Disability for Agoraphobia

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How Long Does It Take to Recover From Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is a serious anxiety disorder where an individual develops a fear of certain places and situations. The Mayo Clinic defines agoraphobia as a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless, or embarrassed. 

You may fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed space, standing in line, or being in a crowd. An individual may tend to avoid these places or situations because they might trigger a panic attack. Individuals dealing with this condition often need support or a companion to accompany them while they are going out. 

For instance, someone may develop a fear of using public transportation or standing in a line at a public market. The concern can be so overwhelming that they may eventually avoid leaving their home altogether. There is no easy way to escape when the condition becomes severe.

Often, avoidance of the places or situations that trigger a panic attack is the only thing that may help manage a better life. People with this condition often have feelings of being unsafe in public areas. Crowded or busy places can have a more significant effect on those suffering from the condition. 

It often becomes challenging to treat the condition because treatment might include facing your fears. Psychotherapy, medications, and other therapy programs may help reduce the effects and symptoms of the condition. Disability benefits offered by the Social Security Administration to help support people with severe disabilities may be available to help manage the financial burdens caused by the disease.

Common symptoms and causes of agoraphobia 

Disability for Agoraphobia

This disease can severely limit your ability to socialize, work, and manage daily life activities. It is often diagnosed based on the signs and symptoms of anxiety. The following are some of the common symptoms that many people dealing with this condition experience: 

  • Extreme fear
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nausea 
  • Cold sweats or chills
  • Head, chest, or stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Feelings of fear in crowded places or while standing in lines
  • Feelings that you will lose control or die 

All the situations described above may trigger intense episodes of anxiety and fear. It can be difficult to escape the situation. This is why it is necessary to get in touch with a medical healthcare provider at your earliest convenience.

An in-depth interview with your doctor or a mental health professional will help determine the appropriate treatment. Medical professionals will evaluate your symptoms and help you deal with them effectively. 

In addition to the symptoms listed above, an individual may experience the following: 

  • Fear or anxiety may remain persistent and may become intense when exposed to a particular situation
  • Nervousness or anxiety may be exaggerated in comparison with the actual danger of the situation
  • The individual dealing with the condition may want someone to accompany them to avoid anxiety inducing circumstances
  • An individual may become homebound or fear leaving their property
  • Individuals may encounter significant distress or problems interacting in social settings, at work, or other daily life activities 
  • Phobia and avoidance behavior may remain for longer than expected

Is agoraphobia a disability?

Agoraphobia is often a treatable condition. Individuals may require therapy for several weeks to several years. If left untreated, however, it can last for years while an individual’s quality of life deteriorates. Many patients experience multiple panic attacks a day. They even fear experiencing panic attacks in the future, which can affect their well-being. When left untreated, agoraphobia symptoms can last for many years. 

The length of panic attacks will vary from person to person and usually depends on the circumstances. The attacks typically last for ten to twenty minutes. However, in severe cases, many people have reported hours-long attacks. These incidents can make the individual uncomfortable and may impact them emotionally. 

Medical professionals often recommend certain types of antidepressants and medications to treat the condition and limit panic attacks. Doctors usually recommend these drugs in low dosages. Consuming anxiolytics more than recommended by your doctor can further deteriorate the health of an individual and their overall health. 

In addition to medications, mental health professionals often recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as one of the primary treatments for the disorder. It can take several months to treat the condition and reduce the number of panic attacks. If your situation is chronic and does not effectively respond to treatment, you may consider seeking disability benefits. 

Panic attacks can occur at any place and at any time. If they occur during work hours, it can be difficult for an individual to work and operate from the office. We have outlined the process for getting monetary benefits. 

You can either seek SSDI or SSI based on which program you are eligible for. You may alternatively be entitled to short term disability insurance under certain conditions. These programs can provide financial support to help people suffering from agoraphobia live a better life. 

How does it affect an individual? 

  • Malfunction in the brain – People struggling with this condition generally avoid situations such as being around large groups of people or unknown places. These situations can often result in severe panic attacks. The person may experience physical symptoms, such as shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and fainting. It can disrupt the normal functioning of the brain and they may become incapable of performing daily tasks or maintaining a full time job.
  • Housebound for years – The patient may avoid going outside. They may even prevent daily tasks such as shopping, working, and visiting with friends. The condition may affect their socializing abilities and may impact their relationships. People with this condition may become incapable of maintaining relationships. Avoiding others can lead to severe anxiety and depression. 

Disability benefits for agoraphobia

When your medical condition interferes with your ability to work, you may be able to establish entitlement to benefits. Anyone dealing with these symptoms must have medical documentation of the condition that meets the eligibility criteria for anxiety disorders in SSA’s Blue Book. Both panic attacks and anxiety disorders are covered under listing 12.06. 

To meet Blue Book listing 12.06 and prove your disability, you must have experienced the following symptoms: 

  • Panic attacks followed by a persistent concern or worry 
  • You may be worried about having additional panic attacks in the future 
  • Increased fear or anxiety in general situations 

For example, one may develop extreme feelings of fear when going outside in a crowded place or even when they are simply outside the home. 

Be it benefits for over 50, or any other age group, you must have medical documents that prove the diagnosis of the medical condition. In addition, medical records should be able to prove that you are limited in the following situations:

  • Managing or adapting oneself to particular settings
  • Controlling behavior or self regulating emotions
  • Interacting and socializing with others 
  • Concentrating and completing tasks
  • Understanding instructions and remembering information
  • Adapting to new situations

Your application may be approved if medical evidence demonstrates that symptoms impact these situations. Before commencing the application, you should gather as much medical and other evidence in support of your claim as possible. You can complete the application online or by mailing a paper form to the appropriate office to begin the process.

Contact a Disability Lawyer to understand more about applying for disability benefits for your condition. Our attorneys are prepared to help you through every step of the process so that you can focus on recovery and treatment without the added stress of a disability application.