Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for severe anxiety disorder three times. Each time the Social Security Administration (SSA) has denied my case. I am wondering what I should do? Every time I try to work I end up getting fired because I miss too much work.”
Numbers of reported afflicted great cause for concern
A disturbing trend
A June 23 review of recent books at The New York Review of Books begins with this startling observation:
It seems that Americans are in the midst of a raging epidemic of mental illness, at least as judged by the increase in the numbers treated for it. The tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007—from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startling—a thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children, well ahead of physical disabilities like cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, for which the federal programs were created.
The review, entitled “The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?,” addresses three new works:
- The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth
- Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America
- Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry — A Doctor’s Revelations about a Profession in Crisis
‘Astonishing 46 %’ meet criteria
You’ll have to read the whole thing to decide whether these books might be useful to you or someone you’d like to help, but we’ll leave you with one more passage from the review, before more commentary on the same:
A large survey of randomly selected adults, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and conducted between 2001 and 2003, found that an astonishing 46 percent met criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for having had at least one mental illness within four broad categories at some time in their lives. The categories were “anxiety disorders,” including, among other subcategories, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); “mood disorders,” including major depression and bipolar disorders; “impulse-control disorders,” including various behavioral problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); and “substance use disorders,” including alcohol and drug abuse. Most met criteria for more than one diagnosis. Of a subgroup affected within the previous year, a third were under treatment—up from a fifth in a similar survey ten years earlier.
If any of this is close to the target, these are trends we can not ignore. The stats on children have to be particularly disturbing, even for the most hard-hearted among us.
Skepticism: ‘Researchers come up empty-handed’
However, what may be most disheartening for those whose loved ones suffer from these ailments is that all the modern hoo-haw about science and pharmacology might be just that: hoo-haw. Writing about the same three books, and the review itself, Jacob Sullum writes June 13 at Reason.com:
As those questions suggest, Angell seems to share the skepticism of the authors whose books she reviews: University of Hull psychologist Irving Kirsch, who in The Emperor’s New Drugs shows that antidepressants are only slightly more effective than placebos, so slightly that the difference may be attributable to stronger expectations of improvement primed by the drugs’ side effects; the journalist Robert Whitaker, who in Anatomy of an Epidemic argues that the “astonishing rise of mental illness in America” can be understood largely as an outgrowth of the desire to sell psychiatric drugs; and Daniel Carlat, a Boston psychiatrist who confesses his profession’s shortcomings in Unhinged: The Trouble With Psychiatry. Angell notes that “none of the three authors subscribes to the popular theory that mental illness is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.” She adds that “the main problem with the theory is that after decades of trying to prove it, researchers have still come up empty-handed.”
None of this can be comforting to anyone connected to a friend or loved one affected by mental illness. Imagine being stuck “in the system” trying to get SSI or SSDI benefits for someone so afflicted.
Delays in system back in the news
The system in general is infamous for its delays and backlog, although some announced efforts we’ve covered here have been targeted at reducing the wait times, which can linger from many months to years. Sadly, recent reports indicate those efforts are losing headway. According to a June 22 report in Baltimore City Paper:
The Social Security Administration (SSA) may be losing its battle against the backlog of disability cases, according to an analysis of its data by a New York-based nonprofit.
“In particular, the data show that while progress had initially been made, the hoped for reduction in backlogged matters ground to a halt in the last 12 months,” a report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) says. “Since then the number of pending cases grew by 5 percent. More success has been achieved in reducing average wait times.”
We can help find an attorney
That’s good news about reducing wait times, but the backlogged cases is definitely not improvement. If you’re feeling “stuck in the system” after having trying to make a go of it by yourself, we understand. And we can help. Perhaps it’s time you reach out to a trained, experienced attorney who can guide you through the maze of federal bureaucracy. If so, please scroll down and, under the heading “Need Help With Your Disability Case?” please complete the online form to get a personal response to your case.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder that is triggered by an extremely traumatic event. You can develop PTSD when a traumatic event happens to you. It can also happen when you see a traumatic event happen to someone else.
A lot of people who witness traumatic events or are involved in traumatic events have a brief period of difficulty in coping and adjusting. Healthy coping methods and time usually help these traumatic reactions to get better on their own. In some cases, however, your signs and symptoms can get worse or last for months or years. Sometimes these traumatic events may even completely disrupt your life. In these cases, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder.
PTSD can affect survivors of such traumatic events as torture, war, an airplane crash, a natural disaster or a physical or sexual assault. Post-traumatic stress disorder can also affect rescue workers at the site of mass casualties or other tragedies. These kinds of events may cause intense helplessness, fear or horror.
The disorder has been called by other names, including shell shock, combat fatigue, battle fatigue, combat stress, traumatic war neurosis or post-traumatic stress syndrome. In the American Civil War it was called “soldier’s heart.”
Approximately 7 to 8% of people in the United States will likely develop post-traumatic stress disorder in their lifetime. The lifetime occurrence (prevalence) in combat veterans and rape victims ranges from 10 to as high as 30%. In any given year about 5 million American adults have this syndrome.
Your or a loved one may be one of the millions suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It may have become so severe that you or your loved one is unable to work. PTSD may be the reason for you or your loved one’s disability.
If this is true, you are probably in need of financial help. You may have applied for that help from the Social Security Administration in the form of Social Security disability benefits or disability benefits.
If you or your loved one was denied, what will you do now? If you have decided to reapply or appeal the denial by the Social Security Administration, here is something to think about. People with a trustworthy disability lawyer are approved more often than those who do not have an attorney.
SocialSecurityHome.com is the right place to find a capable disability lawyer. A wise disability lawyer at SocialSecurityHome.com will help and guide you or your loved one in reapplying or appealing the denial by the Social Security Administration. Our dedicated advocates will help you fight for the disability benefits that you or your loved one suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder deserve.
How much do you know about post-traumatic stress disorder? The more you know, the better prepared you will be to deal with this disorder. Here is some more information that may be useful and helpful to you. Continue reading