Relationship between Incontinence and Mental Illness

Incontinence has been defined as the involuntary excretion of urine or bowel content. It has been strongly linked to mental illness. Caregivers need to be aware of how to deal with this matter, and implement the right practices and procedures to provide a better quality of life for the sufferer as well as for themselves.

People who experience advanced mental illnesses tend to suffer from incontinence problems. Both types of incontinence (urinary and fecal) may be present. This may cause embarrassment and frustration to a person who goes through dementia but despite this, they still wouldn’t know how to fix the problem since they may no longer possess the ability to reason correctly.

In addition to all these, most of the time people with mental illnesses do not even notice that they have had urinary leakage or bowel movements. They are not capable of cleaning themselves, and if left unattended it can lead to severe skin complications such as irritation, rash, infection, and breakage of skin. It is known that an efficient therapy to treat incontinence has not been found yet. However, there are very important recommendations provided by specialists which would be good to follow to cope with this condition.

Keeping visits to the restroom and leaking episodes documented is a great technique to monitor if there is something that triggers incontinence. It is also very important to take note of the frequency and urgency involved or if going to the restroom tends to be forgotten. By following these guidelines, caregivers and physicians can get a more accurate idea as to what could be the possible cause and hence provide a more effective treatment.

If the main cause of incontinence can be isolated, caregivers can try to devise a “visits to the restroom schedule”. This could greatly help to avoid possible incontinence-related accidents. Expressing words of encouragement after an effective visit to the bathroom can be a great motivation to a person suffering from incontinence. This condition can lead to many negative mental states including depression, embarrassment, and loss of self-esteem, among others. Having a plan is a great help but if creating a schedule is still not working, then wearing disposable adult briefs or diapers may be a great alternative to reestablish dignity and comfort.

Monitoring a person suffering from mental illness is extremely important.  Mental illness sufferers might not be capable of fully expressing what they feel or want or when they experience the need to use the toilet. Therefore, caregivers must try their best to be aware of different signs such as nervousness, restless movements and keywords that might be used by dementia sufferers to express when the need to visit the restroom has arisen.

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