People who find themselves constantly worrying about germs, counting objects, or other activities that seem unnecessary to most of the people that they know might have obsessive compulsive disorder. This condition can make it difficult to concentrate and achieve goals, and it can make some people fearful of even leaving their home. There are some disorders that can severely impact a person’s ability to work, and they might need help in the form of financial benefits until they’re able to go back to work. The Social Security Administration can help many people when they’re struggling to find the financial means that they need until they’re able to work again.
What Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a fairly common condition, affecting more that 200,000 Americans every year. This condition is characterized by obsessive thoughts that the person finds difficult to impossible to control. While OCD is a type of disorder that causes anxiety, it’s actually quite different from generalized anxiety disorder.
People with OCD often try to ignore their obsessions, but they usually find it impossible. Additionally, the obsessions often interfere with the person’s ability to interact normally with others and do everyday activities, such as going to the store.
In addition to the obsessions, people with OCD will also have certain compulsions, which are activities that they need to do in order to alleviate the anxiety that they feel. If they don’t do these activities, they’ll feel even more anxiety until they do the activities.
OCD is likely linked with genetics although a specific gene hasn’t been identified as the cause of OCD or even a contributing factor to who gets OCD. Additionally, biological changes, such as hormonal changes, might be linked to OCD. Finally, environmental factors, such as having someone else in a person’s life might also affect a person’s likelihood of developing OCD.
Stressful events can trigger OCD, and some people who have OCD often have other mental health issues. These mental health problems can include anxiety disorders, tics, and substance abuse problems.
OCD usually will first appear in teens and young adults. Additionally, OCD is considered to be a lifelong disorder, but the severity of it can vary from person to person, and people with this disorder can also have times in their lives when symptoms are less severe and other times when they’re more severe.
Symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
There is almost a countless number of specific ways that OCD can manifest, and each person might have slightly different symptoms. There are, however, some ways that the disorder manifests itself that are very common. And there are some basic principles to how OCD works.
Most people with OCD have a combination of obsessions and compulsions, but some people with OCD only have one or the other. Since obsessions and compulsions are different symptoms, it’s easiest to break them down into their separate categories.
Some of the most common types of obsessions that people have include a fear of being contaminated with germs or dirt, difficulties with dealing with uncertainty, a high need for order and symmetry, and obsessive sexual, aggressive, or religious thoughts. Some people with OCD might have fears that they’ll start yelling obscenities or will have unpleasant and unwanted sexual thoughts.
Compulsions are things that a person needs to do, and they often have to do them a certain number of times. Some of the most common types of compulsions that people with OCD have include washing and cleaning more than necessary, checking, counting, following routines, and needing reassurance. For instance, some people with a cleanliness compulsion will wash their hands until their skin is raw, and people with OCD will sometimes check to make sure that the lights or stove are off multiple times before leaving the house because they’re afraid of leaving them on.
Treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
While there isn’t a cure for obsessive compulsive disorder, there are some techniques that people can use to lessen the severity of the symptoms. Doctors will often use a combination of therapy and medications.
Psychotherapy includes a range of therapies that try to help the patient learn how to better understand their disorder and therefore lessen their symptoms. For instance, cognitive behavioral therapy is one type of therapy that practitioners find helpful with OCD. In this type of therapy, the clinician and the patient will talk through the patient’s thoughts and feelings during certain situations. Then, they’ll come up with behaviors that the patient can include in their daily life to make the situations more bearable. Exposure and response prevention therapy is another type of cognitive behavioral therapy technique in which the patient is exposed to a feared objects, such as dirt, so that they gradually become more accustomed to it.
There are several types of medications that doctors prescribe to people with OCD to help with their anxiety. Antidepressants are one of the first choices because they’re often helpful with little risk of side effects. Some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants include clomipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline. The exact medication that the doctor prescribes will depend on a variety of factors, such as the patient’s knowledge of what has worked for them in the past. And if they’ve ever had difficulties with a particular medication in the past, the doctor will be less likely to prescribe that particular one again.
Disability Benefits for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
The Social Security Administration classifies obsessive compulsive disorder as an anxiety-related disorder for the purposes of determining whether or not someone is eligible for disability benefits. For a full listing of all the requirements, the Blue Book will be used to determine whether or not someone meets the listing.
One of the first requirements that almost all people applying for disability benefits needs to meet is a condition that lasts at least 12 months or more. For OCD, the applicant must have intrusive and unwanted thoughts or repetitive and uncontrollable behaviors that interfere with their ability to do daily activities. Additionally, the applicant must have either marked difficulties in at least two areas or severe difficulties in at least one area. These areas include the ability to interact with other in socially appropriate ways, the ability to learn, remember, and apply new information, ability to concentrate and finish tasks, and the ability to adapt to change and manage emotions and oneself.
For people who do not meet the listing under the above criteria, they can also apply for benefits if they have been having symptoms of OCD for at least two years and have been living in a highly structured environment that has helped them cope with their disorder.
People who still don’t meet the listing can also apply for medical-vocational allowance. To qualify under these criteria, applicants must show that they’re incapable of doing even simple and routine tasks and jobs, such as bagging groceries, in order to receive disability benefits.
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 a 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 Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.