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Do individuals with an intellectual disability tend to have other mental health problems?

Yes. Studies indicate that up to two-thirds of children and adults with an intellectual disability have another psychiatric disorder. The more severe the intellectual disability, the higher the risk for coexisting psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders, schizophrenia, ADHD, and conduct disorder. Children diagnosed with severe intellectual disability have a particularly high rate of autism spectrum disorder, and approximately 2 to 3 percent meet the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia.

Up to 50 percent of children and adults with intellectual disabilities meet the criteria for a mood disorder such as major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, or bipolar disorder.

A negative self-image and poor self-esteem are common features of mildly and moderately intellectually disabled persons who are aware of their social and academic differences from others. The perpetual sense of isolation and inadequacy has been linked to feelings of anxiety, anger, dysphoria, and depression.

Mental Health Library Sources:

Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.


Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.

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