Can I get Disability Benefits for Panic Attacks?
Panic Attack Symptoms
Panic attacks are characterized by a sudden sense or feeling of terror. These attacks can make an individual feel like they are going to have a heart attack or die. These periods of terror often occur without warning and are disproportionate to the situations or circumstances in which the individual is participating.
How do you know if you are having a panic attack? You may experience any of the following symptoms:
Increased heart rate
Feeling faint or weak
Feeling of terror or doom
Panic attacks usually lasts for 10 minutes or less and individuals who have had one panic attack are likely to experience more. If an individual has multiple panic attack episodes they may be diagnosed with Panic Disorder.
Panic attacks generally affect women more than men and generally develop in early adulthood. Although the medical community is not clear what triggers panic attacks, it is not unusual for them to develop after major life changes or stressors.
Individuals who suffer from panic disorder are also more likely to develop depression and attempt suicide, and it is not unusual for individuals to be overly fearful or anxious anticipating their next panic attack.
Treating Panic Disorder
Several treatments have been shown to reduce or alleviate panic attacks including therapy or medication. Many individuals use a combination of treatments to reduce their incidences of attacks. Untreated severe panic disorder may eventually lead to nervous exhaustion or agoraphobia (the fear of leaving ones home).
Social Security Disability and Panic Disorder
To win disability benefits for any condition the claimant must prove that the condition is so severe they are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months.
How do you win disability benefits for panic disorder? You will need good medical documentation which clearly defines your diagnosed condition and supporting medical documentation which clearly states the number of panic attacks you experience in a week and the limitations you have to work.
It is also important that you get consistent medical care from a mental health professional (psychologist or psychiatrist) and follow their treatment advice. Failure to take prescribed medication or see a medical professional could jeopardize your chances to win disability benefits, especially if the Social Security Administration believes that with proper treatment you would be able to work.