A South Los Angeles woman struggling with clinical depression described recently to a Los Angeles Times reporter how some days, it feels as if there is a physical weight that keeps her tethered to her bed. There are important obligations to be met, and she simply can't lift herself from the same spot on the mattress.
Our Los Angeles Social Security Disability Insurance attorneys know it's often like this with depression, a mental disorder that has only recently begun to gain some greater understanding in the medical field, let alone in the public sphere.
Historically, a lack of understanding about clinical depression has led many people - sometimes even the patients themselves - to assume they aren't worthy of disability benefits. But when the depression is severe, it is sometimes the only way patients can survive. These individuals may appear physically as if nothing is wrong, but underneath, that assumption couldn't be farther from the truth.
One shred of silver lining came recently in the form of news that by next year, some of those patients, newly-insured by the federal mandated, will be eligible to seek care for mental health complications. In fact, by some estimates, those figures could reach 2.3 million next year, according to the American Journal of Psychiatry. This is important as a society because when we fail to diagnose and treat mental problems earlier on, it can lead to much more expensive treatments in emergency rooms and hospitals later on.
Generally, people who suffer from anxiety or depression or other mental health issues don't seek preventative care on other problems these other conditions are usually advanced by the time health care professionals see them.
For the most part, treating these patients involved one doctor for the physical problem and another one for the mental health condition. Those two professionals never spoke or coordinated. However, the consequences, both to health and finances, of that lacking collaboration are today being realized.
That's why a number of county health departments, in Los Angeles and beyond, are working to train physicians about how to better identify mental health problems, such as depression. Therapists and doctors are beginning to see themselves more often as team members, sharing information when they share a patient.
As President Barack Obama recently noted, it's not enough to ensure that more people suffering from mental illness seek treatment. We have to ensure the treatment is available when those individuals are ready to seek it.
A person suffering from depression or some other mental health problem can't separate their mind from their body. So it makes sense that the medical world should be working to find cohesion as well.
In the end, this bodes well for those seeking SSDI for severe depression. First, the more documentation one has from an array of health care professionals, the better. Secondly, seeking care from multiple sources shows the person has been as proactive as possible in their own treatment. When conditions still persist in spite of this, Social Security Administration examiners may be more apt to approve disability benefits for the individual.
Clinical depression is listed in the SSA's impairment listing blue book under Section 12.04 Affective Disorders. A diagnosis is not enough. Certain criteria must be met according to the listing.
There are some exceptions, particularly if you are coping with multiple disorders.
Los Angeles Disability Benefits Attorney VINCENT HOWARD at HOWARD LAW can help. Call toll-free at 1-800-872-5925 or send us a message online.
Treatments of physical and mental health are coming together, June 9, 2013, By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
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