Aetiology and Pathogenesis

Laura Korb, Rory Sheehan, Angela Hassiotis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Intellectual disability (ID) is a lifelong condition of impaired cognitive ability associated with deficits in adaptive functioning. The reported prevalence of mental illness in people with ID differs owing to different methods of sampling and case ascertainment. The recognition and diagnosis of mental illness in people with ID can be complicated by atypical presentations and communication limitations. It is now understood that people with ID across the lifespan are at least as likely to experience mental health conditions as the general population. The aim of this chapter is to discuss in detail some of the causes of mental illness and their interaction in individuals with ID. A conventional biopsychosocial framework is most appropriate to understanding the causes and consequences of mental illness in this group. We also discuss the challenges of diagnosing mental illness in individuals with ID and common comorbidities such as autism, ADHD and epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTextbook of Psychiatry for Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319957203
ISBN (Print)9783319957197
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Aetiology/pathogenesis
  • Biopsychosocial
  • Diagnostic overshadowing
  • Intellectual disability
  • Mental illness


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