Is Anxiety Considered a Disability?
Anxiety disorders, including OCD, panic disorders, phobias, or PTSD, are considered disabilities for which Social Security disability benefits may be available. Those suffering from anxiety may be eligible for disability if they can demonstrate that their anxiety makes it impossible for them to work. You must provide evidence that your anxiety disorder meets the SSA’s Blue Book criteria.
Anxiety disorders are characterised by persistent feelings of dread, tension, or uneasiness. For those who are truly disabled as a result of such a disorder, these feelings are not simply nervousness, but rather overwhelming feelings of alarm and even terror that can be triggered by everyday events or situations.
Doctors distinguish five major types of anxiety disorders based on their symptoms:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterised by a relatively constant state of tension and worry that is unrelated to any specific event or situation. This state must last at least six months in order to be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – repetitive or ritualistic behaviour used to alleviate or control anxiety symptoms such as recurring thoughts or impulses.
- Panic Disorder is characterised by repeated bouts of anxiety or terror lasting up to ten minutes and with no discernible cause.
- Phobias are overwhelming, irrational, and uncontrollable fears of everyday situations, objects, places, or events.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is characterised by severe stress symptoms that last more than a month and are caused by participation in or witnessing a traumatic event.
Normal anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, including mental disorders such as depression, adverse drug reactions, and stressful but temporary life events such as divorce or job loss. A doctor will attempt to rule out such causes in the diagnosis of a disabling anxiety disorder in order to demonstrate that the source of a patient’s anxiety is not attributable to a separate issue or event.
Furthermore, the doctor will try to determine the duration and severity of anxiety symptoms, as well as the impact those symptoms have on your ability to engage in daily tasks like work or school.
Anxiety disorders are characterised by overwhelming panic and fear, uncontrollable obsessive thoughts, recurring nightmares, and painful, intrusive memories.
This condition causes increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, nausea, muscle tension, and other unpleasant physical reactions.
If symptoms are not treated, they tend to worsen and can make normal life activities like relationships, jobs, education, or even leaving the house difficult or impossible.
Anxiety disorders can be treated with medication, psychotherapy, and stress-reduction techniques aimed at reducing, controlling, and eventually eliminating the disorder’s worst symptoms.
Treatment effectiveness is determined by the type of anxiety disorder being treated, its severity, and whether the person suffering from the disorder has any control over the sources of his or her anxiety.
Does generalized anxiety disorder Considered a disability ?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is considered a disability under certain circumstances. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 define a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. If an individual’s GAD significantly interferes with their ability to perform essential job functions, or with their daily activities, they may be considered disabled under the law and eligible for protection and accommodations.
It’s important to note that each case of GAD is unique, and the determination of whether it constitutes a disability is made on a case-by-case basis. It’s also worth mentioning that some individuals with GAD may be able to manage their symptoms and function effectively without accommodations or protection.
Is It Possible to Get Disability for Anxiety?
Anxiety can be considered a disability if there is documented evidence that it interferes with your ability to work.
If you meet the medical requirements outlined in the SSA’s Blue Book and have accumulated enough work credits, you will be deemed disabled by the SSA and be eligible for disability for anxiety.
Filing for Social Security Disability with a diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder
It can be difficult to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits based on an anxiety disorder diagnosis because the medical evidence to support the diagnosis is highly subjective and based on difficult-to-document criteria, such as feelings and behaviour that occur outside the doctor’s office and are reported to the doctor.
Who Is Affected by Generalized Anxiety Disorders?
While we all worry about the health of our loved ones, how we will pay our bills, and other day-to-day issues in our lives, people suffering from a generalised anxiety disorder worry excessively about these issues. Individuals suffering from generalised anxiety disorder may become overly concerned about their daily problems, even if others believe there is little or no reason for them to be concerned.
Individuals suffering from a generalised anxiety disorder may become overwhelmed and struggle to get through the day because they are worried and anxious about their daily responsibilities and activities. Worrying about daily responsibilities and activities can sometimes convince them that their problems will never improve or get better.
When Do Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms Appear?
Adults do not always develop generalised anxiety disorders. The symptoms can appear as a child, during adolescence, or even in early adulthood. A doctor or mental health professional may need some time to properly diagnose a generalised anxiety disorder.
Medical providers may be more focused on individual symptoms related to generalised anxiety disorder, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, stomach upset, or headaches – but they do not always make the connection, and the initial diagnosis may be delayed.
Medical experts are unsure what causes a person to suffer from generalised anxiety disorder. Other family members may suffer from the same anxiety disorder in some cases. In other cases, it could be a unique diagnosis.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
While each person’s mental health diagnosis is unique, some common symptoms of a generalised anxiety disorder include:
- Worrying excessively about everyday situations, problems, and responsibilities.
- Controlling their worry is difficult.
- It’s difficult to unwind.
- Having difficulty maintaining attention and concentration.
- Reporting “panic attacks” or “nervous breakdowns.”
- Having difficulty falling or staying asleep as a result of worry or “racing thoughts.”
- I’m tired on a daily basis.
- Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or other physical pain should be reported.
- Having mood swings, including irritability.
If you believe you are experiencing some or all of the above symptoms, it is critical that you speak with your medical providers and seek help as soon as possible. Your medical provider may refer you to a mental health specialist to discuss your symptoms, or she/he may want to rule out any unrelated physical impairment that is causing your symptoms. In most cases, a mental health professional will treat generalised anxiety disorder with medication, therapy, or both.
Working with your medical providers and mental health professionals to determine your best treatment options will be critical.
So Again, Is Anxiety a really a Disablement?
Yes, according to the law, some forms of generalised anxiety disorder could be considered disabilities.
A disability is defined by the law that governs Social Security benefits as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically definite physical or mental impairment(s) which can be predicted to result in death or which has lasted or can be anticipated to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
In other words, a disability includes mental cognitive deficits that prevent you from performing your job or finding enough work to support yourself. The damage must be long-term (lasting more than a year) or potentially fatal.
Anxiety disorders such as the following may be considered disabilities:
- Obsessive-compulsive syndrome (OCD)
- Anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (PTSD)
Is an Anxiety Disorder Enough to Qualify for Social Security Disability?
Many people experience some of the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. The real question for most people, however, is simple: can you get disability for panic and anxiety attacks? The simple answer is yes, but only in certain circumstances.
If your symptoms are severe enough to impair your ability to care for yourself or function at work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits.
To be eligible for SSDI or SSI, you must be able to present medical evidence demonstrating that you have been given a diagnosis with an anxiety disorder, that your anxiety disorder is “severe,” and that you have been unable to work for at least 12 months as a result of your anxiety disorder, or that your symptoms are so severe that you are unlikely to be able to return to work for at least 12 months.
You should keep your treatment records, the results of any psychological or cognitive testing, a definitive list of your medications, and any treatment remarks that discuss the severity of your symptoms and how long those symptoms have lasted to help the Social Security Administration understand the severity of your anxiety disorder.
Making an Application for SSDI/SSI Benefits for Anxiety Disorders
If you apply for disability benefits because of an anxiety disorder, the Social Security Administration will consider your case under the “Adult Listings,” which are a set of criteria that measure the severity of your anxiety and may qualify you for benefits.
This is a difficult test. To be eligible for benefits under the “Adult Listings,” you must meet the conditions of either paragraphs A and B or paragraphs A and C below. This is not a “maybe” test; all of the requirements must be met in order to qualify for benefits.
You must have one of the following types of medical documentation:
- Constant generalised anxiety accompanied by three of the four symptoms listed below: motor tension, vigilance and scanning, autonomic hyperactivity, or apprehensive expectation.
- Fear of a situation, object, or activity that is constant and irrational, resulting in a strong desire to avoid the situation, object, or activity.
- Severe panic attacks that occur at least once a week and are characterised by sudden unpredictable episodes of intense fear, apprehension, terror, and a sense of impending doom.
- Compulsions or obsessions that cause significant distress on a regular basis.
- Recurring intrusive recollections of a traumatic experience that causes significant distress.
At least two of the following must occur as a result of the condition in paragraph A:
- Significant difficulties maintaining concentration.
- Difficulties with perseverance or pace.
- Repeated periods of decompensation, each lasting a long time.
- Significant difficulties maintaining social functioning; or restriction of daily routine activities.
If your anxiety disorder is not severe enough to qualify for benefits under the “Adult Listing,” you may be eligible for benefits due to your age or the totality of your symptoms. To learn more, consult with an attorney.