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Is Anxiety A Disability?

Yes, anxiety is considered a disability. Anxiety disorders such as panic disorders, OCD, PTSD, and phobias are regarded as disabilities. People with anxiety as a disability can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers the applicants who can prove that their disability for anxiety is preventing them from engaging in any kind of work.

What Is Anxiety?

An anxiety disorder refers to a mental health condition where extreme feelings of fear and worry control your everyday life. Anxiety disorders can take on different forms. Patients might feel completely unable to concentrate, avoid particular places or situations, or feel extreme panic. There are five types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: In this type, an individual experiences worry and tension that is not about any particular event. A diagnosis can be reached when the condition persists for at least 6 months.
  • Panic Disorder: This condition is characterized by frequent episodes of very intense anxiety that occur for about 10 minutes or more.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): In OCD, an individual performs repetitive behavior due to anxiety as well as recurrent, intrusive thoughts.
  • Phobias: Phobias are characterized by involuntary fears of places, things, events, or situations.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): When an individual experiences severe stress symptoms that last for more than a month after a traumatic event, it is called PTSD

Severe anxiety disorders make it difficult or impossible for people to perform everyday tasks. They elicit a range of stressful symptoms. Such problems may be associated with previous trauma. Military combat, airplane crashes, violent crimes, and animal attacks can trigger these disorders, while others may have no specific cause.

Can You Get Disability For Anxiety?

Anxiety can be considered a disability if an applicant has evidence and medical records to show their disability is affecting their ability to function and work. The applicant must have earned enough work credits and must satisfy eligibility criteria mentioned in the SSA Blue Book.

A person can file for SSD benefits when they have a severe anxiety disability. However, it can be challenging to claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You must have a medical history showing your recurrent episodes of anxiety. The documents must show your feelings and change of behavior after regular treatment from a doctor. 

According to the SSA, disability is defined as “any mental or medical impairment that prevents the patient from engaging in any work for at least 12 months.“

What Symptoms Qualify An Applicant For Anxiety Benefits?

The SSA mentions anxiety disorders under section 12.06 in the Blue Book. This section includes all other mental disorders as well. Regardless of specific condition, it is necessary to document various symptoms and limitations created by the disease.

Disability Benefits For AnxietyThe government requires that beneficiaries have general anxiety, severe phobias, weekly panic attacks, compulsive behavior, flashbacks, or obsessions. An individual with general anxiety must exhibit at least three significant symptoms. The anxiety symptoms include muscle tension, autonomic hyperactivity, vigilant behavior, and apprehension.

An individual with these symptoms will only qualify for assistance if the anxiety disorder sharply restricts his or her ability to live independently. It must interfere with social interaction, routine daily activities, concentration, and speed. If it only creates limitations in one of these areas, a person may remain eligible if the disorder periodically worsens and affects daily function. 

Although the government has established precise guidelines, mental disorders remain more challenging to diagnose and confirm than physical illnesses. It often proves difficult to determine if someone exhibits all of the symptoms and limitations needed to receive the disability for anxiety. 

Doctors and Social Security staff can help people determine if they are eligible. To minimize waiting time, it is vital to adequately document all symptoms.

What Medical Evidence Does The SSA Require For Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders or panic attacks can lead to severe complications, which makes a person unable to function to their full potential. To know more about disability benefits for anxiety, it is important to understand the medical conditions that create a situation that is considered disabling.

Anxiety may affect a person in the following ways:

  • Growing phobias of performing certain tasks or going to particular places, for instance, being afraid to leave the house (agoraphobia)
  • Complete avoidance of all social situations
  • Issues at work dealing with co-workers, supervisors, and/or the public
  • Depression
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Substance use or abuse

Individuals who experience panic attacks may have limited functional capacity in every area. When struck by a panic attack, a person’s ability to function is reduced to a minimum if not eliminated.

What Are The Different Remedies For Combating Anxiety Disorders?

It’s important to discuss your situation with your medical provider and seek professional help if you have been experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above. You will be referred to a mental health specialist to discuss your symptoms. Anxiety disorder is generally treated through the use of therapy, medication, or both.

Medication – There are several classes of medications that are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. Since anxiety can take on so many different forms, physicians can select the medications that offer the most success with the specific type of anxiety affecting the patient. 

Some of the more commonly prescribed anxiety medications include Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) which include Prozac (fluoxetine) and Lexapro (escitalopram). Multiple antidepressants have shown positive results in controlling anxiety disorders.

Psychotherapy – This is a form of counseling that is sometimes referred to as “talk therapy.” The mental health professional helps the patient by helping them come to terms with their anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy might also be used in some cases to help patients recognize and change the thought patterns that trigger anxiety.

Getting anxiety disability benefits also depends upon the treatment you are seeking for your condition. Ultimately, the SSA wants to know that the person experiencing anxiety is trying to get better.

Want To Strengthen Your Anxiety Disability Claim? Contact Us

Once your claim gets approved, the SSA conducts interviews by hiring an expert. There may be a psychiatrist involved that prescribes medication or a psychologist that conducts mental health sessions. The time frame of the sessions vary depending on the mental condition of the disabled applicant. 

If you are trying to get SSDI or SSI for anxiety, it is essential to hire a disability attorney. Getting legal help can dramatically increase your chances of securing approval.

Disability Lawyers in Texas understand the complexities of SSA procedures and how to frame your application to reflect that you meet eligibility criteria. Get in touch with Chermol & Fishman, LLC, today for a free consultation.



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