Psychiatrists are highly trained physicians who help people diagnose, treat and prevent mental, emotional and behavioural problems. Modern psychiatry comprises more than a dozen sub-specialities. You can learn more about the mission, responsibilities and qualifications of a psychiatrist here.
Of note, those with intellectual disability have more mental health problems than the general population. Their risk factors are typically higher, and they usually have fewer internal resources to cope with mental distress. This means minor disorders can led to a more severe effect for those with an intellectual disability, resulting in a need for more care from psychiatric professionals.
Intellectual disability psychiatrists typically work with patients who are at least 18 years old. Younger patients work with child and adolescent psychiatrists or with the few intellectual disability psychiatrists who specialise in children.
A broad range of clinical skills is needed to work in intellectual disability psychiatry. The challenge is often made more complex by related physical problems such as epilepsy and cerebral palsy, together with sensory and communication issues as well as difficulties in accessing services.