Many Americans throughout the country have heard of the mental condition schizophrenia, but what exactly is it and how does it affect its victim? Schizophrenia falls into three symptom categories – positive symptoms, negative symptoms and cognitive symptoms.

Positive symptoms include delusions, thought disorders such as dysfunctional thought processes and agitated body movements. Negative symptoms may be harder to recognize, as they often deal with a victim’s apathy. These could include a “flat affect” or reduced expression of emotions including facial expressions and changes in one’s tone of voice, a reduction in communication, difficulties starting and continuing with activities and an overall reduction in enjoying everyday life. Cognitive symptoms may include difficulties in comprehending and applying learned information and decision-making, difficulties with focus, and the inability or struggles with using recently learned information, often referred to a “working memory.” Any of these symptoms could make it difficult for a victim suffering from schizophrenia to maintain a normal lifestyle or keep a job.

As with all mental disorders such as depression, anxiety attacks, mental retardation and panic attacks, schizophrenia is among the conditions that may qualify for Social Security disability benefits for panic disorder. Applying is not always easy, and could be especially difficult for a victim already suffering from a debilitating mental condition.

If you believe your condition might qualify, if you are in the middle of applying or even if your initial application was denied, you may want to speak with a law firm familiar with Social Security Disability benefits to look at your application and maximize the potential of success.