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Article   |    
Mental Retardation and Psychiatric Illness
Benedetto Vitiello; David Behar
Psychiatric Services 1992; doi:
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This work was partly supported by grant RO1-H-43851 from the National Institute of Mental Health to Dr. Behar.

Laboratory of Clinical Sciences of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland

Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Medical College of Pennsylvania, 3200 Henry Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19129

1992 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Although traditional diagnostic criteria are accepted for use with mentally retarded persons, diagnosis of psycbiatric disorders in this population is often complicated by clinicians' ignoring or underestimating such disorders and by patients' communication probkms. The revision of DSM-III and changes in policies of third-party payers have sensitized clinicians to the presence of psychopathology among mentally retarded persons. The authors discuss the relationship between mental illness and mental retardation and review recent research on the diagnosis of specific psychiatric disorders in these patients. Some problems, such as behavioral disruptiveness, psychoses, and phobias, are more prevalent among mentally retarded persons than among other populations, whereas other problems, such as akobolism and suicide, may be less common.

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