Anxiety disorder can be debilitating, and it can make it difficult to work. Anxiety is also a very common disorder, affecting millions of Americans every year. There are several causes of anxiety, and the degree to which the symptoms of anxiety take hold of a person can determine whether or not they’re able to work. For people who are experiencing mental disorders, getting disability benefits, at least for a short time, might be necessary, and a law firm can help with a mental health disability claim.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a type of disorder in which a person feels out of control and often has physical symptoms associated with their mental state. It’s classified as a mood disorder, and for some people, it can be debilitating. There’s a range in the severity of the experience of anxiety, from severe to mild, and there are several causes and types of anxiety disorders.
Some of the most common types of anxiety disorders include panic disorder, agoraphobia and other stimulus-induced anxieties, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The type of anxiety that a person has can also determine the level to which they can function in a work environment and which types of jobs that they can do.
For instance, a person with post-traumatic stress disorder from wartime experiences might find it impossible to work in an environment that has loud or sudden noises, but they might be able to work in a more quiet environment. Similarly, a person who has anxiety when around a lot of people might find it difficult or impossible to function in a traditional office, but they might be able to work from home if the company that they work for allows it.
Some types of anxiety affect certain groups of people more than others. For instance, women are about twice as likely to experience anxiety as men. Adults under the age of 35 are also more likely to experience anxiety than are middle-age and older adults. People who have a chronic, debilitating, or potentially fatal health condition, such as cancer, are also more likely to experience anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety
There are several symptoms of anxiety, but the acuteness of the symptoms and the combination of symptoms can vary from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms include panic attacks, which can include persistent and unusual amounts of sweating, shortness of breath, and feelings of fear.
A person with an anxiety disorder might also have intrusive, recurring thoughts that are generally unpleasant. For instance, some people might have the constant thought that they’ll be hurt if they go into a crowded area, and it can be very difficult for them to shake the idea. These recurring, intrusive thoughts might also show up as nightmares.
Finally, a person with anxiety disorder might also experience insomnia, irritability, tiredness, problems with focusing, and paranoia about perceived threats. The insomnia and tiredness are often a direct result of their intrusive, recurring thoughts, which keep them up when they’re trying to sleep.
When a person with an anxiety disorder experiences an uptick in their symptoms, they might also experience physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate, shaking, nausea, muscle tension, and an increased startle reaction.
While it’s possible for people without anxiety disorders to feel some of these symptoms sometimes, the experiences of people with anxiety disorders are different because the symptoms aren’t triggered by an event that most people would feel was threatening. Instead, even fairly mundane events can trigger panic attacks.
Treatment for Anxiety
Both therapy and drugs can be used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The exact treatment that a person with an anxiety disorder will receive will depend on the exact type of anxiety that they have and their own personal factors involved in the anxiety disorder.
There are several cognitive and behavioral techniques that a mental health professional might employ to lessen the amount of anxiety a person experiences. Cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are two of the most common types.
In cognitive behavioral therapy, the mental healthcare provider asks the person suffering from anxiety to examine their reactions in certain situations. The mental healthcare provider will likely ask the person suffering from anxiety about what is likely to happen if they engage in the activity that makes them fearful.
Exposure therapy is a technique that involves exposing a person with an anxiety about a certain thing to greater and greater degrees until the person learns to no longer fear it.
There are also several brands of anti-anxiety drugs that a doctor might prescribe to someone who experiencing a high amount of anxiety. SSRIs, such as Zoloft and Lexapro, are one option. Another type of medication that many people take in the treatment of anxiety is SNRIs, including Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, and Buspar.
Disability Benefits for Anxiety
When applying for Social Security disability benefits for anxiety, there are some things that people with anxiety disorders should do to ensure a successful claim.
In order to qualify for SSA benefits, a person must be able to show that they have been unable to work for at least 12 months due to an anxiety disorder. For instance, a person might be unable to work because they become anxious to the point of fainting when in public.
There’s also some medical evidence that a person with an anxiety disorder should be prepared to gather when applying for benefits with the Social Security Administration. First of all, an applicant needs doctor’s notes that show that they’ve been consistently complaining of difficulties with anxiety and any treatments that have been prescribed.
People who want to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance need to show records from their doctor that they have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Within the documents, there must also be records of at least three of the following symptoms: concentration difficulties, restlessness, tense muscles, irritability, sleep disturbances, or general tiredness.
People who meet at least three of the above criteria must also demonstrate that they have severe problems in at least one or marked problems in at least two of the following areas while at work: difficulties concentrating enough to finish tasks, difficulties socially interacting in appropriate ways, difficulties remembering and learning new things, or difficulties adapting to new situations.
If a person doesn’t meet the above criteria, the SSA will administer a Residual Functional Capacity test to determine which tasks the person can and cannot do. For instance, there might be time limits on certain tasks, depending on the triggers for panic attacks.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal an existing denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Anxiety, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.