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SSI assistance may help New Jersey kids with anxiety disorders

It can be difficult for people who do not suffer from anxiety disorders to understand the challenges faced by those who do. Sometimes, people assume that anxiety disorder sufferers are 'overreacting' or even faking it. But an anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness, and it can come with significant mental and physical effects.

People who suffer from anxiety disorders are occasionally struck by attacks of sudden, overwhelming fear. These attacks can also manifest themselves physically, resulting in chest pains, an irregular heartbeat, or even a sensation of choking.

Given the severity of the disorder, New Jersey readers might be surprised to learn know common this type of mental disorder is among both adults and children alike. An estimated 40 million adults may suffer from a type of anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. However, the National Institute for Mental Health reports that the rate of anxiety disorders may be even higher in children and adolescents, affecting up to one in four.

The onset of an anxiety disorder in children and adolescents in Pittsburgh and across the country often starts with stress. All children may experience occasional worries and concerns associated with growing pains. However, when those fears become a compulsion or reach a level where the child's daily life is affected, however, a consultation with a mental health professional may be warranted, as the child could be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Many anxiety disorders are treatable with medication, specific types of psychotherapy, or both. Many adult patients find that such treatments make their symptoms manageable, permitting them to return to work. For children, however, the FDA has not expressly approved any drugs for childhood anxiety disorders, with the exception of a type of serotonin inhibitor for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Fortunately, cognitive behavioral therapy has produced positive treatment results in children.

For children in low-income households who suffer from anxiety disorders, Supplemental Security Income benefits may be available if the Social Security Administration classifies their condition as a disability. In order to be found disabled, the child's care team must predict that the anxiety disorder symptoms will be unmanageable, resulting in marked or severe functional limitations for an extended period of time. An attorney can be a help great in preparing the necessary evidence for an SSI application.

Source: dailyjournalonline.com, "Cognitive behavioral therapy can relieve childhood anxiety," Jan. 10, 2013

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