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Mental retardation is a relative term. Its meaning depends on what society demands of the individual in learning, skills, and social responsibility. Many people who are considered developmentally challenged in the complex modern world would get along normally in a simpler society.
Diagnosis: There is no absolute measurement for retardation. At one time the different types were classified only according to the apparent severity of the retardation. Since the most practical standard was intelligence, the degree of retardation was based on the score of the patient on intelligence tests such as the intelligence quotient (IQ). The average person is considered to have an IQ of between 90 and 110, and those who score below 70 are considered mentally retarded.
In the past, the different groupings were classified in terms such as feebleminded, idiot, imbecile, and moron. Today, most health care providers use the following classifications: for IQ's from 50 to 70, mild; 35 to 50, moderate; 20 to 35, severe; under 20, profound. Whatever classifications are used, it is agreed that IQ measurements are only one part of the factors to be considered in determining mental retardation. Others, such as the patient's adaptability to surroundings, the services and training available, and the amount of control shown over his or her emotions, are also very important.
About 85 per cent of patients considered mentally retarded are in the least severe, or mild, group. Those in this group do not usually have obvious physical defects and thus are not always easy to identify as mentally retarded while they are still infants. Sometimes such a child's mental defects do not show up until the time of entering school, when the child has difficulty learning and keeping up with others in the same age group. Many persons who are in the mild category, as adults can find employment or a place in society suitable to their abilities, so that they are no longer identified as mentally retarded.
Cause: The cause of mental retardation is often unidentifiable; known ones are classified as either genetic or acquired. Genetic conditions include chromosomal abnormalities such as down syndrome and klinefelter's syndrome and errors of metabolism such as phenylketonuria, hypothyroidism, and tay-sachs disease. Acquired conditions may be prenatal, perinatal, or postnatal. Prenatal conditions include rubella and other viral infections, toxins, placental insufficiency, and blood type incompatibility. Perinatal causes are anoxia, birth injury, and prematurity. Postnatal causes may include infections, poisons, poor nutrition, trauma, and sociocultural factors such as deprivation.
Many conditions that can cause severe retardation can be diagnosed during pregnancy, and in some cases proper treatment can lessen or even prevent retardation. Proper care for the mother during pregnancy and for the baby in the first months of life is also important.
See also: mental illness, behavior disorder.
mental disorderA clinically significant behavioural or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and is associated with present distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (i.e., impairment in one or more important areas of functioning), or with significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability or an important loss of freedom. This syndrome or pattern must not be merely an expectable and culturally sanctioned response to a particular event (for example, the death of a loved one).
mental disorderMental illness Psychology '…a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual.associated with present distress–eg, a painful Sx or disability–ie, impairment in one or more important areas of functioning or with significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom…this syndrome or pattern must not be merely an expectable and culturally sanctioned response to a particular event, for example, the death of a loved one'
men·tal dis·or·der(men'tăl dis-ōr'dĕr)
See also: mental illness, behavior disorder
men·tal dis·or·der(men'tăl dis-ōr'dĕr)
Patient discussion about mental disorder
Q. Regarding mental illness My mom is suffering from mental illness. As she remains absent minded through out the day, moreover remains silent (talkless), suffering with idiot ideas. Pls advise me how may i resolve this prob. She is sufferring from last 4 years....!!! and now it has increased. We are also under supervision of phycologist but he used to kept her on sleep as alternative. I need yr some corrective suggestion & help. Regards Parth
Q. Everyone on my mother's side has mental illness and addictions. How do you convince someone they need help? It seems to be an inherited bi-polar disorder. An uncle shot his wife. A brother shot his wife and killed himself. My son has been diagnosed as bi-polar. How do I convince or get help for other family members who are in denial?
Q. How do you know the difference if the child has ADHD or have other mental disorders? The child has been of ADHD medication for four years give or take a few months. The problems are getting gradually worse. She has no patience with anything, can’t sit still. She is ten years old but she acts like she is 6.