Doctor: Campaign needed on mental retardation-A A +A
Friday, February 8, 2013
“MENTAL retardation is not primarily a psychiatric problem,” said Dr. Gwendolyn Cayad, head of the Department of Psychiatry in the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC).
She said a mentally retarded person does not actually need a psychiatrist, contrary to what others think.
The pediatricians, the teachers from special schools and the therapist have the ability to help the patients of mental retardation to fully optimize themselves, she said.
Catad stressed a psychiatrist takes responsibility if the patient already suffers from the psychiatric problems like depression, adding that according to a census from the Department of Psychiatry of BGHMC, there were 16 positive mentally challenged patients from 7,551 patient consultations in 2009.
That is only 0.21 percent, she said, adding that in 2010, there were 29 out of 8352, which is 0.35 percent. In 2011, there were 35 out of 8651 which is 0.40 percent.
Last year, there were 77 out of 8855 and that is 0.86 percent. However, the census only shows the numbers of consultations from BGHMC and not in the entire region.
The results show an increase of recorded mentally retarded patients but according to Cayad, it is also possible that the people only became more aware so they frequently consulted a psychiatrist.
Cayad enumerated three types of mental retardation such as mild mental retardation, which is 85 percent; moderate mental retardation, which is 35 percent; and the severe or profound mental retardation, which takes one to three percent of their cases handled.
Mental retardation can be accompanied by other problems like epilepsy and psychosis. Epilepsy is a neurologic condition. Epilepsy can be traced by knowing the history of the patient.
Psychosis, meanwhile, can be traced through a clinical interview. Both depression and psychosis are illnesses that are treatable and could reoccur. The IQ test can also be used diagnoses this type of mental disorder.
Cayad said everyone must be aware of mental retardation, stressing that the legal system, the accusing of wrong suspects from committing a crime, and bullying affects the mental state of a person.
“Mental retardation is not curable. However, it is preventable,” Cayad said.
She encouraged people to consult a psychiatrist when they experience something not normal like hearing unusual voices. She said they should stop the negative attitude toward mental illness as most people really do not want to consider themselves patients of mental retardation.
The BGHMC Department of Psychiatry offers a counseling treatment for persons who suffer from mental retardation. It also encouraged them to attend special schools and classes to fully optimize their functioning.
The National Mental Retardation Week started last February 1 and will last until February 15. (Ryan Fernandez)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 09, 2013.