Can I Work With a Mood Disorder?

Mood Disorders (sometimes called Affective Disorders, as the name implies) are mental disorders that affect your emotions and moods. There are a number of recognized mood disorders, the most common being various forms of depression and bipolar (also known as manic-depressant) disorders.

Mood disorders vary widely not only in type, but in severity. A person with a mild mood disorder can usually continue functioning with relatively little intervention, often in the form of therapy or medication. Those with severe mood disorders face a great deal of difficulty in daily functioning, including their ability to perform work tasks and maintain steady employment.

Many with severe mood disorders qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, but you face an uphill climb if you are trying to prove that you are disabled solely on the basis of a mood disorder. Mood disorders aren’t always easy to diagnose, and even when a diagnosis exists, it’s harder to prove that a mood disorder prevents you from working compared to proving the effects of a personal injury.

In order to make a successful Social Security Disability claim, there are two things which you should do: make sure that you are receiving with treatment and employ a good Social Security Disability lawyer. Complying with treatment ensures that the SSA will be able to see that you are making attempts to address your mood disorder and a good Social Security Disability lawyer will make sure that your claim includes the kinds of details which the SSA looks at most closely when determining Social Security Disability benefits.

The Effects of Mood Disorders on Your Ability to Perform Physical Work

In most instances, a mood disorder doesn’t prevent you from performing the physical tasks required for most kinds of work. Of course, symptoms sometimes associated with mood disorders; such as weight loss or gain, fatigue, sleeplessness, or excessive drowsiness can affect your ability to maintain enough vigilance to perform most kinds of physical work.

Make sure that any physical restrictions your doctor or mental health professionals have given you are clearly documented. Make sure also that you make note of any daily activities which are affected by your mood disorders. Even if they seem trivial, they can help build your case for Social Security Disability.

The Effects of Mood Disorders on Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work

Sedentary jobs don’t typically require much physical exertion. By SSA definition, they require lifting less than 10 pounds occasionally. They do involve sitting for extended periods of time. Most sedentary jobs also require the worker to be able to concentrate on small, detail oriented work or to work with the public or co-workers.

Obviously, these things can all be difficult for a person with a mood disorder. In fact, it’s usually easier to prove that your mood disorder affects your ability to perform sedentary work than it is to prove that it affects your ability to perform physical work.

Generally, you will need to have a documented period of treatment by a mental health professional. If you have not been under a mental health professional’s care, the SSA will generally appoint a psychiatrist or psychologist to examine you, at their expense. While this is better than having no documented examination at all (and you must attend if you want to qualify for Social Security Disability), it won’t help you as much as having been in treatment under the care of a mental health professional.

You will especially want to make sure that you have an experienced Social Security Disability attorney in your corner if you haven’t been under the care of a psychologist or psychiatrist. A professional Social Security Disability representative will know how to best build your case to offer you the best chances of eventually collecting Social Security Disability benefits.