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Social Security Disability Claims based on Seizure Disorder

In our line of work, we often see clients with debilitating injuries and/or conditions that their employer, loved ones, or even their doctors failed to realize was a serious problem. Rather than risking getting less hours, these clients would show up for work to help their families eat, and try to simply ignore the problems they were facing. However, these health issues often grow into worse conditions because of their choice to ignore it. Then, when they made the call to the employer about their condition, they would be let go, because their health problems were never reported. This is obviously quite a conundrum. What most employers fail to recognize is that sometimes a health problem creeps up slowly and gradually. As mentioned earlier, a lot of employees are hesitant to do anything to get less hours of work these days, because almost anything can be a reason for an employer to make this so. Although we don't want to encourage you to evade your employer, we understand that handling a situation like this is difficult. That's where we come in. We want you to understand that we can help you with your health issues, such as seizure disorder, so that you can get all that you need, and deserve.

According to the Merck Medical Library, seizure disorders are the brain's electrical activity becoming periodically disturbed, which causes a temporary brain dysfunction. They typically last 1 to 2 minutes, or less. It is also important to know that even though a lot of people start shaking uncontrollably while having a seizure, a patient may also not move at all. There are 2 basic types of seizures, the first being an epileptic seizure, the second being a non-epileptic seizure. The difference between them is that in an epileptic seizure, there is no apparent cause. A non-epileptic seizure results from a disorder that disrupts the brain. It is important to know that a person may have a seizure, but not have seizure disorder. Merck Medical Library reveals that 2% of adults have a seizure at some point in their life, and that two-thirds of them never have another one. A patient with seizure disorder typically began having symptoms associated with it in their early childhood, or late adulthood.

Causes for seizures are complicated. When a seizure is recorded in a patient between 2 and 14 years old, the cause is usually not known. However, if a patient over 25 (which is likely in the case of most of our clients), head trauma or a stroke may induce a seizure. But even still, the cause may still be unknown. Patients with seizure disorder are more likely to experience a seizure when under physical or emotional stress. The only way to tell what the exact cause might be is to examine the patient far more in-depth, because several factors can contribute to having a seizure, but not exactly cause it. For instance, if you are a heavy drinker, and then suddenly stop, a seizure may occur. Taking certain drugs, prescription and recreational, may result in a seizure. That's why it's important to give any information your doctor may request if you think you have this condition.

Many people who have a seizure experience the same set of a few symptoms, such as an unusual smell or taste, butterflies in the stomach, or a feeling of déjà vu. However, it often depends which part of the brain the abnormal activity is in, and what type of seizure it is, that clarifies the symptoms. There are several different types of seizures:

Partial Seizures - When only one side of the brain is affected.

Simple Partial Seizures - Only one specific area of one side of the brain is affected. In simple partial seizures, the patient is conscious the entire time.

Jacksonian Seizures - A specific kind of simple partial seizures, when symptoms may start in place in the body, and spread to another.

Complex Partial Seizures - When the electrical discharges that cause seizures start in one area, and move quickly to others.

Generalized Seizures - A seizure affecting large areas of both parts of the brain. These often cause a loss of consciousness, as well as biting of the tongue, or foaming at the mouth.

Absence Seizures - Often occur in patients between 5 and 15 years old, and may continue into adulthood if not identified.

Tonic Seizures - Are seizures that occur primarily when someone is asleep.

Status Epilepticus - Are a medical emergency and most serious type of seizure, because the brain's electrical discharges do not stop. This is diagnosed when a seizure last longer than 5 minutes, or when a patient doesn't recover consciousness after it is over. The only way to combat this is treatment, as fast as humanly possible.

A doctor will diagnose a patient with seizure disorder when the patient has at least 2 seizures that were seemingly not caused by anything. Eyewitnesses play a major role, because what they describe they have seen helps a doctor be able to narrow down the list. It's also very helpful to doctors to know what was happening before the seizure occurred.

Treating seizure disorder is quite simple for doctors if they can identify the cause. Remember, they have to look closely at your body's chemistry in order to spot where a deficiency might be, that could have caused a seizure. If a doctor finds the deficiency, then appropriate measures to combat it are taken. If the cause cannot be determined at that moment, drugs can be issued. Normal daily exercise and abstaining from activities that may cause a seizure are often what doctors tell their patients to do to avoid seizures. Family members may also need to learn how to help their loved one if and when they are having a seizure again.

Social Security evaluates disability cases essentially in one of two ways: either by comparing the claimant's medical condition to a medical condition described in the "medical listing of impairments", or in the commonsense way of evaluating the overall effect of the claimant's symptoms on their ability to work.

Social Security defines "work" as an eight hour a day, five-day week endeavor. As in most Social Security Disability claims, the judge's decision boils down to whether or not he or she believes that you can perform the basic functions of work (sitting, standing, walking, lifting, concentrating, interacting appropriately with people encountered in the workplace, etc.). The fact that a claimant can only perform these basic functions sporadically, but not consistently, is the basis for the large majority of successful Social Security Disability claims.

Although this article contains a lot of information, it is all important to know if you or someone you know is experiencing seizures, or may have seizure disorder. It's never good news to learn something like this, but we want you to know that we can, and will, help in any way you need us to.

Some suggested articles for further reading:

1. http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/about/types/

2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003200.htm

3. http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/

4. http://www.barackobama.com/issues/disabilities/

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The Social Security Disability lawyers at Karl E. Osterhout, LLC, assist individuals throughout southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia, including the cities of Pittsburgh, McKeesport, Squirrel Hill, Monroeville, Greensburg, Butler, Beaver, Washington PA, Uniontown, New Castle, Sharon, Erie, Altoona, Johnstown, State College, Clarion, Dubois, and Clearfield. Our SSD attorneys also represent disabled men and women in and around the counties of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Fayette, Westmoreland, Mercer, Cambria, Indiana, Erie, Greene, Armstrong, Clarion, Clearfield, and State College, as well as the North Hills and South Hills of Pennsylvania.

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