Schizophrenia and Social Security Disability

Schizophrenia and Social Security Disability
By Kimberly BishopSeptember 3, 2013

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, you may be considering filing a claim for Social Security Disability. This article discusses how schizophrenia is evaluated by the Social Security Administration and what you can do to help your claim.

Clients and family members describe frightening symptoms when they discuss their schizophrenia with me. Hallucinations (auditory and visual) are the common thread. Some hallucinations contain commands to harm others and one's self.  Paranoia, problems with memory, lack of emotion when it seems the appropriate response and social withdrawal are also common symptoms. Most people I meet with schizophrenia seem extremely anxious, frightened and exhausted. A quote by R.D. Laing is quite correct: "Schizophrenia  cannot be understood without understanding despair."

In men, schizophrenia symptoms typically start in the teens or 20s. In women, schizophrenia symptoms typically begin in the 20s or early 30s. It's uncommon for children to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and rare for those older than 45. Found here. Substance abuse and schizophrenia are frequently associated.

If you are having the above symptoms, step #1 is to get into treatment. Mental health treatment is available in NC. Ignoring the symptoms will not make it go away and could in fact worsen the situation. If you have sought mental health treatment and are taking your medications, but are still unable to work because of your schizophrenia filing for Social Security Disability may be the next step for you.

The Social Security Administration evaluates Schizophrenia under listing 12.03 Schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders. This listing discusses common symptoms of schizophrenia. In addition to having symptoms, your symptoms must interfere with your activities of daily living, social functioning or ability to concentrate.

The point here is that a diagnosis of schizophrenia alone is not enough. You must have symptoms from your schizophrenia (even after taking your medications and receiving mental health treatment) that affect your ability to work. The most important thing you can do for your Social Security Disability case is to go to a psychiatrist or therapist (preferably both) and take your medications as prescribed. If you are still unable to work from your schizophrenia, you should apply for Social Security Disability as soon as possible.


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