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Bipolar symptoms might qualify you for disability benefits

There are many different types of Social Security disability disorders, and not all of them are physical. If you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar disorder or depression, your symptoms may prevent you from working. Although she didn't know it at the time, actress Kim Novak recently discovered that undiagnosed bipolar disorder may have contributed to her departure from the spotlight in 1966.

Novak, who starred in blockbuster films in the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s with leading men such as Jimmy Stewart and Frank Sinatra, cited stress and depression when she left Hollywood in the mid-1960s.

According to one estimate, between 5 and 10 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder. Many are unaware that this disease might qualify them for Social Security disability benefits. Still others might suffer from undiagnosed symptoms, like Novak apparently did for years.

Bipolar disorder is a disease thought to be caused by changes in the chemistry of the brain. The symptoms and severity of the condition can vary. People suffering from this disability often have mood swings that can be extreme and frequent, ranging from highs of extreme mania to lows of severe depression. For some, extreme mania can lead to aggressive behavior and potentially dangerous risk-taking behaviors. For others, depressive thoughts can be life-threatening, as a portion of suicides in the United States each year are bipolar individuals.

Bipolar disorder can affect job or school performance, and can last for years. If you are unable to work because of bipolar disorder, an attorney can help you prepare a claim for disability benefits that will ensure you receive the resources you need to manage your symptoms.

Source:, "Star of "Vertigo," Kim Novak, Announces Bipolar Disorder," Marcia Purse, June 25, 2012

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