Chapter

Functional mental illness

Catherine Hatfield and Tom Dening

in Mental Health and Care Homes

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593637
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754722 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199593637.003.0016
Functional mental illness

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The term ‘functional’ mental illness applies to mental disorders other than dementia, and includes severe mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar mood disorder. Symptoms of these disorders frequently persist into old age or, less frequently, begin in old age. Older people with long-term functional mental illness are often neglected in research with, and services for, older people. There are limited epidemiological data about the number of people with lifelong mental disorders or their needs profile. Often they have experienced social isolation and disadvantage throughout their lives, for example losing contact with relatives. In old age, they are more likely to experience various difficulties, including cognitive impairment, poor physical health, psychiatric comorbidity, side-effects from treatment, and social exclusion. Various models of residential care for the most disabled exist, though there is no single ideal form of provision. The chapter discusses how needs may be assessed and met, with support from primary care and specialist mental health services.

Chapter.  6639 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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