We’ve all been there; work emails piling up, a phone full of missed calls waiting to be returned, a pile of mail that’s unopened. When anxiety strikes, it’s often at the worst of times- not that there is really ever a ~good~ time.
From excessive tiredness to inattention to details, these red flags are often a signal that anxiety is rearing its ugly head. It can be distracting from your work and personal life, and can affect you in ways you might not have even considered.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), around 20% of people in the US will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime- and that number is constantly rising. A recent poll by the APA revealed that almost 40% of Americans are more anxious than they were this time last year. For many people, the anxiety that came and went in waves now feels like it’s on a constant loop.
This common mental health issue is growing at an alarming rate, and as the result, many people are wondering, “Is anxiety a disability?” Today we’re talking about anxiety, and how to help treat it naturally if you are one of the millions suffering.
Understanding the Different Types of Anxiety
There are five types of anxiety disorders that are diagnosed by their symptoms:
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Near-constant state of unfounded fear. It’s totally common to worry about your job, your health, and your relationships from time to time, but with a GAD diagnosis, the anxiety surrounding these things is more persistent, excessive, and intrusive. According to some mental health experts, nearly 3% of all U.S. adults have experienced GAD in the last year, and it is estimated that up to 9% will experience GAD at some point in their lives.
Crippling fear of If you have social anxiety disorder, you may be afraid of speaking in front of others, performing in front of others, or simply being around other people.
Consistent, unprovoked feelings of intense terror that include sweating, dizziness, increased heart rate, and feeling like you are losing control or even dying.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Being a part of (or simply being a witness to) a traumatic event, causing consistent bouts of intense stress, for six months or more after the trauma occurs.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Repetitive thoughts and feelings which forces you to repeat a behavior over and over again.
Is Anxiety a Disability?
According to the CDC, “A disability is any condition of the body or mind that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities and interact with the world around them.”
So, in short: yes, anxiety can be quite a disability- depending on the severity, symptoms, and type of anxiety that you’re experiencing.
In order to receive disability benefits for anxiety, you must qualify under the (very stringent) Social Security Administration (SSA) guidelines. But here’s the silver lining; the application and approval process has seriously improved over time, and is easier to navigate through- allowing you to figure out if you’re qualified before you even apply for disability.