Smiley Australia

Information about Treatments for Mental Illness in Australia:

Treatments for mental illness and personality disorders fall into two categories being medical and non-medical procedures.

Medical Treatments:

Medical treatments involve the prescribing of medications to improve the symptoms of mental illness, or where medications fail or cannot be tolerated by the patient in some cases ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) will be recommended.

Medical treatments may only be provided by a Psychiatrist or a Doctor, i.e. a person who is trained and legally able to prescribe these medications.

Non-Medical Treatments:

Non-medical treatments are the 'talking therapies' collectively they are referred to as 'Psychotherapy'. This type of treatment is provided by a Psychologist, Social Worker, Counsellor or other health provider.

Psychotherapy can be used in less serious cases as a 'stand-alone' treatment or in combination with medication in the treatment of depression, anxiety, phobias, anger, in fact any symptom that can be alleviated by modification of the persons way of thinking.

Psychotherapy is not recommended for the treatment of psychosis or mania but may be used once these symptoms have passed.

Outline of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Here we provide a general outline of the procedural recommendations for practitioners which have been developed by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in 2004.

We have also provided a link to their website where we recommend you obtain the full copy of these guidelines which have been developed for Depression, Bipola Disorder and Schizophrenia. (There are other guidelines on the RANZCP site for topics not covered on this website which may be of interest).

These guidelines will give you an idea of what to expect from your treating professional. These procedures have built-in safety checks for when a patient does not respond to treatment. There are procedures to be followed and as a patient or carer you need to be aware of what those procedures are and to make sure that they are followed.

These guidelines include a disclaimer by RANZCP in that they are based on 'current' medical knowledge (Guidelines accepted in 2004).

It is obvious that with new medications being released regularly that there may be a medication not listed that is now being used in practice.

There are other procedures that are just basic common sense which would not vary unless there was a major breakthrough in the causation of these illnesses.

If your treatment varies from these guidelines you are entitled to request a reason and a sound assessment from your medical practitioner as to the reasons and recommendations behind such variation.

Please read these Guidelines, there have and will continue to be many unnecessary and unfortunate outcomes in the treatment of the mentally ill, these outcomes may be prevented if patients and carers know the right questions to ask, and what is right and reasonable in treatment practices. We can begin to resolve this problem here and now.

Knowledge of these guidelines will empower you to ask questions and get answers when things are not going as expected. It will give you the means to call to account those providing treatment. What we all need is a level playing field, so grab the ball and run with it!

Guidelines are listed separately under the links opposite for ease of reference.

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Guidelines for the treatment of Depression

Guidelines for the treatment of  Bipolar Disorder

Guidelines for the treatment of Schizophrenia

Information on Different Types of non-medication Therapies

Information on ECT

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