As previously discussed, not all disabilities are apparent to the naked eye. Some individuals suffer much more quietly. However, this does not make them any less disabled. Mental conditions can make it difficult to carry out cognitive tasks, relate to others, complete daily tasks, care for oneself and even hold down a job. In some cases, a mental condition can become so severe that one finds it impossible to leave his or her house. And while it might not look like much is going on from the outside, these individuals could be suffering tremendously on the inside.
Because our understanding of the brain only goes so far, our knowledge of mental health issues is sometimes bounded by these understandings. A mental condition can look vastly different from one person to the next, thereby causing cultural confusions when it comes to whether a mental condition is in fact disabling.
It is estimated that around 44 million adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder. That equates to roughly 20 percent of the adult population and does not include those battling with developmental or substance use disorders. Researchers also found that one in five youths are diagnosed with a mental disorder by the time they become 18 years of age.
These high numbers do not only signify that many people silently live with mental conditions, it also signals that the definition of mental conditions has changed. Some disorders, such as anxiety or depression, might be looked at as minor health issues. However, today it is clear that these too can be debilitating mental health issues.
So long as a person meets the definition of a qualifying mental condition, he or she is considered eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Even if it does not look like a person is disabled on the outside, much could be happening on in the inside, causing them to qualify for these often-necessary benefits. To learn about your eligibility for SSD benefits or how to initiate an application or appeal a decision, it is important to gain legal information on your situation.