Psychopathology In Intellectual Disability: Characteristics And Outcomes For A Population Of Intellectually Disabled People Referred To A Statewide Specialist Mental Health Service.

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Authors: Andrew Pridding and Janina Tomasoni, VIC

Year: 2005

Event: 2005 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Comorbidity: Intellectual Disability; Diabetes

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 0975765310

Abstract: People with intellectual disability have an increased risk of other mental disorders and present significant challenges to mainstream psychiatric services. There is considerable debate about whether generic services can meet the needs of this population but there is little research on the characteristics of patients with dual disability using generic psychiatric services. This study aims to describe the characteristics of patients referred over a five-year period to a specialist mental health service for people with intellectual disability in the Australian State of Victoria. It also compares the changes in health outcomes over a 3-month period and compares differences between cases from different diagnostic groups. Available data on 246 cases during diagnostic assessment and 148 cases at 3-month follow up was analysed. Mild intellectual disability and psychotic illness were associated with referral to the service but high levels of psychiatric comorbidity were found and a significant number of cases were found to have previously undetected autistic spectrum disorders. Significant improvements were demonstrated in overall outcomes as measured using the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales – Learning Disability. Findings suggest that people with intellectual disability suffer the same types of mental illness and disorders as the general population, improvement can occur when an investment is made in their mental health but significant ongoing support is required

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