About Anxiety Disorders and Disability
What Are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety is fear associated with the expectation of being physically or mentally injured by some real or imagined danger. Anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder;
- Various phobic disorders (simple phobia, social phobia, agoraphobia);
- Panic disorder;
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD);
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Anxiety is common in the U.S., as evidenced by the literally tons of tranquilizers given yearly in legal prescription drugs. Probably the most frequent mental disability allegation is “nerves,” by which the claimant means anxiety.
Information from Family and Friends Is Crucial to Disability Determination
Claimants with mental disorders living with family members are most likely to be improperly denied by Social Security Administration adjudicators. It is critically important for family members or other caregivers to provide the Social Security Administration with as detailed information as possible about specific tasks you can or cannot do.
Mental health clinics will often refuse to provide the Social Security Administration with clinical records that are useful in evaluating how a mental disorder has developed over time. They might simply write a letter summarizing what they think they Social Security Administration needs to know. In some instances, the Social Security Administration is forced to fall back on purchasing a consultative mental status examination in which the examining psychiatrist or psychologist has limited time to determine the details of daily functional capacity. The Social Security Administration should ask the treating psychiatrist (or psychologist) about work-related abilities for at least unskilled work and how these conclusions match with the corresponding limiting mental symptom.
If you are receiving medication, information about side-effects must come from a medical doctor, because a psychologist is not competent to evaluate that matter. However, it is also important for the same kind of information and opinions to be obtained from family or other caregivers, to make sure that nothing is missed. The caregivers live with the claimant; they may have noticed important facts that can be brought to the attention of the treating psychiatrist and the Social Security Administration.