Many individuals with mental retardation (MR) have mental health disorders that are undiagnosed and untreated (Reiss & Valenti-Hein, 1994). Individuals with MR experience the full range of emotional, psychiatric and behavioral disorders at higher frequencies than the general population (Kishore, Nizamie & Nizamie, 2010; Prout, 1993). Prevalence studies have shown that individuals with MR are three to four times at higher risk for psychopathology than are individuals without MR (Matson & Bamburg, 1998; Prout, 1993). This is known as a dual diagnosis, which describes the finding of MR in association with significant psychopathology (Prout, 1993). While, psychopathology is limited to those phenomena and disorders that are described in the conventional classification systems such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV). Examples include anxiety, depression, paranoia, dependent personality traits, avoidant behaviour and thought disorder (Reiss & Valenti-Hein, 1994).
These disorders are distressing to the individuals who experience them and they have a variety of detrimental side effects on the individual and on others. These behavioural and mental health problems are barriers for successful community placement and integration; they increase support needs; they are associated with physical restraints and pharmacological interventions; they impact family by causing stress and by imposing financial sacrifices and can weigh on staff time, energy and morale (Rojahn, Rowe, Kasdan, Moore & van Ingen, 2011).
However, identifying and diagnosing individuals with MR and other mental health disorders is a complicated process. Traditional methods of diagnosis rely on direct communication with patients...
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...., & Bamburg, J. W. (1998). Reliability of the assessment of dual diagnosis (add). Research in Developmental Disabilities, 19(1), 89-95.
Prout, H. T. (1993). Reviews and critiques of school psychology materials: Assessing psychopathy in persons with mental retardation. Journal of School Psychology, 31, 535-540.
Reiss, S., & Valenti-Hein, D. (1994). Development of a psychopathology rating scale for children with mental retardation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62(1), 28-33.
Rojahn, J., Rowe, E. W., Kasdan, S., Moore, L., & van Ingen, D. L. (2011). Psychometric properties of the aberrant behavior checklist, the anxiety, depression and mood scale, the assessment of dual diagnosis and the social performance survey schedule in adults with intellectual disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 32(6), 2309-2320. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2011.07.035.
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