The mental health of Australians 2

4. Affective disorders in Australia

Page last updated: May 2009

Three different types of affective disorders were asked about in the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Depressive episode is characterised by periods of low mood lasting at least two weeks that are accompanied by symptoms such as loss of appetite, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating and suicidal thoughts. Dysthymia is characterised by a more longstanding low mood lasting for two years or more. The third form of affective disorder is bipolar affective disorder, characterised by periods of elevated or irritable mood, often fluctuating with periods of depression.