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Diagnosing psychiatric disorders in people with intellectual disabilities: issues and achievements

Marco O. Bertelli (CREA (Research and Clinical Centre), San Sebastiano Foundation, Florence, Italy AND EAMHID, European Association for Mental Health in Intellectual Disability, Florence, Italy)
Michele Rossi (CREA (Research and Clinical Centre), San Sebastiano Foundation, Florence, Italy)
Daniela Scuticchio (CREA (Research and Clinical Centre), San Sebastiano Foundation, Florence, Italy)
Annamaria Bianco (CREA (Research and Clinical Centre), San Sebastiano Foundation, Florence, Italy)

Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities

ISSN: 2044-1282

Article publication date: 7 September 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

Diagnosing psychiatric disorders (PD) in adults with Intellectual Disability (ID) presents several issues and need specific skills and tools. The purpose of this paper is to provide a detailed description of the current status of art through a systematic mapping of the literature.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors reviewed the international literature on the basis of the following questions: what are the issues in the psychiatric diagnostic process for adults with ID? What methods and procedures have been used for psychiatric assessment in ID? To date, is it possible to identify some most effective procedures?

Findings

The analysis of the literature indicates that main issues of the psychiatric diagnostic process in adults with ID are the following: identification of psychiatric symptoms, behavioural equivalents, diagnostic criteria, setting, source of information, screening, and diagnostic tools. The evidence base is only emerging and although many relevant achievements have been reached in the last two decades, no definitive guideline has been produced. Most recent acquisition also allowed to identify some assessment procedures that are currently considered the most effective. Individualised assessment remains the best way to meet the needs of this heterogeneous and variable patient group.

Originality/value

This paper offers a comprehensive and updated description of current achievements and issues towards the assessment of PD in people with ID.

Keywords

Citation

Bertelli, M.O., Rossi, M., Scuticchio, D. and Bianco, A. (2015), "Diagnosing psychiatric disorders in people with intellectual disabilities: issues and achievements", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 9 No. 5, pp. 230-242. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-05-2015-0023

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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