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What is an affective disorder in terms of Social Security?

Previously, this blog has touched on the way the Social Security Administration’s so-called blue book lists the various symptoms and evidence necessary to establish that an individual in Ohio is disabled for the purposes of securing Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits. Additionally, this blog has also discussed the fact that proving disability due to a mental disorder is often more difficult than with many physical problems that don’t involve the brain. Because most of the time psychological difficulties do not show up in an x-ray or other medical imaging process, the diagnosis of such illnesses can seem to be more subjective in nature, leading to problems documenting a particular type of disorder. The blue book, however, does offer some guidance in this area.

According to the SSA, there are some specific symptoms they look for when evaluating ‘affective disorders.’ These disorders are those that affect an individual’s mood. Now the SSA defines ‘mood’ as an emotion that lasts for a prolonged period that affects the entire psychic life of a person.

One common example of an affective disorder is bi-polar disorder, also sometimes referred to as manic-depression. As with all disability claims, the symptoms of bipolar disorder must be medically documented. As part of the depressive swing of the disorder, the agency will look for changes in appetite or sleep patterns, loss of interest in previously engaging activities, decreased energy, hallucinations, feelings of worthlessness and thoughts of suicide.

On the manic spectrum, symptoms may include: inflated self-worth, risk-taking behavior without thought of the potential consequences, hyperactivity, decreased need for sleep, becoming easily distracted or having pressure of speech. As with most disability applications, the applicant will need to show that the above symptoms interfere with his or her daily life and ability to hold down a job or jobs.

Quite a few Ohio residents may have known someone who suffers from some form of affective disorder, as it is one of the more commonly diagnosed psychological illnesses. People who live with bipolar disorder can have a lot of trouble with maintaining jobs and relationships due to the crest and crash cycle that often accompanies the illness. Anyone with questions about whether he or she may qualify for SSDI due to a mental disorder may wish to consider contacting an experienced Ohio disability lawyer. This could help individuals better understand his or her situation so they can make an informed decision.