Diagnoses of ‘hidden disabilities’ including OCD, bipolar disorder and kleptomania soar by two thirds, data shows
- Mental illnesses account for 33 per cent of diagnoses between 2017 and 2022
The number of diagnoses for ‘hidden disabilities’ such as bipolar, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and kleptomania have soared by almost two thirds, new data shows.
Mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia account for most cases (33 per cent), followed by social and behavioural disorders (22 per cent) and learning difficulties (8 per cent), according to latest Government figures covering 2017 to 2022.
Hidden behavioural conditions include conduct disorder, where sufferers engage in violence, tamoxifen high liver enzymes theft and dishonesty, and oppositional defiant disorder, defined as ‘a pattern of angry, argumentative behaviour or vindictiveness’.
Others include kleptomania, an inability to resist the urge to steal items from others, and pyromania, where patients cannot resist starting fires.
The number of UK citizens registered with any kind of disability – hidden or visible – has jumped by 3.9 million to 16 million since 2011 – accounting for almost a quarter of the UK population.
Mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia account for most cases (33 per cent), followed by social and behavioural disorders (22 per cent) and learning difficulties (8 per cent), according to latest Government figures covering 2017 to 2022 (Stock Image)
Disability charity Scope said it estimated 80 per cent of those have a hidden disability – equating to more than 10 million working age Britons – while only 20 per cent of disabled people’s conditions are visible.
The study by mobility firm Cool Crutches & Walking Sticks, which collated Department for Work and Pensions data and statistics held by charities, said: ‘Hidden disabilities are conditions that are not immediately obvious to others. They can be physical, cognitive or mental in nature.
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‘Examining six years worth of Government data, the biggest rise in hidden disabilities comes from mental health diagnoses.’
The report found almost all disabilities diagnosed in children were hidden – with the most common types classed as social and behavioural in half of cases, followed by mental health disorders (30 per cent) and learning impairments (26 per cent).
Cool Crutches & Walking Sticks CEO and co-founder Amelia Peckham said: ‘It is important to note that hidden disabilities can have a significant impact on a person’s life.
‘I personally live with hidden and visible conditions and find the hidden much more complex to navigate.
‘In turn I believe these require an equal level of resources, attention and care to support effectively in order to promote accessibility for all.’
Ms Peckham added: ‘Hidden conditions and disabilities can make it difficult to work, travel, learn and form relationships.
‘People with hidden disabilities are also more likely to experience bullying, victimisation and other negative outcomes, so prioritising awareness around them is key.’
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