Disabilities & Mental Health Introduction
IT IS NOT ALL IN BLACK AND WHITE – SHEDDING THE LIGHT
Disabilities and mental health awareness are very touchy subjects with me, as is for many of the social media groups I follow. Disabilities and mental illnesses come in many forms. Unfortunately, when writing a blog/ article, the content may become lengthly, therefore, in this blog/ article, I am going to shed light on a few disabilities and mental health issues.
As I continue to post blogs/ articles. l will begin to define and number them. This should help you know where we are on each topic. Are you ready for the overview?
WHAT DEFINES A DISABILITY?
“The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It is unlawful to discriminate against such persons. Persons with disabilities are also entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace.”
Various Types of Disabilities
- Hearing Disabilities: Hearing impairments may result from problems in any part of the ear or the hearing center of the brain.
- Learning/Cognitive Disabilities: Auditory Processing Disorder (ADP), Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Language Processing Disorder, Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities, Visual Perceptual/ Visual Motor Deficit, ADHD, ADD, Dyspraxia, Executive Functioning, and memory.
- Motor Disabilities: This is the loss or partial loss of function of a limb, body part, that may result in muscle control and weakness. Motor disabilities include paralysis. The types of motor disabilities are associated with neurological conditions, to include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cerebral palsy. Additional motor impairment may come from other parts of the body. A stroke can cause an extreme form of motor impairment called “locked-in syndrome”, which the use of the limbs, eyes, and all other cognitive functions that would normally be voluntary, are lost. This is due to the lower brain or brainstem being damaged. Paraplegics (Tetraplegia), is another form of motor disability. In many cases of paraplegia, neutral interfaces are explored in efforts to restore some functionality of the motor skills. This can include implanting a device in the brain motor cortex.
- Mental Health Conditions: This is bi-far one of the most controversial, misunderstood, under-diagnosed, less-treated, monitored and mocked of disabilities in my opinion. Mental health conditions and disabilities can range from manageable to unmanageable. They require the correct diagnoses, treatment plans, and ongoing treatments. The list includes anxiety disorder, mood disorders (depression, bipolar, cyclothymic disorder), psychotic disorders (hallucinations, schizophrenia, delusions), eating disorders (binge eating, bulimia, Nervosa, anorexia. Impulse control issues are considered a mental condition, kleptomania, pyromania, alcoholics, drug abusers, compulsive gambling. Personality disorders are a wide range of mental health conditions and disorders. Personality disorders, dissociative identity disorder (I really want to deep dive into this disorder in the next blog), antisocial personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder. These specific personality disorders mentioned cause the person to be extremely inflexible, they cannot deal with change well, they experience different thought patterns, these disorders often interfere with work, school, and relationships. The obsessive-compulsive disorder causes a person to possess repetitive thoughts or fears, they are prone to retain rituals such as counting how many times they do something, triple-checking locking the door, catastrophic thoughts if a task is not completed in a specific way. They may constantly wash their hands, follow the same routines, and be overwhelmed by unreasonable thoughts and fears. PTSD is topping the list of mental health conditions/ disorders currently. It is a condition that is generally developed after a terrifying and/ or traumatic event. It can encompass a wide variety of life-altering events, from war, sexual abuse, physical abuse, an unexpected or sudden death. The long-lasting effects of PTSD include constant memories and thoughts of the events. Emotionally it can cause the person to shut down. Stress response syndrome ordinarily occurs due to sudden occurrences. Examples are the loss of a job, a death, failed relationship or divorce, natural disasters. The stressors begin to resolve typically within 6 months after the event has taken place. Besides, there is a Factitious disorder, sexual/ gender disorders, somatic symptom disorders, Tourette’s syndrome. Diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, sleep problems or any other conditions that involve the brain, fall into the mental health condition/ disorder category. Psychosis, borderline personality disorder, and what I found most interesting on another site, was the fact that ADHD and Autism are classified as mental health conditions/ disorders.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder: This includes Asperger’s syndrome. Autism spectrum disorder can be low functioning to high functioning. There is also atypical autism. The three main functionating areas include, but are not limited to behavioral, communitive, and social interactions. Each level holds different tendencies and quite frankly, these individuals are highly intelligent, though they often cannot understand communication such as listening and talking. They appear to zone off into their own world. Sensitivity issues are involved, difficulty with touch can occur, noises, autistic individuals are known to be very eccentric.
- Visual Disabilities: Include partial/ complete blindness.
- Physical Disabilities: Includes limited, temporary, or permanent mobility, motility, stamina, dexterity. There are many types of physical disabilities. Stemming from other diseases as mentioned above, or autoimmune illnesses, brain trauma, neurological, birth, accidental, etc.
As you can clearly see based on the above lists of disabilities, it would be very difficult to judge someone or assume which condition they may suffer from. Unless you are a medical professional and you have personally conducted many tests on specific individuals, please STOP the labeling. Please STOP the stereotyping. I have yet to even give a more in-depth view or definitive breakdown of the mental health conditions/ disorders. Trust me, they will shock you!
The next time you call someone retarded, bi-polar, say that they have multiple personalities, assume they are autistic or have ADHD, make sure you know what you are talking about. EVERY single person deals with EVERY single one of these disorders/ disabilities differently. Some friends or family members may be dealing with them now and you do not even recognize it.
Disabilities are NOT always visible, and disabilities are NOT always a death sentence. Disabilities/ disorders do NOT stop individuals from having feelings or wanting to live a normal life. Very few people bring these disabilities upon themselves.
Help break the stereotypes and help stop the labeling of mental health disorders/ disabilities and ALL disabilities. Be kind, you do not know to the extent someone has gone through to get where they are at this moment nor do you know how your words will affect them.
Suicide rates are very high amongst individuals with disabilities, especially chronic pain patients and patients in the mental health realm.
Show compassion and be on the lookout for more information on each of these disorders/ disabilities as I jump into a series of research and share information, to better assist you in understanding each condition.
If you know someone that is suffering from a disability or disorder and can no longer work or needs assistance taking care of themselves, there may be resources available for them, such as short term/ long term disability (if they are still employed).
Additional information can be obtained by following the link below and the application is also online to apply for SSI/ SSDI via https://www.ssa.gov/disability/.
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References used for research purposes:
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