Disability

April 2011

FocusDisability

Behavioural concerns

Assessment and management of people with intellectual disability

Volume 40, No.4, April 2011 Pages 198-200

Robyn Woods

Background

General practitioners often care for people with an intellectual disability, and challenging behaviours are a common presentation, whether the patient lives with their family or in a group home.

Objective/s

This article aims to give practical advice on the assessment and treatment of behavioural issues in patients with intellectual disabilities.

Discussion

General practitioners can make a significant contribution to improving the quality of life of intellectually disabled persons. Collecting a careful description of the behaviour, assessing for physical causes and considering specific psychiatric diagnoses will help the GP target appropriate intervention. Psychological support under the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care program can assist in developing behavioural strategies. The role of medication is also discussed.

General practitioners often care for patients with an intellectual disability. These patients may live with their family or in a group home. People with intellectual disability experience the same range of mental illnesses as the rest of the community, however they may express it differently. With poor verbal skills they may be easily frustrated and act out or withdraw.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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