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Friday, November 25, 2011

Mentally Retarded and Mentally Ill - Is there a Difference?

Lay people confuse the terms mentally retarded and mentally ill. Mental retardation is a birth defect and is usually found from birth. But, mental illness sets on during or after adolescence, especially after a major setback in life.

Mental illness is due to chemical malfunction in the brain and can be cured or reduced with medicines. But , mental retardation can be reduced only by vocational and behavioral therapy.

People with mental illness can work in the mainstream after treatment. But, people with mental retardation can only do jobs that match their ability.

NGOs working with mentally ill people, demand that mentally ill and mentally retarded must be under the same category and/or premises. But, mentally ill people may turn violent and mentally retarded people who are child-like cannot defend themselves. So, the debate continues. 

4 comments:

Padma said...

I think the difference between mental retardation and mental illness is fairly clear. Besides, there is a more correct label for mental retardation; it's now more properly called intellectual disability. This label actually helps to make the difference clear.
Intellectual disability describes a level of cognitive capability. Mental illness is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Cognition vs. brain chemistry.

Special Needs Resources said...

True. Still, even the media uses the term "mental disability" when they write about children and persons with Intellctual disability which is really irritating to parents and professionals !!

Anonymous said...

I am a Nurse Practitioner in the Northeast and am currently in a class looking at the needs of special/vulnerable populations. I am interested in learning more on the personal experiences, both good and bad that patients with intellectual disabilities may have had when hospitalized and what they or their families feel may have been done to make an experience better? More resources? Better understanding from the health providers? Social work involvement? I am looking to try to improve the care that is received when in the hospital setting. My goal is to bring more awareness and understanding where I work. Any information you can provide or share would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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