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Adjustment disorder in disorders of intellectual development 

Adjustment disorder in disorders of intellectual development
Adjustment disorder in disorders of intellectual development

Elspeth Bradley

, Sheila Hollins

, Marika Korossy

, and Andrew Levitas

Page of

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date: 01 December 2021

People with disorders of intellectual development (DID) have a diversity of abilities and consequent support needs. Adjustment difficulties give rise to mental distress and behavioural concerns when expectations are more than can be managed in the absence of needed supports. People with DID also experience a disturbing range of negative life events, trauma, and adversity, all of which can trigger adjustment disorder. Unless such stressors are identified, the individual with DID may be diagnosed with more serious psychiatric disorder, and the opportunity to remove the stressor and offer psychological treatment that both minimizes the emotional impact of the stressor and enhances coping (best practice) is lost. Chronic adjustment disorder, other serious psychiatric disorders, and challenging behaviours may develop and be perceived as treatment resistant (as long as the stressor remains). These diagnostic and treatment issues, in the context of the lives of people with DID, are explored in this chapter.

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