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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Osterhout Berger Disability Law > Disabling Conditions > Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

For a doctor to diagnose a patient with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), it must be clear that the patient can’t control his or her worries, anxieties, or urges. Patients with OCD often do not know the severity of their condition until it is either too late to treat, or because they ignore the problems, deal with them as minor inconveniences, and in many case simply don’t realize what is happening (even after it is explained to them). But we want you to know that having OCD can impair your ability to concentrate, or communicate with those around you. In which case, this would prevent you from being able to work at a reasonable level.

OCD, as defined by the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation, is when worries, doubts or superstitious beliefs become excessive. Examples such as washing your hands for hours at a time, or driving around the block over and over again to make sure an accident didn’t happen can help in understanding the meaning of “excessive”. Quite simply, OCD is a condition in which your brain cannot let go of a certain thought, and therefore, it makes the patient overly anxious or worried about even the most menial aspects of daily life.

Since patients with OCD may either by obsessive and/or compulsive, it is imperative that the patient tries to understand their consistent battles with themselves. For instance, an ‘obsessive’ patient may think about germs too often, or needing to have things stay the same, or a strong desire to confess to others. On the other hand, a ‘compulsive’ patient may wash too often, check on things far more than normal, or count repeatedly to keep track of something. Some patients are both obsessive and compulsive.

The cause of this disorder is unknown, but so far no evidence has been shown that links OCD with an inherited gene. Having OCD is not a patient’s fault at all, and we want you to sincerely believe and understand this, because we know how tragic this can be for someone.

Fortunately for OCD patients, there is a successful treatment in cognitive therapy which helps patients greatly, with long-term benefits. As mentioned earlier, OCD is not curable, but it is manageable. We want to assure you, however, that even if not completely curable, that the therapy for OCD is a very good way to combat this illness. Although we will help you in any way we can if you ask for our help in your case, we want to encourage you to help yourself as well, by trying out the available therapy for OCD patients. This way, we will be able to use your doctors and/or therapists’ as credible sources of information, as well as witnesses for your case, and make it more likely for you to get the benefits you deserve.

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 really boils down to whether or not he or she believes that you can perform the basic functions of work (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.

We have represented many people with this disorder; what we have found is that clients who are truly unable to work and who participate in their care by following their doctors’ orders, and who are truly trying to get better but just cannot, are usually successful in their claim for Social Security disability benefits.

We hope this article has helped. You are more than welcome to call our office if you have any other inquiries, or concerns you’d like to discuss. Again, we want you to know that while having serious medical conditions may certainly be tough, we believe our clients are tougher. When we take a case it’s because we believe in you, and we will fight for you.

Some suggested articles for further reading:

1. http://www.ocfoundation.org/what-is-ocd.html

2. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/topics/ocd.shtml

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

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