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Mentally Challenged

The symptoms of mentally challenged people are usually not easily visible. People who suffer from mental disabilities have a brain disorder and no control over their condition. Some common mental problems are autism, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia. Some people are born with mental disabilities while a large many acquire mental problems after accidents, strokes, serious illnesses and old age.

Severe psychiatric disabilities interfere with a person’s ability to carry out such primary aspects of daily life. These activities include self-care, household management, interpersonal relationships and school or office work. Traditionally, medication and psychotherapy were the two major treatments given to those with psychiatric disabilities. Little attention was given to preventing or reducing functional limitations or handicaps to social performance. However, new mental rehabilitation strategies include community integration and making patients independent and able to deal with their situation.

Skill strengthening involves teaching life coping skills, symptom management and resources to find a job. Critical environmental support strengthening approaches include family behaviour management and the use of peer groups in the transition to community living. Patients are also given social skills, interpersonal skills, personal hygiene and self-care training. This includes dress and behaviour codes; rules about what to say and not to say; and stylistic guidelines about the expression of affection, social reinforcement, and interpersonal distance.

Work assistance approaches include individualized career planning, help with job access, and aid in job retention; peer support, coordination with other social agencies and assurances of confidentiality.

Some patients may be given medications to control their condition while others may have to undergo different types of surgery. All patients are provided vocational training, occupational therapy that involves teaching them a new skill or creative activity. Those who complete rehabilitation therapy have to attend regular checkups and camps.

Here is a list of a few centres that treat mental disorders in India:

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on:10-02-2011