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Presentation and management of depression in people with learning disability

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

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Extract

The occurrence of depression in people with learning disability is not a late-20th century phenomenon. Reports were first published in the 1800s describing the existence of depression in individuals with intellectual impairment (Clouston, 1883). However, as we enter a new millennium, the appropriate diagnosis, assessment and treatment of depression, and indeed all forms of mental illness in people with learning disability, will become the focus of considerable concern for all professionals working in this field. With recent national trends towards de-institutionalisation, referral of individuals with learning disability to psychiatrists to ‘rule out a possible depressive illness' and to ‘advise about further treatment’ will increase. It remains essential for all psychiatrists in learning disability to continue to improve their diagnostic skills to better manage depressive episodes and, where possible, to learn how to prevent a future relapse. This review highlights the important presentation and management issues relating to depression in the field of learning disability. Depression in this review implies a single major depressive episode, irrespective of whether or not it conforms to any given classification system.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 1999 

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