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Approaching misconceptions about mental health disabilities

The term mental health condition can be misleading, in part because many clinical forms of mental health disabilities might have less severe counterparts. For example, many individuals can attest to experiencing stress, anxiety or depression in their daily lives. For that reason, confusion can arise over when it may be appropriate to apply for Social Security disability insurance benefits on the basis of a mental disability. 

That confusion may simply be a reflection of how even neuroscientists do not yet understand much about the way the brain works. Even basic relationships, such as how thoughts relate to sets of neurons, are not fully mapped. Without an understanding of those building blocks, it’s no wonder that the disabling effects of a mental health condition can be misunderstood or underestimated.

Some mental health conditions may be manageable with medication, counseling and other treatment approaches. However, clinical forms of mental health disabilities should not be taken lightly. A good place to start is with a diagnosis and treatment plan by a health care professional.

An individual with a mental health condition should not assume that he or she is not eligible for disability benefits, or that the condition will not make it impossible to work for a minimum period of 12 months. Rather, a consultation with an attorney that focuses on disability benefits may provide a larger perspective.

Finally, an attorney also understands the importance of having thorough documentation to convince a disability examiner that the mental health condition is just as disabling as any physical impairment.

Source: The New York Times, “The Trouble With Brain Science,” Gary Marcus, July 11, 2014

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