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Mood Disorders and Social Security Disability

More than 40 million Americans suffer from some form of mental illness. Mood disorders are the most common mental disorder. While many mood disorders are mild in nature and have a limited impact on one's ability to support themselves and their families, some mood disorders can be very debilitating in nature. Unable to control one's moods and emotions, the disorder often makes it hard to cope with normal, everyday life. Performing the daily responsibilities of full-time work can be nearly impossible. If you or someone you know is suffering from a mood disorder and are unable to work because of the condition, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to help alleviate some of the financial difficulties caused by the condition. The following information can help you understand what a mood disorder is and how it affects a person's eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.

Mood Disorder - Condition and Symptoms

The term “mood disorder” is given to a broad range of mental illnesses that cause an interference with an individual's mood and emotions. Depression and bipolar disorder are two of the most common mood disorders diagnosed, although the term can be given to any condition that affects one's emotional well-being and mood stability.

There is no one single cause for mood disorders. Some people suffer from the condition due to a traumatic event while others have a genetic predisposition to a mood disorder. Other cases may be related to the chemistry in the brain and some are even caused by something as simple as allergies. There are a variety of conditions that can lead to a mood disorder. Singling out the cause is not always possible, although doing so can sometimes help in the treatment of the condition.

Mood disorders fall into the categories of depression-related mood disorders and anxiety-related mood disorders. Bipolar disorder and clinical depression are the two most common types of depression-related mood disorders. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, agoraphobia, stress disorders and generalized anxiety disorder are the most commonly diagnosed anxiety-related mood disorders.

There is no laboratory test that can be conducted to diagnose a mood disorder. Instead, the condition is usually diagnosed through a series of sessions with a qualified psychiatrist. The psychiatrist will often use a questionnaire to help diagnose the condition, relying heavily on the patient's responses to questions and his or her own observations of the patient's behavior to diagnose the mood disorder and determine from which type of disorder the patient is suffering.

There is currently no cure for mood disorders. Fortunately, mood disorders can be controlled through therapy treatments and prescription medications. The medications prescribed to an individual suffering from a mood disorder will depend on the type of mood disorder the individual has been diagnosed with and the severity of the disorder. Some patients will need anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications while others will need a combination of medications to effectively control the condition.

It is important to note that most of the medications that are used to treat mood disorders do not work immediately and it may take weeks or even months before a patient sees a difference in their condition. In some cases, treatment may be able to lessen the symptoms of the mood disorder but will not make a significant impact on one's ability to cope with day-to-day stress and responsibilities.

Filing for Social Security Disability with a Mood Disorder

Proving that you are unable to work due to a mood disorder can be challenging. It is not, however, impossible to get Social Security Disability benefits due to a mood disorder.

When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, the examiner reviewing your disability claim will refer to a listing of impairments that is published by the Social Security Administration. Conditions like bipolar disorder and depression are mentioned in this publication. If you suffer from a mood disorder that is listed in the SSA's published guidelines and your specific condition meets the qualifying criteria listed in the publication, it will be much easier to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

If your condition does not meet the published criteria or it is not listed in the SSA's published guidelines, you may still be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits but you will need to work harder to prove your case to the Social Security Administration. This can be accomplished by providing sufficient medical evidence to support your disability claim. Psychiatric evaluations, therapy sessions and a complete medical history can go a long way in proving your disability to the Social Security Administration, as can statements from the professionals who are treating your condition.

Mood Disorder and Your Social Security Disability Case

If you are suffering from a mood disorder and are unable to work due to the condition, you should consider applying for Social Security Disability benefits. If your application for benefits is denied during the initial stage of the disability application process, do not worry. Approximately 70 percent of disability claims are denied at the initial application stage. If yours is among the many applications that are initially denied, you will need to file an appeal in order to receive the disability benefits to which you are entitled. The good news is that two-thirds of disability cases are won at the hearing stage of the disability appeal process.

You can increase your chances of receiving a favorable decision by retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney. If you need assistance filing a claim for Social Security Disability or if you have been denied disability benefits, contact a disability attorney in your area to review your Social Security Disability case.