Houston Social Security
Disability Attorney

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Photo of David Dopkin

Disability benefits for panic attacks

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2019 | Social Security Disability Benefits for Mental Conditions

Anyone who suffers from panic attacks faces a double burden: the attacks themselves can be terrifying, and they often prevent a person from functioning in a job, a relationship or both. Modern psychiatry has developed many techniques and medicines for helping persons who suffer panic attacks, but the medicine is not perfect. Many people living in Houston still suffer from panic attacks that are severe enough to interfere with their ability to perform their jobs. Fortunately, panic attack sufferers may be able to obtain Social Security disability benefits for their condition from the Social Security Administration if they satisfy the regulatory criteria for eligibility.

The SSA has labeled panic attacks as a form of “anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders.” Symptoms and signs of an anxiety disorder include excessive anxiety, worry, apprehension, fear, restlessness, difficulty with concentration, hyper-vigilance and muscle tension. Other disorders in this category are generalized anxiety, agoraphobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

To fulfill the SSA’s definition of panic attacks, the claimant must first demonstrate that episodes of the disorder prevent them form performing the duties of their employment and that the disability is total within the meaning of the SSA regulations. The SSA lists two different criteria for disabling panic attacks: a panic attack followed by persistent concern with the recurrence of such attacks or disproportionate fear of anxiety in public situations, being in a crowd or being in open spaces.

Most mental illnesses, including panic disorder, do not have objectively visible or detectable symptoms. Providing the existence of a panic disorder ordinarily requires the claimant to provide testimony from reliable psychiatric caregivers that verify that the claimant suffers from the behavior disorders that are associated with the condition. Proving a claim for panic disorders can be difficult, and the assistance of an attorney experienced in SSD benefits claims may be helpful.