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Is Depression a Disability, Are You Eligible for Benefits?

Sometimes, depression is so bad that it makes it impossible to function at work. Even though the ADA ensures access to assistance programs, not all people who suffer from depression are eligible for disability payments. What you need to know about getting financial aid if you or a loved one is now unable to hold down a job due to depression is provided below.


Is Depression A Disability?

Can You Get Disability For Depression?

Does Depression count as a disability? According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), depression qualifies as a mental disability. Depression is a severe mood illness that has been shown to interfere with daily tasks, including your capacity to work. Sometimes, depression is so bad that it makes it impossible to function at work. Even though the ADA ensures access to assistance programs, not all people who suffer from depression are eligible for disability payments.

What you need to know about getting financial aid if you or a loved one is now unable to hold down a job due to depression is provided below.

Is Major Depressive Disorder A Disability?

Yes, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) can be considered a disability, particularly if it significantly impairs a person’s ability to perform major life activities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Major life activities encompass a range of functions, including but not limited to walking, seeing, hearing, concentrating, thinking, and interacting with others. Depression, particularly when severe, can impact various major life activities, qualifying it as a disability under the ADA.

Individuals with MDD may be entitled to certain accommodations and protections under the ADA, especially in areas such as employment. Reasonable accommodations might include adjustments to work schedules, changes in job responsibilities, or other modifications that enable individuals with depression to perform essential job functions.

Even with treatment, depression may make it difficult to work. This helps to explain why, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, this mental health problem continues to be the primary cause of impairment for people between the ages of 15 and 44.

Although it can happen at any time, the median age at which depression starts is 32. When you first get a diagnosis, you can be starting your first job or in the middle of your career.

Depression that is resistant to therapy is seen as a handicap. It does not imply that you immediately qualify for disability benefits, such as financial aid and health insurance.

Is Depression A Disability Under ADA?

Yes, depression can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if it substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include functions such as sleeping, concentrating, thinking, and interacting with others—areas that can be significantly impacted by depression.

The ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in various areas, including employment, public services, and public accommodations. Suppose someone with depression meets the ADA’s definition of disability. In that case, they may be entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace or other covered settings to help them perform essential job functions or access services.

The determination of whether an individual’s depression qualifies as a disability is based on the specific circumstances and the impact of the condition on their life. Employers and service providers are encouraged to engage in an interactive process with individuals to assess their needs and provide reasonable accommodations when necessary. If you believe you may qualify for ADA protections, seeking guidance from legal or human resources professionals can help navigate your specific situation.

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There are two types of depression: major depressive disorder (MDD) and persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or Dysthymia.
Is Depression Considered A Disability? There are two types of depression: major depressive disorder (MDD) and persistent depressive disorder (PDD) or Dysthymia.

What Is Major Depression Disorder?

Clinical depression, often known as major depressive disorder (MDD), is a prevalent mood condition that can affect anyone. It is characterized by persistent and pervasive low mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities.

One of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the US is MDD. According to data, more than 8.4% of adults in the United States had a severe depressive episode in 2020.

Some MDD patients never receive treatment. With treatment, most individuals with the illness can learn how to manage and function. People with MDD can manage their symptoms and receive effective treatment through medications, psychotherapy, and other techniques.

Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of MDD can vary in severity, and not everyone with depression will experience all of the following symptoms. To be diagnosed with MDD, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks and significantly impair daily functioning. Common symptoms include:

  1. Depressed Mood: Feeling sad, empty, or having a general sense of unhappiness.
  2. Loss of Interest or Pleasure: Losing interest in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyable.
  3. Changes in Appetite or Weight: Significant weight loss or gain, or changes in appetite.
  4. Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia (difficulty sleeping) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping).
  5. Fatigue or Loss of Energy: Feeling constantly tired or lacking energy, even after rest.
  6. Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt: Persistent negative thoughts about oneself, often without clear reason.
  7. Difficulty Concentrating: Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering details.
  8. Psychomotor Agitation or Retardation: Observable physical restlessness or, conversely, slowed movements and speech.
  9. Suicidal Thoughts: Thoughts of death, suicide, or suicide attempts.
  10. Aches and Pains: Physical symptoms like headaches or stomachaches without a clear medical cause.

Causes Of Major Depressive Disorder

It is unknown what causes MDD specifically. However, several things can make you more likely to get the illness. Stress and genetic predispositions to depression can alter brain chemistry and impair your capacity to control your mood.

Changes might also influence the development of MDD in the hormone balance. MDD can also be brought on by:

  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Certain medical conditions, such as cancer or hypothyroidism
  • Particular types of medications, including steroids
  • Abuse during childhood

Major Depressive Disorder Diagnosis

Your doctor may determine a diagnosis of depression based on the following:

  • Exam of the body. Your physician might do a physical examination and inquire about your health. Sometimes a physical health issue may be the underlying cause of depression.
  • Lab testing. For instance, your doctor might check your thyroid to see if it functions correctly or perform a blood test called a complete blood count.
  • Psychiatric assessment. Your mental health expert will inquire about your signs, ideas, emotions, and behavior patterns. To address these inquiries, you might be requested to complete a questionnaire.
  • DSM-5. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) issued by the American Psychiatric Association may be used by your mental health provider to determine whether you meet the criteria for depression.
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