Is Anxiety a Disability?

Anxiety is considered a disability. Disability status is given to those who suffer from anxiety disorders like panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and social phobia. Consequently, they may be eligible for anxiety disability payments from Social Security. This article will examine this mental health condition in greater detail.

What Is Anxiety and How Does It Impact Daily Life?

Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions characterized by chronic, excessive worry, panic attacks, and fear.

According to the National Institute of Health, anxiety and stress are common responses to the highs and lows, and most individuals will feel them at some point. Healthy coping mechanisms for short-term stress are typically present in people who do not suffer from anxiety disorders. However, for someone who suffers from a social anxiety disorder, those fearful thoughts and marked distress can persist and even worsen with time. Intense anxieties cloud regular life and make social functioning difficult.

Can Individuals With Anxiety Receive Disability Benefits?

Yes. If a person has worked for at least five of the past ten years but is now disabled, they may apply for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance). SSDI benefits have the most to offer. On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is dependent on income. That means that even if they haven’t worked in the last ten years, they may still be eligible to apply for SSI disability.

Is Anxiety Considered a Mental Illness?

Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses people face. Seeing the anxiety symptoms early on can help patients get the proper treatment. This disorder is not the same as the everyday worries and fears everyone experiences from time to time. In cases of social anxiety disorder, the dread just won’t go away. This can have a negative impact on one’s career and personal life.

What Criteria Must Be Met for Anxiety To Be Considered a Disability?

Everyone reacts differently to severe anxiety issues. Both medication and psychotherapy, or a combination of the two, can be effective in helping some people deal with their conditions.

For the Social Security Administration (SSA) to accept a patient’s claim that they have functional impairment due to an anxiety disorder, they will need medical evidence that the patient has been getting regular treatment for their condition. Patients will also have to sign a document granting the government permission to have the medical record sent to the SSA. It is essential that the medical record include the following:

  • A record of appointments with a therapist demonstrates that the patient is frequently experiencing anxiety symptoms.
  • Evaluations of their mental state revealing any kind of cognitive irregularity, such as an inability to recall recent events or trouble keeping their thoughts organized.
  • Observations regarding the benefits and drawbacks of the medications the patient is currently prescribed.

The most important part is explaining the consequences of social anxiety. The Social Security Administration seeks to understand how much a patient’s anxiety prevents them from leading a normal life. For example, if they have marked distress and trouble doing something at home, like remembering to perform basic housework, the Social Security Administration will assume they’ll have the same problem at work.

How Does Anxiety Affect a Person’s Ability To Work and Perform Daily Tasks?

Different types of anxiety disorders manifest themselves in various ways. For example, patients may experience extreme terror, considerable difficulty focusing, and avoidance of certain places or scenarios. The types of anxiety can be broken down into five categories:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This kind of long-term disability occurs when a person is troubled by feelings of tension and worry that are unrelated to any specific situation.
  • Panic Disorder: Anxiety and panic attacks typically last for 10 minutes or longer and frequently occur in people with this disorder.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Anxiety and persistent intrusive thoughts lead people with OCD to engage in repetitive activity.
  • Phobias: Irrational fear of specific situations, objects, or places is a hallmark of phobias.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD occurs when a person develops significant stress and physical symptoms that linger for more than a month following a traumatic event.

What Are the Consequences of Anxiety Being Classified as a Disability?

If a person’s social anxiety qualifies as a long or short-term disability, they can win disability benefits for anxiety. The application process under the Disabilities Act can be lengthy, so it’s best not to put it off to take advantage of the social security benefits sooner. Knowing the specifics of the disability claim a patient intends to apply for is also helpful.

What Is the Process for Obtaining Disability Benefits for Anxiety?

Online applications are the most convenient way to apply for a social security disability claim. The next best option is to apply over the phone. The following details are required for the application:

  • Basic info including name, social security number, address, etc.
  • Educational background and work history
  • The patient’s medical evidence and diagnoses that prevent them from working
  • The names and addresses of their medical providers and a list of the medications they take
  • The date the patient has stopped working anymore because of their disability.

Learning more about the process can also be possible through a free consultation.

What Role Do Doctors and Mental Health Professionals Play in Diagnosing and Treating Anxiety?

Mental health professionals are qualified to identify anxiety problems and instruct their patients in more beneficial coping methods. Here are some of the ways that a therapist can help during treatment:

  • Carry out a psychological assessment: This means talking with a patient about their thoughts, feelings, and actions to help find a diagnosis and see if there are any related issues.
  • Check the behavioral and physical symptoms against the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria: The American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 is commonly used by medical professionals to diagnose a social anxiety disorder.

What Are Some Common Treatments for Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders are often treated with either medication or psychotherapy. However, combining the two may be the best option for some patients. Finding the proper treatment may require trial and error.

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, also called psychological counseling, is a treatment method for alleviating generalized anxiety disorder and more through dialogue between the patient and the therapist.
  • Medications: Medication for anxiety and other mental disorders can take different forms and is selected based on the specific condition being treated and the patient’s overall mental and physical health.

The Bottom Line

When you’re dealing with an anxiety disorder or depression, even the most straightforward task can seem daunting. We hope we can help people trying to learn more about this disorder.

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