Is Anxiety a Disability? Can You Get Disability for Anxiety?

Not every anxiety disorder is severe enough to qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits. Only those who experience a severe and “marked” impact on their lives as a result of their condition are eligible for disability benefits. Keep reading to learn more about anxiety as a disability.

Is Anxiety A Disability?

Anxiety itself is not a disability, but it can be considered a disability if it significantly impairs a person’s ability to perform major life activities, as defined by laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The determination depends on the specific circumstances and may require medical documentation. Regardless of its legal classification, managing anxiety and seeking treatment is crucial.

Not every anxiety disorder is severe enough to qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits. Only those who experience a powerful and “marked” impact on their lives due to their condition are eligible for disability benefits.

For instance, a person with mild anxiety who can still shower, dress, grocery shopping, and prepare meals daily will probably not qualify for assistance. On the other hand, people who have substantial difficulties concentrating, leaving the house to run errands, or engaging in other regular daily activities may be eligible.

Is Anxiety And Depression Considered A Disability?

The SSA further stipulates that the handicap must be long-lasting in addition to the criterion that the anxiety must be severe enough. Accordingly, the applicant’s inability to work owing to anxiety had to have lasted 12 months at the time of the application or had to be anticipated to do so.

The SSA offers guidelines about the level of anxiety or worries a person must have to qualify for benefits. The SSA’s listing of impairments, which is a list of recognized disabilities, contains this advice. The listing includes information on the symptoms and restrictions a person must experience for a specific condition to be classified as debilitating.

Social Security’s Listing for Anxiety

Social Security has a specific listing for evaluating anxiety-related disorders when determining eligibility for disability for anxiety benefits. This listing falls under the broader category of mental disorders. To qualify for Social Security Disability for anxiety benefits based on an anxiety disorder, an individual’s condition must meet specific criteria outlined in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Listing of Impairments, often called the “Blue Book.”

The specific list for anxiety-related disorders is under Section 12.06 – Anxiety-Related Disorders. To be eligible for disability for anxiety benefits under this listing, an individual typically needs to provide medical evidence showing the following:

  • A medically documented diagnosis of a recognized anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or social anxiety disorder.
  • Persistent, excessive, and irrational anxiety that results in at least one of the following:
    • Marked restrictions in daily living activities.
    • Significant difficulties in maintaining social functioning.
    • Considerable difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace.
  • Evidence of at least two of the following:
    • Marked limitations in activities of daily living.
    • Notable difficulties in maintaining social functioning.
    • Significant difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace.
    • Repeated episodes of decompensation (experiencing worsening symptoms or inability to function) within 12 months.

Can I get a disability for anxiety? Qualifying for Social Security Disability for anxiety benefits due to an anxiety-related disorder can be a complex process, and you’ll need to provide thorough medical documentation and evidence to support your claim.

Social Security evaluates each case individually, and the specific criteria and requirements may evolve. It’s highly recommended to consult with a legal professional or advocate experienced in Social Security disability claims to navigate the application process effectively.

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How Anxiety Disorder Can Be Successfully Managed: Dr. Al’s Patient Recovery Story

Anxiety is a prevalent mental health issue marked by an abundance of concern, fear, and unease. It spans from sporadic stress to enduring and severe anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Panic Disorder. Indications may encompass feelings of restlessness, a heightened heart rate, muscle tension, and challenges with concentration. Successful treatment frequently entails therapy, medication, or a combination thereof. Effectively managing anxiety is pivotal for enhancing one’s overall quality of life.

Katrina’s Anxiety Recovery Story

Let’s take a look at Katrina’s story. Katrina, a young woman in her twenties, struggled with severe anxiety disorder. Her anxiety had become so overwhelming that it disrupted her daily life. She found herself avoiding social situations, unable to focus, and constantly feeling on edge.

Katrina’s anxiety became a significant barrier to her personal and professional growth. It affected her relationships, and she started missing out on opportunities that were important to her. Realizing that she couldn’t continue like this, Katrina sought help.

When Katrina reached out for assistance, she was constantly worried, experiencing physical anxiety symptoms, and struggling with daily tasks. Dr. Al, a compassionate mental health professional, listened to her story and recognized the urgency of her situation. He immediately began working with Katrina to address her anxiety disorder.

Dr. Al’s approach involved a combination of therapy and, when necessary, medication to help Katrina manage her anxiety. Together, they delved into the root causes of her anxiety and developed strategies to regain control of her life. Through their sessions, Katrina realized that her anxiety was a manifestation of more profound emotional challenges, and she started working on these underlying issues with Dr. Al’s support.

In conclusion, managing severe anxiety disorder can be a transformative journey. With the guidance of dedicated professionals like Dr. Al, recovery is achievable. Katrina regained her life and confidence by addressing the anxiety at its core and learning coping strategies. Seeking help is a brave step toward a healthier, more fulfilling life. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out for the support needed to embark on recovery.

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Drawing on more than 15 years of experience in behavioral health, Dr. Al has committed his professional life to making a difference. Alongside his dedicated team and the extensive network of We Level Up treatment centers, they have effectively steered numerous individuals through their most challenging life hurdles. Embark on a journey towards healing and victory with Dr. Al and the We Level Up team. Learn more about Dr. Al here.

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We Level Up Anxiety Disorder Mental Health Center Tips and Strategies

Self-care plays a crucial role in recovering from anxiety, with practices like regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep helping to manage symptoms. Identifying and avoiding anxiety triggers, building a solid support network, and practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness can provide valuable tools for managing anxiety in the moment.

Anxiety Fact Sheet

Anxiety Overview

Anxiety is a common mental health condition characterized by excessive worry, fear, and nervousness. It can range from occasional stress to severe, chronic anxiety disorders like Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Panic Disorder. Symptoms may include restlessness, rapid heartbeat, muscle tension, and difficulty concentrating. Effective treatment often involves therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Managing anxiety is crucial for a better quality of life.

Anxiety Symptoms

  • Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness.
  • Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts.
  • Whole body: fatigue or sweating
  • Also standard:  anxiety, excessive worry, angor animi, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling

Anxiety Treatment

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aims to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Learn more with the Generalized Anxiety Disorder PDF download below. Source:

Anxiety Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an extreme feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.

6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% receive treatment.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


0.3% of the population is affected by Schizoaffective Disorder.

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness


Around 0.18% of people have delusional disorder.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

In contrast to typical nervousness, anxiety disorders frequently have symptoms that appear out of the blue and do not go away.
In contrast to typical nervousness, anxiety disorders frequently have symptoms that appear out of the blue and do not go away.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are several types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): is marked by a continuous state of tension or worry lasting for at least six months, unrelated to specific events.
  • Panic disorder: involves recurrent, unprovoked anxiety or terror attacks lasting up to ten minutes.
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia): is characterized by the fear of negative evaluation by others.
  • Phobias: are irrational and overwhelming fears that lead to avoiding everyday objects, events, or situations, including social ones.
  • Agoraphobia: is defined by the fear of leaving the safety of one’s home.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): features persistent, intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. Although some experts no longer classify OCD as an anxiety disorder, the Social Security Administration (SSA) still evaluates it as such.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): is now assessed by the SSA under a separate listing for trauma- and stressor-related disorders, and it is no longer considered an anxiety disorder.
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Can You Get Disability For Anxiety?

You can be eligible for disability for anxiety benefits through a medical-vocational allowance (demonstrating that you cannot function sufficiently to perform any employment) if the SSA determines that your symptoms do not fit under one of the severe disorders listed above. The SSA should grant disability payments to applicants whose generalized anxiety is so acute that it prevents them from doing their former jobs or any other labor. When making these medical-vocational decisions, Social Security disability examiners consider an individual’s age, education, job history, and functional capacity.

How To Get Disability For Depression And Anxiety?

1. Get Specialized Mental Health Care for Your Mental Illness

Suppose the claimant receives regular medical care from a mental health treatment source specializing in their condition. In that case, Administrative Law Judges who adjudicate social security disability for anxiety claims at the hearing appeal level are more likely to find a medical or mental illness disabling. Both mental health specialists, like psychologists and psychiatrists, as well as family doctors or internists, can diagnose mental illness. In the last 20 years, SSRI drugs like Prozac and Zoloft have become widely accessible and are frequently used by general practitioners to treat patients with mental illness.

2. Comply With Prescribed Medical Treatment

Social security rules suggest a claim might be rejected if the applicant doesn’t adhere to the recommended medical care. This is crucial for mental disease disability for anxiety claims because therapies like Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (DTMS), talk therapy, counseling, and even medication are beneficial in at least reducing the intensity of mental illness symptoms.

The primary form of treatment for mental problems continues to be pharmaceuticals like SSRIs. Drugs can be pricey and can have unfavorable side effects. Depressed people may need to try several different medications before discovering those that work because many newer treatments take some time to show advantages.

These claims frequently give up when drugs are not initially effective or have side effects because depressed people are easily discouraged. An administrative law court will take your decision to stop drug therapy negatively since there are now so many psychotropic medications available for treating depression, and more are being developed all the time.

3. Get a Doctor’s Support

Any claim for Social Security disability payments must have medical support. I strongly recommend reading my in-depth post on how to get your doctor’s assistance.

Due to the importance of the scope and severity of symptoms in a mental illness disability claim, doctor support may be even more crucial than in other disability cases.

4. No Substance Abuse

Abuse of drugs is detrimental to a disability for anxiety case. It is particularly harmful to a disability claim based on a mental disorder. Unfortunately, it happens frequently for people who have mental illnesses to start abusing drugs or alcohol in an attempt to “self-medicate”. However, the fact that you might use drugs to “self-medicate” won’t lessen the harm drug addiction will bring to your claim for disability for anxiety based on a mental condition.

Drugs and alcohol impair our mental health. Alcohol has been demonstrated to make the symptoms of mental illness worse. Many ALJs assume that drugs and alcohol lessen the effectiveness of prescriptions despite the lack of compelling evidence to support this. They contend that if the depressed claimant who abuses medication returned to work, they wouldn’t need the drink and drugs.

The depressed individual applying for disability for anxiety payments needs to cease abusing drugs. That may appear to be a very challenging assignment to many. You should be aware, though, that perfection is not necessary. However, you must sincerely endeavor to maintain sobriety.

5. Verifiable Evidence of Profound Mental Illness Symptoms

Since almost everyone has experienced depression or other psychological upheaval and pain at some point, the disability for anxiety argument for a mental disease is distinctive in this regard. Many of us carry mild depression that detracts from our joy in life but does not prevent us from functioning. This is untrue, for instance, in the case of a mental handicap based on schizophrenia, where very few of us have ever had a psychotic break.

To obtain disability for anxiety benefits for depression, it is crucial to understand the scope and intensity of the mental disorder symptoms.

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