Mental Disorders That Qualify for Social Security Disability

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Mental Disorder — Tinley Park, IL — Horn & Kelley P.C. Attorneys at LawThere are some mental disorders that can prevent a person from working. Because of this, some mental disorders qualify for Social Security Disability.

Here are some of those mental disorders.

Somatoform Disorders

When a person has physical symptoms that cannot be medically explained, they most likely have a somatoform disorder. In order to qualify as a mental condition, the symptoms of the somatoform disorder cannot be related to substance abuse or a medical condition. Symptoms of somatoform disorders must also not be related to another mental disorder.

Common symptoms of somatoform disorders include pain, abnormal sensations, gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, pseudo-seizures, and sexual dysfunction. Somatoform disorders can also cause a person to have severe anxiety regarding their health.

Somatoform disorders that qualify for Social Security Disability include:

  • Somatic symptom disorder. Characterized by excessive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors about physical symptoms. The focus on physical symptoms causes problems functioning and severe distress.
  • Illness anxiety disorder. Also known as hypochondriasis, this somatoform disorder is characterized by excessive worry about getting sick.
  • Conversion disorder. Physical symptoms of this somatoform disorder include amnesia, paralysis, hallucinations, or other neurological problems that cannot be explained.

Once a doctor has diagnosed a somatoform disorder, the person applying for Social Security Disability must have specific medical documentation that proves their symptoms cause extreme distress.

A person with a somatoform disorder must also prove that symptoms limit their mental functioning. Limited mental functioning includes the inability to understand or remember information, as well as the inability to concentrate and interact with others.

Neurocognitive Disorders

When a medical disease causes someone to have decreased mental function, it’s called a neurocognitive disorder. Some of the most common symptoms associated with neurocognitive disorders include an inability to make decisions, problems performing daily tasks, and trouble focusing.

People with neurocognitive disorders may also speak and behave in socially unacceptable ways. Others have short-term memory loss.

At one time, all neurocognitive disorders were called dementia. Now, however, the medical community recognizes there are different types of neurocognitive disorders, which are based on what causes them.

Some of the neurocognitive disorders that qualify for Social Security benefits include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease. A neurocognitive disorder that destroys memory along with other mental functions, this progressive disease is the most common cause of dementia.
  • Vascular dementia. Another common cause of dementia, this neurocognitive disease is the result of damaged vessels that supply blood to the brain.

Dementia caused by a medical condition is another type of neurocognitive disorder. Medical conditions that cause dementia include Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injuries, or progressive brain tumors.

To qualify for Social Security Disability, those with a neurocognitive disorder must have medical documentation that proves they have significant cognitive decline in at least one area, including complex attention, executive function, language, learning, memory, perceptual-motor skills, or social cognition.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are a complex mental condition that involves more than just food. When someone has an eating disorder, their eating habits can have serious health consequences.

Some of the most common symptoms of eating disorders include over-exercising, food restrictions, food binges, preoccupation with calories, self-induced vomiting, extreme concern with body image, missed menstrual cycles, and mood swings. People with eating disorders might also experience sleep problems, muscle weakness, and an impaired immune system.

Some of the eating disorders that qualify for Social Security Disability include:

  • Anorexia nervosa. Characterized by not eating due to an excessive perceived need to lose weight, even if the person is severely underweight.
  • Bulimia nervosa. Characterized by a desire to lose weight, except instead of not eating, the person with the disorder overeats and then induces vomiting.
  • Binge-eating disorder. Characterized by recurrent episodes of consuming unusually large amounts of food.
  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). Characterized by being an extremely picky eater that leads a person to avoid foods with certain textures, smells, colors, and having a general lack of appetite.

Other eating disorders include purging disorder, night eating syndrome, and rumination disorder. One more mental disorder in this category is called pica, in which a person craves non-food substances, such as dirt, soap, ice, or cloth.

To qualify for Social Security Disability, people with eating disorders need to have medical documentation that proves their eating-related behavior impairs their physical or psychological health. People with eating disorders must also prove that their condition causes limited mental functioning.

Do you have a mental disorder and want to do everything you can to qualify for Social Security Disability? Since it can be difficult to prove that a mental disorder prevents you from functioning in a work environment, you should hire an attorney that specializes in Social Security Disability.

Our attorneys at Horn & Kelley P.C. Attorneys at Law have helped clients throughout Illinois, Indiana, and other states get the Social Security benefits they deserve. Contact our Social Security Disability attorneys today to see how they can help you.


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