Thursday, July 23, 2009

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) (formerly the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR)) is an American non-profit professional organization that advocates on behalf of those with mental retardation. AAMR has members in the United States and 55 other countries.

Founded in 1876, the AAIDD is the oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization of professionals (and others) concerned about mental retardation and related disabilities.

The first meeting of the "Association of Medical Officers of American Institutions for Idiotic and Feebleminded Persons" was held at the Elwyn Training School in Elwyn, Pennsylvania. The organization later changed its name to "American Association on Mental Deficiency" (AAMD) and then to the "American Association on Mental Retardation." In June 2006, members of the association voted to change its name to the "American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mental health laws and involuntary patients

If you are an involuntary patient under the Mental Health Act, you have rights. You should be aware of these rights and know who to contact if you need help.

Your basic rights
You have the right to:

  • Appeal to the Mental Health Review Board
  • A second opinion
  • Legal advice
  • Contact people by letter or telephone
  • Complain about your treatment.
Involuntary patients
If you have been admitted as an involuntary patient to a mental health service, it is because a doctor believes that:
  • You appear to be mentally ill
  • Your mental illness requires immediate treatment
  • It is necessary for your health or safety or for the protection of other people
  • You have refused or are unable to consent to necessary treatment
  • There is no less restrictive way for you to receive adequate treatment.
Within 24 hours of admission, a psychiatrist from the mental health service will examine you to decide if all these reasons apply to you. If they do, you must remain an involuntary patient.

Community treatment orders
Your psychiatrist may decide that you can receive the treatment you need in the community and place you on a community treatment order. However, you are still an involuntary patient.

Mental Health Review Board
The Mental Health Review Board is an independent tribunal that:
  • Hears appeals from patients who want to be discharged.
  • Reviews all patients periodically to decide if they can be discharged.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Dance - health benefits

There are many forms of dance, from ballroom to barn and disco to morris. Dance has been a part of human culture, rituals and celebrations forever. Today, most dancing is about recreation and self-expression, although it can also be pursued as a competitive activity. Dancing is an enjoyable way to be more physically active and stay fit.

Health benefits
Dancing can be a way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It has a wide range of physical and mental benefits including:

  • Improved condition of the heart and lungs
  • Increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
  • Increased aerobic fitness
  • Improved muscle tone and strength
  • Weight management
  • Stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Better coordination, agility and flexibility
  • Improved balance and spatial awareness
  • Increased physical confidence
  • Improved mental functioning
  • Improved general and psychological wellbeing
  • Greater self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Better social skills.
Getting started
You can dance in a group, with a partner, or on your own. There a lots of different places where you can enjoy dancing, for example at dance schools, social venues, community halls and in your own home. Dancing has become such a popular way to be active and keep fit, that most fitness clubs now offer dance classes in their group exercise programs.

Dancing can be performed both competitively and socially. It can be a great recreational and sporting option, because anyone of any age can take part. It doesn’t matter whether it is cold or raining as dancing is usually done indoors.

The gear you require to dance will depend on the style of dancing you choose. For example, tap dancing will involve purchasing tap shoes, whereas ballet will require ballet slippers and ballet attire. To get started, simply choose a style you enjoy, or would like to try, and join a class.

Types of dance
There are numerous styles of dance to choose from, each with its own attractions. Some popular types of dancing styles include:
  • Ballet – mostly performed to classical music, this dance style focuses on strength, technique and flexibility.
  • Ballroom dancing –: this involves a number of partner dancing styles such as the waltz, swing, fox-trot, rumba and the tango.
  • Belly dancing – originating in the Middle East, this dance style is a fun way to exercise.
  • Hip hop – performed mostly to hip hop music, this urban dance style can involve breaking, popping, locking and free styling.
  • Jazz – a high energy dance style involving kicks, leaps and turns to the beat of the music.
  • Pole dancing – this style of dancing has become increasingly popular as a form of exercise. It involves sensual dancing with a vertical pole, and requires muscle endurance, co-ordination, and upper and lower body strength.
  • Salsa – involving a mixture of Caribbean, Latin American and African influences, salsa is usually a partner dance and emphasises rhythms and sensuality.
  • Square dancing – a type of folk dancing where four couples dance in a square pattern, moving around each other and changing partners
  • Tap dancing – focuses on timing and beats. The name originates from the tapping sounds made by the small metal plates on the dancer’s shoes touch the ground.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides diagnostic criteria for mental disorders. It is used in the United States and in varying degrees around the world, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers.

The DSM has attracted controversy and criticism as well as praise. There have been five revisions since it was first published in 1952, gradually including more disorders, though some have been removed and are no longer considered to be mental disorders. It initially evolved out of systems for collecting census and psychiatric hospital statistics, and from a manual developed by the US Army. The last major revision was the fourth edition ("DSM-IV"), published in 1994, although a "text revision" was produced in 2000. The fifth edition ("DSM-V") is currently in consultation, planning and preparation, due for publication in May 2012. An early draft will be released for comment in 2009. The mental disorders section of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) is another commonly-used guide, used more often in some parts of the world. The coding system used in the DSM-IV is designed to correspond with the codes used in the ICD, although not all codes may match at all times because the two publications are not revised synchronously.

What is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms include difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity (over-activity).

ADHD has three subtypes:1
  • Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive
    • Most symptoms (six or more) are in the hyperactivity-impulsivity categories.
    • Fewer than six symptoms of inattention are present, although inattention may still be present to some degree.
  • Predominantly inattentive
    • The majority of symptoms (six or more) are in the inattention category and fewer than six symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are present, although hyperactivity-impulsivity may still be present to some degree.

    • Children with this subtype are less likely to act out or have difficulties getting along with other children. They may sit quietly, but they are not paying attention to what they are doing. Therefore, the child may be overlooked, and parents and teachers may not notice that he or she has ADHD.
  • Combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive
    • Six or more symptoms of inattention and six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity are present.
    • Most children have the combined type of ADHD.

Treatments can relieve many of the disorder's symptoms, but there is no cure. With treatment, most people with ADHD can be successful in school and lead productive lives. Researchers are developing more effective treatments and interventions, and using new tools such as brain imaging, to better understand ADHD and to find more effective ways to treat and prevent it.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Neurology (from Greek νεῦρον, neuron, "nerve"; and -λογία, -logia) is a medical specialty dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Specifically, it deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of disease involving the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue, such as muscle. corresponding surgical specialty is neurosurgery. A neurologist is a physician (not a surgeon) who specializes in neurology, and is trained to investigate, or diagnose and treat, neurological disorders. Pediatric neurologists treat neurological disease in children. Neurologists may also be involved in clinical research, clinical trials, as well as basic research and translational research. In the United Kingdom, contributions to the field of neurology stem from various professions; saliently, several biomedical research scientists are choosing to specialize in the technical/laboratory aspects of one of neurology's subdisciplines.

A neurologist's educational background and medical training varies with the country of training. In the United States and Canada, neurologists are physicians who have completed postgraduate training in neurology after graduation from medical school.

Neurologists complete, on average, at least 12 years of college education and clinical training. This training includes obtaining a four-year undergraduate degree, a medical degree, which is an additional four years, and then completing a four-year residency in neurology. The four-year residency consists of one year of internal medicine training followed by three years of training in neurology. One and two year fellowships are available following completion of the neurology residency if desired.

Many neurologists also have additional subspecialty training (fellowships) after completing their residency in one area of neurology such as stroke or vascular neurology, interventional neurology, epilepsy, neuromuscular, neurorehabilitation, behavioral neurology, sleep medicine, pain management, neuroimmunology, clinical neurophysiology, or movement disorders.

In Germany, a compulsory year of psychiatry must be done to complete a residency of neurology.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, neurology is a subspecialty of general (internal) medicine. After five to nine years of medical school and a year as a pre-registration house officer (or two years on the Foundation Programme) a neurologist must pass the examination for Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (or the Irish equivalent) before entering specialist training in neurology. A generation ago some neurologists would also spend a couple of years working in psychiatric units and obtain a Diploma in Psychological Medicine, but that became uncommon and now that a basic psychiatric qualification takes three years to obtain it is no longer practical. A period of research is essential, and obtaining a higher degree aids career progression: many found it was eased after an attachment to the Institute of Neurology at Queen Square in London. Some neurologists enter the field of rehabilitation medicine (known as physiatry in the US) to specialise in neurological rehabilitation, which may include stroke medicine as well as brain injuries.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kleptomania -an impulse control

Kleptomania is an impulse control disorder often related to other mood disorders, such as depression, substance abuse, or eating disorders. But not everyone who shoplifts is a kleptomaniac.

Kleptomaniacs do not steal because they want a particular item and can't afford it. In fact, they often discard stolen items, or secretly return them to the store from which they were taken. Instead, kleptomaniacs are driven by an uncontrollable urge to steal things. They often feel increased anxiety when the craving hits, and this can only be relieved by taking the desired item. Often they are not even fully aware that they have stolen the item.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Ataxia-telangiectasia (AT) (Boder-Sedgwick syndrome or Louis-Bar syndrome is a rare, neurodegenerative, inherited disease which affects many parts of the body and causes severe disability. Ataxia refers to poor coordination and telangiectasia to small dilated blood vessels, both of which are hallmarks of the disease.

AT affects the cerebellum (the body's motor coordination control center) and also weakens the immune system in about 70% of the cases, leading to respiratory disorders and increased risk of cancer. It first appears in early childhood (the toddler stage) with symptoms such as lack of balance, slurred speech, and increased infections. Because all children at this age take time to develop good walking skills, coherent speech, and an effective immune system, it may be some years before AT is properly diagnosed.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Cephalic disorders

Cephalic disasters (from the Greek word κεφάλη, meaning "head") are congenital conditions that stem from damage to, or abnormal development of, the budding nervous system. Cephalic is a term that means "head" or "head end of the body."

Cephalic disorders are not necessarily caused by a single factor, but may be influenced by hereditary or genetic conditions, nutritional deficiencies, or by environmental exposures during pregnancy, such as medication taken by the mother, maternal infection, or exposure to radiation (such disorders are more common in areas of the former Soviet Union affected by nuclear waste disposal problems, such as the area around the Mayak plant in Chelyabinsk, Russia.) Some cephalic disorders occur when the cranial sutures (the fibrous joints that connect the bones of the skull) join prematurely. Most cephalic disorders are caused by a disturbance that occurs very early in the development of the fetal nervous system.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pervasive developmental disorders

Pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), as opposed to specific developmental disorders (SDD), refers to a group of five disorders characterized by delays in the development of multiple basic functions including socialization and communication. The pervasive developmental disorders are:

* Autism, the most commonly known,
* Rett syndrome,
* Childhood disintegrative disorder,
* Asperger syndrome, and
* Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), which includes atypical autism.

Parents may note symptoms of PDD as early as infancy and typically onset is prior to three years of age. PDD itself does not affect life expectancy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Congenital disorder

Congenital disorder involves defects in or damage to a developing fetus. It may be the result of genetic abnormalities, the intrauterine (uterus) environment, errors of morphogenesis, or a chromosomal abnormality. The outcome of the disorder will further depend on complex interactions between the pre-natal deficit and the post-natal environment.

Congenital disorders vary widely in causation and abnormalities. Any substance that causes birth defects is known as a teratogen. The older term congenital disorder does not necessarily refer to a genetic disorder despite the similarity of the words

* A congenital physical anomaly is an abnormality of the structure of a body part. An anomaly may or may not be perceived as a problem condition. Many, if not most, people have one or more minor physical anomalies if examined carefully. Examples of minor anomalies can include curvature of the 5th finger (clinodactyly), a third nipple, tiny indentations of the skin near the ears (preauricular pits), shortness of the 4th metacarpal or metatarsal bones, or dimples over the lower spine (sacral dimples). Some minor anomalies may be clues to more significant internal abnormalities.

* A congenital malformation is a congenital physical anomaly that is deleterious, i.e. a structural defect perceived as a problem. A typical combination of malformations affecting more than one body part is referred to as a malformation syndrome.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a diagnosis which was first made following the Viet Nam war. Veterans who saw combat in Viet Nam were found to have a number of symptoms not clearly documented in any other diagnostic category. In fact, these symptoms had been observed in combat veterans in many previous wars. It seems that PTSD is constantly being rediscovered.

War has always taken a toll. Accounts throughout history tell of nightmares and other emotional problems associated with the horrors of war. It seems that we repeatedly discover the effects of trauma on humans every time we go to war. Terms like "combat fatigue" and "shell shock" were used in the past to describe some of the effects of combat. These terms are misleading because they imply that the effects of combat are short term. In the DSM-IV the term "Acute Stress Disorder" is used for a similar syndrome lasting less than 30 days.

Mental Disorder

A mental illness or mental disorder is a mental health condition assessed as abnormal or maladaptive and involving significant distress or disability. Mental disorder could be of various types. Some of the major mental disorders are phobias, mood disorders, cognitive disorders, personality disorders, Schizophrenia and substance related disorders like alcohol dependence.

In 1982, the Government of India launched the National Mental Health Programme. The main objective of this program was to increase the mental health care infrastructure available for the benefit of the growing amount of mentally challenged people in the country.

The key goals of the National Mental Health Programme are:

* To make sure that minimum mental health care is available and accessible to everyone in the projected future.
* To encourage people to apply mental health knowledge in general health care and social development.
* To promote community participation in the growth of mental health services and to stimulate efforts towards self help.

Mental health is a part of the primary health care system of India. Community care amenities for people with mental disorders are on hand in certain districts. Other than this, various NGOs offer different types of services to patients with mental disorders.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Sleep is the natural state of bodily rest observed in humans and other animals. It is common to all mammals and birds, and is also seen in many reptiles, amphibians and fish. In humans, other mammals, and a substantial majority of other animals which have been studied, such as some species of fish, birds, ants and fruit-flies, regular sleep is essential for survival.

A widely publicized 2003 study performed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine demonstrated that cognitive performance in humans declines with fewer than eight hours of sleep. However, the purposes of sleep are only partly clear and are the subject of intense research.

Criteria for staging, or scoring the stages of sleep, have been changed several times. First described in 1937 by Loomis et al, the staging was changed in 1957 after the discovery of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, standardized in 1968 by Rechtschaffen & Kales (R&K) and most recently in 2007 in The AASM Manual for the Scoring of Sleep and Associated Events published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). In addition to adding arousals and respiratory, cardiac, and movement events, the major change in 2007 was the elimination of Stage 4: in the R&K standard, the difference between Stages 3 and 4 (now combined as 3) was that delta waves made up less than 50% of the total wave-patterns in stage 3, while they were more than 50% in stage 4. The R&K standard included four stages of NREM sleep plus REM, sometimes referred to as "stage 5". The newer standard discontinues stage 4 sleep and leaves only stage 3 to describe deep sleep, also known as delta or slow-wave sleep.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Conduct disorder

Conduct disorder is one of the most common disorders in children and adolescents in general population. Conduct disorder or CD involves a number of persistent patterns of problematic behaviors, including oppositional and defiant behaviors and antisocial activities including lying, stealing, destruction of property, deceitful, running away, physical violence and sexually coercive behaviors.

A child is diagnosed with conduct disorder when the symptoms continue for 6 months or more. CD is also known as a "disruptive behavior disorder" due to its impact on a child or adolescents family, school and people around them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dependent personality disorder

Dependent personality disorder (DPD), formerly known as asthenic personality disorder is a personality disorder that is characterized by a pervasive psychological dependence on other people. The difference between a 'dependent personality' and a 'dependent personality disorder' is somewhat subjective, which makes a diagnosis sensitive to cultural influences such as gender role expectations.

Clinical interest in dependent personality disorder has existed since Karl Abraham first described the oral character. As a disorder, the personality type first appeared in a War Department technical bulletin in 1945 and later in the first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 1952 (American Psychiatric Association, 1952) as a subtype of passive-aggressive personality disorder. Since then, a surprising number of studies have upheld the descriptive validity of dependent personality traits, viewed as submissiveness, oral character traits, oral dependence, or passive dependence, or as a constellation of both pathological and adaptive traits under the rubric dependency.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Panic disorder

Panic Disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring severe panic attacks. It may also include significant behavioral change lasting at least a month, and of ongoing worry about the implications or concern about having other attacks. The latter is called Anticipatory Attacks (DSM-IVR). It is important to note that panic disorder is not the same as agoraphobia, although a great deal of people with panic disorder also suffer from agoraphobia.

Panic Disorder sufferers usually have a series of intense episodes of extreme anxiety during panic attacks. These attacks typically last about ten minutes, but can be as short-lived as 1–5 minutes and last as long as twenty minutes or until medical intervention. However, attacks can wax and wane for a period of hours — panic attacks rolling into one another. They may vary in intensity and specific symptoms of panic over the duration (i.e. rapid heartbeat, perspiration, dizziness, dyspnea, trembling, psychological experience of uncontrollable fear, hyperventilation, etc.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Cognition is a concept used in different ways by different disciplines, but is generally accepted to mean the process of thought. For example, in psychology and cognitive science it refers to an information processing view of an individual's psychological functions. Other interpretations of the meaning of cognition link it to the development of concepts; individual minds, groups, organizations, and even larger coalitions of entities, can be modeled as societies which cooperate to form concepts. The autonomous elements of each 'society' would have the opportunity to demonstrate emergent behavior in the face of some crisis or opportunity. Cognition can also be interpreted as "understanding and trying to make sense of the world".

The term cognition (Latin: cognoscere, "to know" or "to recognize") refers to a faculty for the processing of information, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. Cognition, or cognitive processes, can be natural or artificial, conscious or unconscious. These processes are analyzed from different perspectives within different contexts, notably in the fields of linguistics, anesthesia, neurology, psychology, philosophy, systemic and computer science.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Age discrimination

Age discrimination is or group on the grounds of age. Although theoretically the word can refer to the discrimination against any age group, age discrimination usually comes in one of three forms: discrimination against youth (also called adultism), discrimination against those 40 years old or older , and discrimination against elderly people.

In the United States, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits employment discrimination nationwide based on age with respect to employees 40 years of age or older. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act also addresses the difficulty older workers face in obtaining new employment after being displaced from their jobs, arbitrary age limits.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Melancholia (from Greek μελαγχολία - melancholia, it also has a number of other names: lugubriousness, from the Latin lug ere, to mourn; moroseness, from the Latin morosus, self-willed, fastidious habit; wistfulness, from old English wist: intent, or saturnine, see Saturn (mythology)), in contemporary usage, it is a mood disorder of non-specific depression, characterized by low levels of enthusiasm and eagerness for activity.

In a modern context, "melancholy" applies only to the mental or emotional symptoms of depression or despondency; historically, "melancholia" could be physical as well as mental, and melancholic conditions were classified as such by their common cause rather than by their properties. Similarly, melancholia in ancient usage also encompassed mental disorders which might now be classed as schizophrenias or bipolar disorders.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Psychopathology in non-human primates has been studied since the mid 20th century. Over 20 behavioral patterns in captive chimpanzees have been documented as (statistically) abnormal for their frequency, severity or oddness - some of which have also been observed in the wild. Captive great apes show gross behavioral abnormalities such as stereotypy of movements, self-mutilation, disturbed emotional reactions (mainly fear or aggression) towards companions, lack of species-typical communications, and generalized learned helplessness. In some cases such behaviors are hypothesized to be equivalent to symptoms associated with psychiatric disorders in humans such as depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. Concepts of antisocial, borderline and schizoid personality disorders have also been applied to non-human great apes.

The risk of anthropomorphism is often raised with regard to such comparisons, and assessment of non-human animals cannot incorporate evidence from linguistic communication. However, available evidence may range from nonverbal behaviors - including physiological responses and homologous facial displays and acoustic utterances - to neurochemical studies. It is pointed out that human psychiatric classification is often based on statistical description and judgment of behaviors (especially when speech or language is impaired) and that the use of verbal self-report is itself problematic and unreliable.