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Mental Retardation: Treatment, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jul 05, 2024

What is the Mental Retardation?

Intellectual disability, more commonly known as mental retardation, is a condition where the brain does not function within the normal range of adaptive as well as intellectual functioning. This condition is present from early childhood and children with IQ level measured below 70-75 are known to be suffering from mental retardation. This condition may be caused due to fetal alcohol effect, fetal alcohol syndrome, intake of illegal drugs at the time of pregnancy leading to brain damage, genetic disorders or brain injury. Probable symptoms of intellectual disability include difficulty in following instructions and remembering things, inability to solve a problem or think logically, difficulty in talking, walking and communicating with others, childish behavior inconsistent with one’s age, etc.

Mental retardation can be diagnosed with the help of a number of tests. If a child shows symptoms of physical abnormalities suggesting genetic disorder, the doctor may perform urine test and blood test, Electroencephalogram (EEG) to search for evidence of seizures, and imaging test to look for structural problems in the brain. Ruling out other conditions such as learning disorder, hearing problem, emotional problem and neurological disorder that may cause delayed development, the doctor will prescribe special diet charts or medical treatment. In other cases, you will have to visit a specialist for a counseling session to help your child deal with their disability.

How is the Mental Retardation treatment done?

If diagnosed with intellectual disability, your child will need to undergo a counseling therapy to cope with their disability. During the session, the therapist will interview the parents and observe the behavior of the child to know more about the condition. Ideally a child is regarded mentally retarded if he or she fails in both adaptive and IQ behaviors. Early intervention programs are available for infants and a family service plan is prepared that focuses attention to your child’s needs. The plan consists of detailed information about the different services that your child will need to maintain a normal development. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is arranged for, which will provide special education to the child and help them with their educational needs. Early intervention also includes occupational and speech therapy, training with special assistive devices, physical therapy, nutritional services and medication.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Children born with IQ level below 70-75, and showing symptoms of intellectual disability like difficulty in following instructions and remembering things, inability in problem-solving or logical-thinking, difficulty in talking, walking and communicating with others, childish behavior inconsistent with one’s age, etc. are eligible for the treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

If your child does not show symptoms of mental retardation, they need not undergo any treatment.


Are there any side effects?

There are no known side effects of mental retardation.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Post treatment guidelines for the treatment of mental retardation include the following: getting your child involved more in group activities, letting him or her participate in physical activities, providing emotional support to your child, ensuring they follow proper medicines as prescribed by the doctor or counselor.

How long does it take to recover?

Since treatment of intellectual disability do not yield permanent results, the exact time for recovery is not known.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Mental retardation is a condition present from early childhood. The results of the treatment are not permanent because it is a genetic disorder. However, certain medications and therapies may help improve the condition.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There is no known alternative treatment for mental retardation.


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Written ByDr. Milind Barhate MBBS,DPMPsychiatry
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