For years, psychiatric problems in the general population have been hardly studied in epidemiologic research. This was one of the conclusions of the Dutch Advisory Committee on Health Research in a report about research into chronic illness, in the early nineties. Consequently, this committee advised the Dutch Health ministry to invest in epidemiologic studies into depression and anxiety. Based on the outcomes, substantial improvement of healthcare was to be expected. Rationale for the choice of these topics was the relative scarcity of research in this field, compared to the immense emotional and financial burden of psychiatric disorders for patients and society.[1] The subsequent grant programme has resulted in collaborations of scientific and healthcare organizations and corroboration of existing initiatives. As a result, knowledge about the prevalence, negative consequences and biological, medical and psychosocial risk factors of both disorders has considerably increased. It appeared that depression and anxiety disorders have a negative influence on cognitive functioning, functional abilities and the development and recovery from chronic diseases. It also appeared that both disorders often remained unrecognised and therefore untreated, especially in older people.[2] People with intellectual disabilities (ID) have been excluded from these studies in the general population and these results can not be merely translated to people with ID due to substantial differences between both populations. People with ID suffer from longstanding disability, have co-morbid health problems, live in group homes and use more often psychotropic drugs than the general population.[3, 4] Therefore, research in people with ID is important.

, , ,
Abrona, Amarant, Ipse de Bruggen, Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development
H.M. Evenhuis (Heleen)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hermans, H. (2012, May 30). Depression and anxiety in older adults with intellectual disabilities. Retrieved from