psychiatrically disabled. Schizophrenia can be a particularly disabling condition: this is a persistent form of mental illness affecting approximately one per cent of Australians at some stage.

Most people with a mental illness do not have family members with the illness.

Mental illness itself is not life-threatening. However, up to 15 per cent of those seriously affected by mental illness eventually die by suicide (compared to an approximate figure of one per cent for the whole population). Effective, ongoing treatment is essential to minimise the risk of suicide.

Most people with mental illness recover well and lead fulfilling lives in the community - when they receive appropriate ongoing treatment and support. However, only about half of those affected actually receive treatment. The majority of people who develop anxiety disorders and depression improve over time with appropriate treatment and support. About 80 per cent of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder also improve with ongoing treatment and support. The long-term outcome for schizophrenia can be better than many assume, especially where access to good treatment is consistent. About 20 per cent of those diagnosed have an episode or two, then never experience symptoms again. About 60 per cent improve over time and, with support, can live independently. For about 20 per cent, symptoms are more persistent, treatments are less effective, and greater support services are needed.

Information courtesy of S

This disease is being researched in the following projects:

Research Projects