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Mental Disorder- Could I have one and not know it?

Recently on our disability forum we had an applicant ask, “Could I have a mental disorder and not be aware of it?” This is a great question. This blog will address what mental disorders are considered disabling, when a disability applicant may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) with mental disorders and also why you could have a mental disorder and not be aware of it.

What mental disorders does the SSA consider disabling?

Mental disorders which may be considered disabling by the SSA include organic mental disorders, Schizophrenia, paranoia and other psychotic disorders, affective disorders, mental retardation, anxiety related disorders, Somatoform disorders, personality disorders, Autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders.

Would I know if I had a mental disorder?

The severity of a disorder and the symptoms a claimant may have are on a sliding scale. This means that if you are mentally retarded you could be severely retarded to the point you needed around the clock care or you could be mildly retarded and simply need periodic and general assistance.

The same thing could be said from someone suffering from depression. You could be severely depressed which could mean you are suicidal and you need 24 hour monitoring to make sure you do not hurt yourself or others or you may be slightly depressed and feel down.

So, to answer the question posted by the disability applicant above, it could be very likely that you could be suffering from a mental disorder and maybe you are just starting to have hints that you need help but your symptoms may not be severe at this point.

Should I get medical assistance for my mental disorder?

If you expect to qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits due to your severe mental health disorder it is imperative that you see a doctor and get medical care and supporting medical evidence. Medical evidence will be necessary to prove you have a medically determinable impairment that it is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months and you have medical evidence which consists of “symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings (including psychological test findings).”

Specifically, the SSA will be looking to see how your condition affects your activities of daily living, your social functioning, your concentration, your persistence or pace and how many times you experience episodes of decompensation.

Although a mental disorder may not be severe at this moment, it is possible that without treatment and the proper medication it could become more severe over time. If you are having thoughts that you may have issues or if you have begun to experience symptoms these could be warning signs and ignoring them could lead to other more severe issues similar to what might happen if you suspected you had a serious physical disorder but failed to take immediate action.

My suggestion is to find a great mental health specialist and discuss your concerns with them. They are have seen many cases of all types of mental disoders and can provide treatment options for you.
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