Mental disorders

This category includes common mental disorders that occur with PTSD. Click on the tabs below, or navigate the topics via the section on the left.
Image: ©Gustavo Frazao – shutterstock.com

Anxiety disorders

How are anxiety disorders related to PTSD? Some people with PTSD can have a co-occurring anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterised by excessive fear or worrying. Anxiety disorders include generalised anxiety disorder, which is characterised by continuous and excessive worrying for six months or more. Specific phobias are characterised by anxiety provoked by a feared object/situation, resulting in avoidance. Social phobia is anxiety provoked by social or performance situations. Agoraphobia is anxiety about situations where escape may be difficult or help might not be available. Panic disorder is characterised by a panic attack, which is…

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural disorder characterised by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The estimated prevalence in children under 18 years in the general population is around 5%. ADHD can persist into adulthood with an estimated prevalence of 2.5% in the adult general population. What is the evidence for rates of ADHD in people with PTSD? Moderate quality evidence suggests a small increase in the rate of ADHD in people with PTSD compared to people without PTSD, particularly when compared to traumatised individuals without PTSD. The rate of PTSD was also higher…

Bipolar disorders

What are bipolar disorders? Bipolar disorders are a group of disorders characterised by episodes of mania or hypomania and depression. In between episodes, mild symptoms of mania and/or depression may, or may not, be present. Bipolar disorders characterised in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 5) include bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, and cyclothymic disorder. A major depressive episode is a period of at least two weeks in which a person has at least five of the following symptoms (including one of the first two): intense sadness or despair; feelings of helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness;…

Conduct disorder

What is conduct disorder? Conduct disorder is a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior where the basic rights of others or societal norms and rules are violated. Behaviours include aggression to people or animals, destruction of property, theft, and truanting. These behaviours cause impairment in social, academic, and occupational functioning and are often accompanied by a lack of feeling, remorse, concern, or empathy. To meet a diagnosis of conduct disorder, at least three symptoms need to be present during the past 12 months, with at least one present in the past 6 months. In addition to the individual’s self-report, it…

Conversion disorder

What is conversion disorder? Conversion disorder, also known as functional neurological disorder, is a mental disorder characterised by symptoms that cannot be explained by any known neurological disease. The condition is often triggered by psychological or physical stress, but this is not always the case. The symptoms include weakness and/or paralysis, non-epileptic seizures, movement disorders, speech or visual impairment, difficulty swallowing, sensory disturbances, or cognitive symptoms. These symptoms can cause significant distress and functioning problems. What is the evidence for PTSD and conversion disorder? Moderate quality evidence finds a medium-sized effect of increased rates of PTSD in people with non-epileptic…

Depressive disorders

What are depressive disorders in PTSD? Depression is characterised by a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in activities. Symptoms of depression may include changes in appetite, weight, sleep, or psychomotor activity, decreased energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide. Depression may also be associated with increased hopelessness, which is the absence of positive future orientation. This topic concentrates on depressive disorders in PTSD. Please also see the topic on depressive symptoms under signs and symptoms of PTSD. What is the evidence for the relationship between depressive…

Eating disorders

How are eating disorders related to PTSD? Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, which involves a lack of maintaining normal weight, usually less than 85% of the expected weight, and an intense fear of gaining weight. Bulimia nervosa involves the presence of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours to prevent weight gain, while binge eating disorder does not involve compensatory behaviours. What is the evidence for eating disorders in people with PTSD? Moderate quality evidence found there may be increased rates of binge eating disorder or emotional eating in people with PTSD, although the evidence is very inconsistent. August 2021 Image:…

Personality disorders

What are personality disorders? Personality disorders are enduring patterns of behaviours, thoughts and feelings that deviate from social expectations. Many people exhibit these traits occasionally, but deviations that persist across situations and cause significant distress and impairment are considered disorders. There are a number of different personality disorders. These include; antisocial personality disorder (disregard for the rights of others); schizoid personality disorder (detachment of social interactions and limited emotional expression); schizotypal personality disorder (discomfort of close relationships, cognitive distortions and eccentric behaviour); paranoid personality disorder (distrust and suspiciousness of others); borderline personality disorder (self-harming, difficulty relating to others); histrionic personality…

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