The short answer is yes, Anxiety can be a disability. Anxiety can escalate to a level where one is unable to leave home and function in the community.
Anxiety can make it impossible to maintain employment, drive a car, and interact with others. Anxiety can take away from ones ability to perform the expected daily tasks of an adult. Suffering from an anxiety disorder is a miserable experience.
Going on disability if often unnecessary given the treatment options that are available. I have watched people degrade and devolve after accepting disability. It is not something to be taken lightly. Nothing is gained if the cure is worse than the disorder. Life on disability can mean sleeping until noon because there is no where you have to be. It can mean skipping showers, because you are going to stay home alone. It can mean increased isolation. Ask yourself what you will do all day? What will you do with the rest of your life? This is a very depressing outlook.
The question is do you really need it?
(Jofee-Walt, n.a.) Disability insurance is for people who are physically or mentally unable to work. The resources available are limited and have to be reserved for those who really need it.
1. SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
2. SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance)
Before applying, there are some things to consider:
1. Don't give up and surrender to anxiety. Get effective treatment. Anxiety disorders are among the most treatable psychiatric disorders. They can be well managed so that you can function in the workplace.
2. Go on short-term disability, which is SSI. Spend three to six months focusing on treatment and getting better, then return to work.
3. Do as much to support yourself as you can, and to retain as much independence as possible. Consider SSI, which is basically partial disability, and a get a part time job.
4. Explore alternatives such as freelancing or day labor. With anxiety, you will have good days and bad days, Work when you can, to the best of your ability.
5. Change careers. Identify your source of distress and look for a job with minimal triggers. There are jobs where you will have minimal interaction with the public or co-workers, or where travel is not required.
Anxiety is a serious psychological disorder, which can be disabling in it's worst forms. But it is also treatable. Accepting disability can make life worse.
Laurence, K.B. (2020). Disability Secrets. NOLO. Retrieved April 11, 2020 from https://www.disabilitysecrets.com/how-much-in-ssd.html
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. (2020). Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits & Supplemental Security Income. Retrieved April 11, 2020 from https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Living-with-a-Mental-Health-Condition/Social-Security-Disability-Insurance-Benefits-Su
Social Security. (2020). SSI Federal Payment Amounts for 2020. Retrieved April 11, 2020 from https://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/SSI.html
Jofee-Walt, C. (n.a.) Unfit for Work: The startling rise of disability in America Retrieved April 11, 2020 from https://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work/
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David A. Porter has a Master’s degree in Psychology from Sage Graduate School, 19 years clinical experience in a variety of settings including private practice, community mental health clinics, a MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) Program and a program for the severely/chronically mentally ill. He also has 22 concurrent years of teaching experience as an adjunct instructor at three colleges. He has written over 280 behavioral science, neuroscience, culinary and political articles, contributed two chapters to a book on bullying, and written five books on topics that include criminal psychology, motivation & success, and political commentary.
PTSD is a disability. However, unlike physical disabilities, challenges resulting from mental health struggles are rarely seen. Often, they are silent struggles. This creates a stigma around claiming benefits and legitimizing that post-traumatic stress disorder is, in fact, extremely limiting for many of those who suffer from it.
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