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Living healthy lives

-ENTALHEALTHFORADULTS
WITH$OWNSYNDROME
by Dr Jennifer Torr
Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria
(www.cddh.monash.org)

!SACOMMUNITYWEAREBECOMINGMOREAWAREOFTHEIMPORTANCEOF
MAINTAININGMENTALHEALTH3OMEOFTHECRUCIALFACTORSINCLUDESUPPORTIVE
RELATIONSHIPS POSITIVECOMMUNITYENGAGEMENT ENCOURAGEMENTTOMATURE
ASAPERSON PERSONALCHALLENGESBOOSTINGSELFESTEEM PERSONALRESILIENCE
ANDACCEPTANCEOFDISAPPOINTMENTS%XERCISEANDMAINTAININGGOOD
PHYSICALHEALTHAREALSOVITAL
7HATIS-ENTAL)LL(EALTH -ENTAL)LL(EALTHIN!DULTSWITH$OWN
3YNDROME
)TISIMPORTANTTORECOGNISEWHENWEORSOMEONE
WECAREABOUTHASMENTALILLHEALTHANDTOSEEKAP !DULTSWITH$OWNSYNDROMEAREVULNERABLETO
PROPRIATEHELP&IRSTOFALL WHATISMENTALILLHEALTH MENTALILLHEALTH$ESPITEIMPROVEMENTSINCHOICE
0SYCHIATRICDISORDER MENTALDISORDERANDMENTAL ANDCOMMUNITYLIFE PEOPLEWITHINTELLECTUALDIS
ILLNESSAREALLTERMSUSEDFORMENTALILLHEALTH-ENTAL ABILITIESCONTINUETOHAVELESSCONTROLOVERTHEIR
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BEHAVIOURANDPHYSICALWELLBEINGTHATISSERIOUS ONLYIMPACTSUPONAPERSONlSABILITYTOTHINKAND
ENOUGHTOCAUSETHEPERSONSUFFERING TOIMPACTON TOEXPRESSTHEMSELVESBUTCANALSOIMPACTONHOW
THEIRRELATIONSHIPSWITHOTHERS ANDTOPREVENTTHE WELLAPERSONUNDERSTANDSTHEIRSOCIALENVIRONMENT
PERSONFROMLIVINGTHEIRNORMALLIFE ANDHOWWELLTHEYMAYCOPEWITHTHESTRESSESOF
LIFE)NADDITION ADULTSWITH$OWNSYNDROMEALSO
7HAT#AUSES-ENTAL)LL(EALTH
HAVEGENETICRISKSFORMENTALILLHEALTH!NXIETY
-ENTALILLHEALTHISDUETOACOMPLEXINTERACTIONOF OBSESSIVECOMPULSIVEDISORDERS ANDDEPRESSIONARE
MANYFACTORSFROMLOSS ADVERSEANDTRAUMATICLIFE VERYCOMMON0SYCHOTICDISORDERSARELESSCOMMON
EVENTS POORSOCIALSUPPORTSANDSOCIALSKILLS CHILD
2ECOGNISING-ENTAL)LL(EALTH
HOODEXPERIENCES LACKOFCONTROLOVERONESCIRCUM
STANCES LIMITEDCOPINGSKILLS DRUGANDALCOHOLABUSE -ENTALILLNESSMAYPRESENTWITHCHALLENGINGOR
ASWELLASBEINGGENETICALLYANDPHYSICALLYVULNERABLE PROBLEMBEHAVIOURS(OWEVERCHALLENGINGBE
TODEVELOPINGAMENTALILLNESS HAVIOURSMAYINDICATEARANGEOFPROBLEMSFROM
MEDICALPROBLEMS PAIN HEARINGANDVISIONIMPAIR

4 Voice Autumn 2008. Down Syndrome Victoria members journal


Living healthy lives

MENT TOLIFEISSUES-ENTALILLNESSESPRESENTWITH o,OSSOFSPONTANEITY


CLUSTERSOFCHARACTERISTICSYMPTOMSANDBEHAVIOURS o7ITHDRAWN SPENDINGTIMEALONE
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INTERESTORENJOYMENTINUSUALACTIVITIES OVERAPE 3USTENANCE
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GRADUALLYEMERGEDOVERMANYMONTHSOREVENYEARS o,OSSOFWEIGHT
!PERSONMAYHAVEADEPRESSEDMOODMOSTOFTHE o3OMETIMESINCREASEDAPPETITEANDINCREASE
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o.EGATIVETHOUGHTS DEATH ILLHEALTH THEPOINTOFNOTEATING DRINKINGORTOILETING3UICIDAL
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NEEDSADMISSIONTOHOSPITAL
o#OMMUNICATINGLESS

Voice Autumn 2008. Down Syndrome Victoria members journal 5


Living healthy lives

4HEMOSTEFFECTIVETREATMENTOFDEPRESSIONISA /BSESSIVE#OMPULSIVE$ISORDERS
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/BSESSIONALBEHAVIOURISQUITECOMMONINADULTS
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!NXIETY$ISORDERS HAVIOURSRESULTSINANXIETY DISTRESS ABUSEANDEVEN
AGGRESSION#OMMONEXAMPLESAREORDERINGREAR
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RANGINGFURNITURE COUNTINGEGMUSTPUTROLLSOF
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ETY4HEYMAYSELFTALKTOSORTTHROUGHTHEIRWORRIES
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DELUSIONS

6 Voice Autumn 2008. Down Syndrome Victoria members journal


Living healthy lives

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Voice Autumn 2008. Down Syndrome Victoria members journal 7