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A look at mental conditions that may require disability benefits

In the last few years, a number of national campaigns have been started to raise awareness about mental health conditions and their effect on people all over the United States. Because these campaigns urge the general public to have open conversations about mental health conditions, more and more people are not only becoming aware of their existence but their prevalence in the U.S. as well.

The list of mental health conditions is vast and can include everything from depression to schizophrenia. In this week's blog post, we wanted to take a look at a few disorders you may know something about and others that you might not. We also hope to show how these conditions affect people and how they may require a person to apply for disability benefits at some point in their life.

Major depression. This mental condition is considered to be one of the most common in the U.S. among adults and is characterized by a period of two weeks or more in which a person experiences a depressed mood or loss of interest along with several other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning.

Because major depression affects people differently, some people may experience little to no impact on their lives while others may be considered disabled because of their condition.

Anxiety disorder. Although anxiety is a typical reaction to a stressful situation, people who have an anxiety disorder have difficulty controlling their reaction to stressful situations. Anxiety reactions may be excessive considering the situation at hand, which may start to negatively impact a person's life.

Medication and therapy have proven to be effective treatments for people with anxiety disorders. The cost of these treatments can add up though, which can be incredibly problematic for someone who has been forced out of work because of their disorder.

Phobias. A phobia, as you may know, is the persistent fear of an object or situation. A phobia can manifest at any age and can range in severity. As with other mental health conditions, the more severe a phobia is, the more negatively it impacts a person's life.

The type of phobia can also have an effect on a person. Social phobias and agoraphobia may be severe enough to limit a person's ability to leave their home or interact with other people. This could result in an inability to maintain employment, necessitating the need for disability benefits.

Source: The National Institute of Mental Health, "Health and Education," Accessed Nov. 5, 2014

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