O'Hara, S. (2014), "Editorial", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 8 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/AMHID-07-2014-0028Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Volume 8, Issue 5
Welcome to the fifth issue of 2014 and we hope you have enjoyed the summer. We have a mixture of topics in this issue, starting with two papers on dementia, a literature review on suicide, an examination of how the environment can affect individuals, a literature review of hyperphagia in people with Prader-Willi syndrome and an exploration of disengagement.
It has been established for some years now that people with Down syndrome are at increased risk of developing Alzheimers disease and at a significantly younger age than the wider population. Clinical guidance recommends baseline screening at 30 years of age (BPS and RCPsych, 2009). Starkey and colleagues report on a prospective screening programme and examine whether the programme was effective in identifying dementia related changes in people with Down syndrome and whether the current screening intervals are appropriate. They concluded that screening was effective and could lead to appropriate support and treatment.
A significant number of people with intellectual disabilities live with family carers, and in the UK over half do (DH, 2010), providing vital care and support. Caring for a person with intellectual disabilities who also has dementia can be stressful and challenging. Perera and Standen's paper explores the coping strategies that these carers adopt. Through focus groups and single interviews they found a range of coping strategies and recommend that professionals understand these when planning and delivering services and support systems.
Suicide and attempted suicide is one of the top three leading causes of death amongst those aged between 15 and 44 years; and tenth leading cause of death in the wider population but is relatively unexplored in intellectual disabilities. Mollison and colleagues provide us with a literature review of the subject and find that risk factors are similar to the wider population such as clinical depression, history of self-harm, unemployment, loneliness, an increased need for support from others, early onset mental illness and being treatment resistive.
Long and colleagues looked at a group of people with intellectual disabilities and the effect of two different environments on them as they moved from one to another, with a focus on risk behaviours. Patients reported increased satisfaction with the new ward, and this was reflected in social climate ratings of patient unity and feeling safe. The study also found an objective reduction in risk behaviours in the new environment which staff reported to be more homely.
Hyperphagia is a distressing eating disorder for the both the person themselves and those caring for them and often results in pain and significant weight gain. Hyperphagia is a well-recognised behavioural phenotype of Prader-Willi syndrome. Stanley provides a literature review regarding its causes and management. The review finds causes focused on the roles of secretory hormones, and reward-related areas of the brain, whilst management related to physical exercise and food control, anti-diabetic agents and weight loss surgery.
Edwin explores how a service for adults with Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder compares against clinical guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). A retrospective analysis and collection of data from patient records were matched against the NICE standards. Our last paper is from Barton and colleagues and explores a range of material to improve understanding of disengagement with everyday life, by individuals who have intellectual disabilities and mental health difficulties. Key recurring themes within transpersonal literature were reviewed, relevant to adults with behaviour indicating a degree of disengagement from everyday life, which were grouped into Physical Realm, Psychosocial Realm and Realm of Being. The paper generated interpretations for such behaviours within a potential framework of the Three Realms, to consider the way in which some individuals may experience a different quality of consciousness than the usual.
We hope you enjoy reading these papers and would encourage you to share your practice, research and opinion by submitting papers to the journal. Our sincere thanks go to Steve Hardy in his last issue as editor for the journal, but we are delighted he will be continuing to support the publication as a member of the editorial board.
Steve Hardy and Jean O'Hara