Five Mental Health Disorders We Don't Talk About Enough!

April 29, 2013 Natalie Jeanne Champagne

I write a lot about depression and bipolar disorder in this blog. I also write other serious mental illnesses. Despite this, I don't believe I devote enough time---enough words---to other mental illnesses.

Counting Down: Five Mental Health Disorders Not Given Enough Attention

First, I want to note that there are many more than five and all mental illness should be discussed, but I only have so many words.

That being said, one of the curious things about all of the five disorders is that they are amongst the most commonly diagnosed, but they are not, in my humble opinion, talked about enough.

Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is talked about much more now than it was a decade ago--even a few years ago---but it still carries a huge amount of stigma. If we can initiate dialogue on schizophrenia than we can, in turn, lessen the stigma and understand the illness more. More importantly, understand those who live with it.

Panic Disorder. We hear a lot more about anxiety disorders than panic disorders. Yes, they share common symptoms and often occur together as a concurrent diagnosis, but panic disorder is often different on both a physical and mental level. It affects a person in many ways and often makes life very difficult. If you have ever, as I have, had a panic attack, you understand how frightening it is.

Phobias. Phobias are directly related to anxiety but they differ in both symptoms and treatment. A person might be so afraid of something--maybe something you might think of as harmless--they cannot leave their home. It can be completely debilitating.

An example from my life: I used to be afraid of the bus, more specifically, having to sit among people. But I needed to get to college--an hour away. I had panic attacks and anxiety and, yes, this was a phobia. Anxiety and phobias come in many forms. Some are uglier than others.

Personality Disorders. This is a tough one, and it is becoming more prominent, primarily in the mental health care field. Diagnosing someone with a personality disorder is difficult and this is why the disorder is categorized: borderline, antisocial, and avoidant. Amongst other diagnosis--such as a person not meeting the "full criteria." The diagnosis is not "cut and dry" and is hard to make. It is very much based on a person’s past history of trauma, which leads us to...

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yes, this one is more well-known and accepted. A person with PTSD suffers, often on a daily basis; there symptoms are also connected to anxiety. PTSD responds well to treatment but it isn't an easy road.

Opening Dialogue About Mental Illness

You know those commercials on television selling you "new" antidepressants? How many do you see, in relation, that focus on the above disorders? I cannot recall ever watching a commercial connected to the treatment of personality disorders. We need to put faces and names to mental illness. We need to make it human and less clinical.

Now, I'm throwing the question out to you: What mental health disorders do you believe are not talked about enough? How can we work towards opening dialogue?

APA Reference
Jeanne, N. (2013, April 29). Five Mental Health Disorders We Don't Talk About Enough!, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne

April, 30 2013 at 8:06 am

Dermatillomania and trichotillomania-- constant skin picking (CSP) and constant hair pulling. They are anxiety disorders mainly associated with depression. they include a range of behaviours such as excessive nail biting, picking/gouging/eating of skin, spots, scabs and scars, biting lips/inside of mouth, pulling out strands of hair, eating hair, pulling out eyelashes/eyebrows etc. People with CSP may hide their scars under heavy face/body makeup, or cover their bodies at all times, avoid situations/activities where they cannot cover up. Many sufferers of either condition feel distressed, ashamed and cannot talk about it to anyone. This can lead to isolation, which then leads to further anxiety and further picking/pulling behaviour. It may be a facet of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which can be exacerbated by picking/pulling, or can arise from picking/pulling.
It is difficult to open a dialogue because many people will not admit to having dermatillomania or trichotillomania. Most people think they are the only ones with the condition. Online groups are becoming more prevalent, and there is a trichotillomania centre in America, but the conditions aren't recognised or brought up by most doctors or mental health professionals. It's still a hidden stigma and it can affect every aspect of a person's life.
I bet you're wondering how I know all this? Yeah, you guessed it-- I suffer from CSP. I've only talked about it in a couple of online groups, and only mentioned it to one of the many psychiatrists I've seen. It started happening at age 12, when my depression began to surface. For me it's a reassurance exercise, when I'm stressed, tired, unhappy, when my depression becomes severe, I pick at my skin. I developed BDD because of it and I have suffered very low self esteem, keeping myself away from people and situations, covering up even in blazing summer. There isn't one part of my body that isn't scarred. It's because of my scars that I have convinced myself I will never find anyone to love and accept me. After all, if I see my scars, my CSP and myself as horrific, ugly and revolting, then how could anyone else not see me that way? It's been a hard road, and because I've never spoken about it to anyone, I've never been offered help to stop picking. I would like to stop, but I don't see it happening anytime soon. I'm doing it even as I type this comment.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natalie Jeanne Champagne
May, 3 2013 at 8:41 am

Hi, Zhiv:
I am sorry you struggle with these things and that they are not as widely recognized as most mental illness---they should be. If they were I believe people would be more open to talk about it. Hang in there!

Kathleen Brannon
May, 1 2013 at 8:46 am

I have both bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. As a symptom of borderline personality disorder I "self-harm" -- burn and cut my body. (I have also hit my head against walls, and tried to break bones and bruise limbs.) The stigma on self-harm is much milder than it used to be because so many young people do it and are open about it (maybe too open, in my opinion). I think the personality disorders would be talked about more openly if they had a different name. A "personality disorder" does not sound like a mental illness but a character pattern, a chosen lifestyle, a matter of personal choice. Uninformed people don't take it seriously as and don't think it would be something treatment could help. (Whereas mental health care providers seem to think the opposite -- that personality disorders are difficult to impossible to treat.)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natalie Jeanne Champagne
May, 3 2013 at 8:39 am

Hi, Kathleen:
Self-harm is connected to both BPD and BPD. I have self-harmed in the past, too. And I agree the term "personality disorder" increases stigma. Thank you for the insightful comment!

Thomas Smith
May, 4 2013 at 7:39 am

Thank you for bringing up this subject. When we were researching our book centering on Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), one of the psychiatrists I spoke to about why there was so little current research being done on DID pointed out that amongst one's peers in the psychiatric community, it is more acceptable to make an incorrect diagnosis than one that is unpopular.
This terrifying admission begs the question: What other diagnoses are never or incorrectly made simply because the doctor feels his cohorts in the psychiatric community would not approve?
During our speaking engagements we are meeting many, many other dissociatives who feel abandoned and ill-served by the psychiatric community. Luckily we are also speaking to quite a few mental health practitioners who, until they'd heard of our efforts, tell us that they thought DID was something that happened only in the movies.

Sandra Flaada
May, 4 2013 at 3:06 pm

I am diagnosed as having depression, PTSD and DID. I have 3 alters of varying ages. I had to change psychiatrists because my previous one retired. The first time I had a session with my new one, he almost laughed when I brought up the DID. He basically waved it aside and said it's the most popular diagnosis these days and refused to discuss it. I fired him!

Dr Musli Ferati
May, 4 2013 at 10:19 pm

The question that You grow up in this paper is of great importance, both: for mental health staff and for community as well. My humble professional experience indicates that the crucial step to treat successfully any mental disorder consist on the affinity of psychiatrist to explain the real nature of respective mental disorder to concrete psychiatrist patient. On the other hand, the properly approaching to manage any psychiatric patient exhibits many personal, professional engagement from two side of psychiatric treatment process: psychiatrist as givers of professional help and patient as receiver of the same help. This social situation is more complex, than it is look in first sight. This dialogue should be in concordance with personal features of two subject whose tendencies should be of complementary performances. Empathy and correct displaying should be as guideline model of practicing the psychiatric working out through daily treatment of patient with mental difficulties. Therefore, the responsibility in psychiatric treatment process is conditioned from appropriate clinical performances of clinical psychiatrist.

May, 12 2013 at 4:33 pm

I believe we do not talk about disorder such as schizophrenia enough as well. 2.2 million are affected by it. It's a very debilitating mental illness, people can't live their lives to the fullest because of it.

June, 6 2013 at 3:50 am

There is one that is talked about too much AND not enough. DID- also known as Dissociative Personality Disorder, previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder. (Does the name "Sybil" come to mind?) It's nothing like it's portrayed in books and movies. There's so much fear and prejudice against this illness, even in the psychiatric community.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natalie Jeanne Champagne
June, 6 2013 at 5:46 am

Hi, Emily:
I agree. Yes, unfortunately, the name "Sybil" does come to mind. I agree, the portrayal in both the book and movie, left little to be desired. This contributes to stigma. The more we talk about it the better this will get. We don't need to hide; we need to educate people.
Thanks for your comment,

October, 8 2014 at 3:17 pm

Borderline Personality Disorder is definitely not talked about enough. I'd never even heard of it before my diagnosis. Most people I talk to have never heard of it. Please check out my website for more information:

October, 9 2014 at 1:19 am

Hi I know a friend who has never liked, eg their name, where they where raised. They are dyslexic, have insecurities over these things, they think they are off Jewish descent! They have ADD but could they have other illness that hasn't been diagnosed?

Julie Frost
October, 9 2014 at 9:53 am

I have PTSD with depression and anxiety and CSP I constantly pick the skin on my feet until they bleed and it is often painful to walk I have never talked about it didn't know it had a name I knew it was through anxiety and self harm

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