Panic Attacks and Social Security Disability

Everyone has experienced some degree of fear at some point in time. What happens when that fear grows out of control? What happens when panic sets in for no reason and without warning? Not just a “bad feeling”, but full-blown, heart-pounding panic? Millions of people live their lives having to endure these feelings. One moment they are fine, the next minute panic sets in without any warning or reason. This can have a devastating impact on one's quality of life and their ability to function in the world. Some of the people who suffer from panic attacks are unable to sustain employment and the financial stress only adds to the emotional difficulties. For some of these individuals, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to help. If you have been suffering from panic attacks and your condition has prevented you from earning an income, the following information can help you understand the Social Security Disability application process and how the Social Security Administration evaluates disability claims based on chronic panic attacks.

Panic Attacks - Condition and Symptoms

Everyone experiences panic on occasion, but individuals who suffer from panic attacks feel intense feelings of fear that are associated with severe physical symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing and increased heart rate. These physical symptoms can be so severe that individuals may confuse it with a heart attack. To make matters worse, panic attacks are not attributed to any specific cause or event and seem to appear without reason or warning.

The physical manifestation of a panic attack is often accompanied by intense, irrational fear. The individual suffering the attack may feel as if something horrible is going to happen. Many individuals report feeling as though they are going to die or as if they are going insane. Panic attacks usually last less than one hour, although they tend to leave an individual feeling completely drained after the attack has passed.

Panic attacks can be terrifying. If a person begins to suffer from frequent attacks they may begin to live in fear of panic attacks, adding to the severity of the condition. Some individuals may become afraid to leave the house, worrying that a panic attack will develop while they are in public. If a person suffers from four or more panic attacks and they begin to live in fear of developing another, they can be diagnosed as having chronic panic attacks.

The causes of panic attacks may vary. In some cases, a cause for chronic panic attacks may never be discovered. In other cases, the condition may be caused by stress, genetics or an error in the way the body produces adrenaline. While there is no specific laboratory test that can diagnose chronic panic attacks, a doctor can diagnose the condition by documenting patient experiences and medical history. If other conditions are ruled out and there is no underlying cause for the symptoms, a diagnosis of chronic panic attacks can be made.

While there is no cure for chronic panic attacks, treatments are available to help control the symptoms of the condition. Anti-anxiety medication can often help the severity and frequency of chronic panic attacks. Unfortunately, treatment cannot always completely prevent the attacks from occurring.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Panic Attacks

When a person files for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security employee reviewing the claim will refer to a listing of impairments published by the Social Security Administration. Unfortunately panic attacks do not have a separate listing covered under these published guidelines. While that does not mean that a person who is diagnosed with chronic panic attacks cannot qualify for disability benefits, it does make it a little harder to do so.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to panic attacks you will need to prove to the Social Security Administration that your condition is so severe that it prevents you from performing substantial gainful work activity. When discussing your condition with your doctor, make sure that you discuss how your condition limits you from performing normal day-to-day activities. Documented medical notes detailing these limitations will help you prove your disability case.

Panic Attacks and Your Social Security Disability Case

If you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits due to panic attacks, it might be hard for you to prove your disability case. On account of this, your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits may be denied. If it is, do not become discouraged. It is important to remember that approximately 70 percent of disability applications are denied at the initial stage of the application process.

If your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, you will need to file an appeal to reverse the Social Security Administration's decision to deny your benefits. The good news is approximately two-thirds of appeals are decided in favor of the applicant at the hearing level of the Social Security Disability appeals process. You can increase your chances of a successful appeal by retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney.

A Social Security Disability lawyer can help you file an initial application or appeal a disability denial if panic attacks have prevented you from maintaining employment. Click here to contact a Social Security Disability attorney to discuss your disability case and to begin the Social Security Disability appeal process.