Psychological Risk Factors

People with intellectual disability may not be given opportunities to be faced with and learn strategies to manage stressful events. In addition individuals may not have reached a sufficient developmental level as to learn new coping skills without support. It is thought that some people with intellectual disability use less helpful defence mechanisms (e.g. denial, avoidance and regression). People with intellectual disability face numerous life events. The loss of family members and carers can be worsened by resulting changes in support systems and accommodation. Families and carers may be over protective and exclude people with intellectual disability from the normal family grieving process, including funerals, which can lead to unresolved grief. People with intellectual disability may be bullied and subject to stigma from an early age. This can impact on self-image, in a person who may already struggle to adjust to a diagnosis of intellectual disability. Psychiatric and physical symptoms can be different in people with intellectual disability (for example, toothache maybe present with aggression) making accurate diagnosis and treatment difficult.
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