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By Anastasia Gratsa, Nick Bouras, Theresa Joyce, Mary Jane Spiller, Steve Hardy

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Extra info for Guide to Mental Health for Families and Carers of People with Intellectual Disabilities

Example text

Such behaviour may include self-injury, aggression and screaming. You might also notice that the person cannot or is unwilling to do things for themselves like they used to. Those who are normally continent might have incidents of incontinence. One of the main problems in diagnosing depression in people with severe or profound intellectual disabilities is their limited verbal and non-verbal communication and difficulty in expressing how they feel. Carers have an important role in helping the mental health professional to make the diagnosis.

People who have mania will experience some of the following: · Feeling elated and euphoric · Sudden changes in mood, such as being irritable and quarrelsome · Great difficulty in sleeping · Being overactive and excessively energetic · Changes in appetite and generally loss of weight · Talking too much and very fast · Behaving impulsively 50 / GUIDE TO MENTAL HEALTH · Interfering with those around them · Being very demanding · Doing things they would never dream of doing when they were well, because of embarrassment · Losing their inhibitions both socially and sexually · Not being able to concentrate and being easily distracted In severe mania people may also experience psychotic symptoms.

Because you know the person, their likes and dislikes, you can notice changes in mood, sleep, energy, appetite etc. Some people may have one episode of depression in their lifetime, whereas others may have re-occurring episodes. Depression is very common. In fact one out of four people in the wider community are likely to visit their GP at some time in their life because they feel depressed. How can you help the person you care for? A person with depression is not lazy or weak because they find it ‘difficult to get out of bed’ or because they do not find anything ‘worthwhile or pleasurable’.

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