Co-morbidity of psychiatric disorder and medical illness in people with intellectual disabilities

Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2007 Sep;20(5):443-9. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0b013e3282ab9941.


Purpose of review: To examine the most recently published studies on the co-morbidity of medical and mental-health problems in people with intellectual disabilities.

Recent findings: Studies that have been published in the review period have advanced our understanding and strengthened the evidence base on how to meet the complex healthcare needs of people with intellectual disabilities more effectively and reduce their health inequalities, as compared with the general population. In particular, there is much emphasis on epidemiology, epilepsy, dementia, use of psychotropic medications and health-screening intervention.

Summary: In view of the common interface of medical and mental-health problems in people with intellectual disabilities, and the disparity in health they often face, initiatives should be taken to enhance their healthcare. Family carers, social-care providers, primary-care practitioners and specialist psychiatric teams can all play an important role in recognizing ill health and navigating access to the appropriate health services that people with intellectual disabilities need.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*