How Is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed
The insurance company will require proof of your diagnosis for your bipolar disorder long term disability claim.
The first step in;getting the correct diagnosis is to talk to a doctor.; Your doctor may conduct a physical examination,;an interview, and lab tests.
Bipolar;disorder cannot be identified through;a;blood test;or a brain scan, but;these tests can;help;rule out other;contributing factors, such as a stroke or brain tumor. If your symptoms;are not caused by other illnesses, your;doctor may conduct a mental health evaluation. Your;doctor may;also provide a referral to a trained;mental health professional,;such as a psychiatrist, who is experienced in diagnosing and treating bipolar disorder.
Your;doctor or;mental health professional will likely;conduct a complete diagnostic evaluation. A careful and complete history of symptoms is needed to assure your bipolar disorder is not mistakenly diagnosed as a major depressive disorder.;
In addition, your doctor or mental health professional will likely;discuss any family history of bipolar disorder;or other mental illnesses.;Your doctor;or mental health;professional;may also talk;to your close relatives or spouse to see how they describe your symptoms and family medical history.
Veterans With Bipolar Disorder Disability
Veterans suffering from disabling mental disorders that occurred in or were aggravated during service may obtain disability compensation. Bipolar disorder is considered a disability by the VA. Its listed in their Schedule for Rating Disabilities under;Mental Disorders, and specifically under;Mood Disorders.
The VA rates disabilities according to loss of function and the effect on your ability to work and earn a living. The VA schedule doesnt cover all forms of mental illnesses, despite how disabling the condition may be. An incorrect diagnosis could result in denial of benefits you would otherwise be entitled to receive for bipolar disorder.
Is Bipolar A Serious Mental Illness
Health experts class bipolar disorder as a serious mental illness, along with schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. They have this classification because all three conditions can significantly impair a persons quality of life. People also present with symptoms relatively early, so their mental illnesses can interrupt their lives for many years.
Almost 90% of people with bipolar say medications help them manage their condition. However, establishing the issue can be challenging, with just 25% of people receiving an accurate diagnosis in less than three years. People with bipolar often spend up to 10 years waiting for the correct diagnosis.
When its left untreated, bipolar can cause severe problems. People with bipolar usually live 9.2 years less than people without the condition. As many as 20% of people with bipolar commit suicide. They are also more likely to behave impulsively and engage in risky behaviors, including substance abuse and unsafe sexual practices. People with bipolar also struggle to maintain positive relationships with friends and family members.
Medical Evidence Required For Disability Based On Bipolar Disorder
At the SSA’s request, your treating doctor should submit to the SSA your psychiatric medical record showing the entire history of your bipolar disorder, including documentation of any severe or violent manic episodes. Your psychiatric record should include all treatments attempted, including any mood-stabilizing medications that you’ve tried, such as lithium, carbamazepine, or valproic acid, what your current prescribed therapy is, and whether you regularly comply with the prescribed therapy . Your medical record should also include the efficacy and side effects of each medication, and how their side effects, along with your symptoms, affect your daily activities, your functioning, and your ability to hold a job.
If there is evidence in your medical file that your doctor suspects your use of alcohol or drugs compounds your emotional problems, this can affect your claim. Learn more in our article on how alcoholism and drug dependence affect disability claims.
How Do You Diagnose Bipolar
;It took a little while for the doctors to figure out Bretts diagnosis. Thats not unusual. On average, it takes about 10 years and 3 visits to mental health professionals to arrive at a correct diagnosis of bipolar disorder. When it first comes on, it may look like depression, or even anxiety or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . The tell-tale manic episodes might not start until later, or they may be mild as in hypomania and easily forgotten because they didnt cause much of a problem.
Drug use can also confuse the picture, as it did for Brett. Brett was using drugs before his first episode, so the doctors were hopeful that it was a bad reaction to drugs that would go away. But his third episode came on without any drug use, and thats when he was finally told about the diagnosis.
Ten years is too long to wait to get an accurate diagnosis, and there are things you can do to speed up the process. It sounds simple, but a paper-and-pencil rating scale is helpful in making the diagnosis. Google Mood Disorder Questionnaire for a popular one, or go to our measurement page. You can also have a family member fill one out one from their viewpoint.
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Why Does It Matter That Bipolar Disorder Is A Real Disability
On the one hand, I dont care whether you recognize that bipolar disorder is a real disability. I know that it is, and Im the one being impacted by it, and thats what matters.
On the other hand, its critical that society and individuals recognize a bipolar disorder disability so that people with bipolar disorder know its okay to be disabled by this serious mental illness. Its not them, and its not their fault. No one cuts off a leg to get a disability designation and no one gets bipolar disorder for that reason either. Everyone with a disability is unlucky not inherently flawed.
And by recognizing that bipolar disorder is a real disability, we become part of the larger disability community and start to recognize that we have the same rights as everyone else. For example, no one should not be hired because they are in a wheelchair if they can do the job. All they may need is some accommodation to do it. The same is true with a mental illness disability. If I can do the job with reasonable accommodation, then I should be hired if Im the most qualified candidate.
In short, recognizing bipolar disorder as a real disability can be part of regaining our self-worth and taking control of our future. Its healthy. It reinforces the notion that bipolar disorder is not a moral failing or character flaw its a physical disability that exists alongside chronic illnesses like epilepsy and migraines. We are not alone and there is nothing wrong with us.
Filing For Social Security Disability With A Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis
If an individuals Bipolar Disorder is constant and impairs all ability to function in a work environment, that person may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Any individual with Bipolar Disorder can be eligible for disability benefits if he/she meets the evaluation criteria listed in the Social Security Administrations Blue Book, and if he/she has received a medical vocational disability endorsement based on the person’s residual functional ability, education and age.
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Real Disabilities Should Be Seen And Not Thought
One of the problems with bipolar disorder is that its an invisible illness. People often cant see how sick a person is with bipolar disorder and so people fail to realize that it exists at all. When the person standing next to you is blind, that disability is obvious thanks to a white cane. When the person standing next to you has bipolar disorder, that disability is invisible but that doesnt mean it doesnt exist.
But, of course, many invisible medical conditions can be disabilities. For example, few people would argue that constant migraines werent a disability, and yet they are completely invisible .
Is Bipolar A Disability
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a law that helps people with disabilities get equal rights at work. Bipolar disorder is considered a disability under the ADA, just like blindness or multiple sclerosis.
You may also qualify for Social Security benefits if you cant work. The Social Security Administration has two programs that provide a monthly income and health insurance to people who cant work because of a disability:
- Social Security Disability Insurance is for people who have worked and paid Social Security taxes.
- Supplemental Security Income is for people with a limited income.
Read on to learn how the ADA and Social Security might benefit you.
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Psychiatric Disability Or Mental Illness
The words psychiatric disability and mental illness are often used interchangeably. The term mental illness is typically used in a medical context to refer to a wide range of conditions related to emotional and mental health. The term psychiatric disability is typically used in a legal or policy context to refer to impairments covered under the ADA
Patterns Of Depression And Mania
If you have bipolar disorder, you may have episodes of depression more regularly than episodes of mania, or vice versa.
Between episodes of depression and mania, you may sometimes have periods where you have a “normal” mood.
The patterns are not always the same and some people may experience:
- rapid cycling;;where a person with bipolar disorder repeatedly swings from a high to a low phase quickly without having a “normal” period in between
- mixed state;;where a person with bipolar disorder experiences symptoms of;depression and mania together; for example, overactivity with a depressed mood
If your mood swings last a long time but are not severe enough to be classed as bipolar disorder, you may be diagnosed with a mild form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia.
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Bipolar Disorder Is A Mood Disorder
Bipolar disorder belongs to a type of disorders called mood disorders. Mood disorders include bipolar as well as:
- Cyclothymic disorder
- Major depressive disorder
As the name implies, mood disorders affect mood. This means symptoms include an inappropriate, exaggerated or a limited range of emotions. This could be a very low emotional state, like depression, or a very high emotional state like mania .
Bipolar Disorder And Your Ability To Perform Physical Work
While bipolar disorder does not directly affect your ability to walk, sit, lift, pull, or otherwise perform physical labor, the Social Security Disability system does recognize that it can adversely affect your ability to work at repetitive tasks or to work with other people or with the general public on an ongoing basis. To determine whether your bipolar makes it impossible for you to perform physical work , the SSA will look at the severity of your symptoms. It is critical that your doctor and/or mental health professional clearly lists all of the activities that you cannot reasonably be expected to perform.
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Is Bipolar A Personality Disorder
I’ve been studying mental illness for a long time and while I knew the answer to this question, I couldn’t really have told you why. This is mostly because I haven’t done a lot of work on personality disorders, but I have had occasion to learn more about them recently.
No, bipolar disorder is not a personality disorder, and here’s why.
Here’s How To Tell The Difference Between The Two
About two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed with other mental health problems before bipolar is discovered . Among those individuals, a significant majority are given a diagnosis of major depression.
Most people with a major depressive disorder that is unrelated to bipolar disorder can be treated safely and effectively with a combination of antidepressant medications and psychotherapy. But when people with undetected bipolar are treated this way, a host of mental health problems can occur, making the underlying bipolar condition much worse, including possible substance abuse and suicidal thoughts or actions.
Its understandable that someone may not immediately be given the bipolar diagnosis if their first mood swing begins in a depression mood zone. This seems particularly true of people who have bipolar II disorder. And sometimes, there may be more than one depressive episode before a manic or hypomanic episode happens in a person with bipolar.
If youre wondering about whether you may have depression or the beginning of bipolar, there are some keys to keep in mind when seeking treatment.
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Does Bipolar Disorder Qualify Me For Social Security Benefits
The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be extreme enough to prevent an individual from working. If this is the case for you, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by alternating periods of mania and depression. There are two main types of bipolar disorder, Bipolar I and Bipolar II, and each may have slightly different criteria for diagnosis.
Bipolar I is characterized by distinct periods of mania and depression, though some individuals will also experience symptoms of hypomania, a state of mania where symptoms are milder. In order to be diagnosed with Bipolar I, manic symptoms must last at least one week and occur for most of the day every day or result in hospitalization.;Approximately 30% of individuals diagnosed with Bipolar I experience severe symptoms.
Bipolar I is most commonly diagnosed around age 18. Individuals with Bipolar I are often diagnosed with additional mental health conditions, such as anxiety. In order to be diagnosed with Bipolar I, individuals must also experience a period of significant depression.
Medical Records From Your Doctor
When determining whether your bipolar disorder is disabling, your insurance company will likely also want the opinions of your treating doctor.;Your doctors support is key. Your doctors reports should focus on:
- The frequency and severity of your symptoms;
- Any positive mental status exam findings;
- Their direct observations of you during office visits; and
The specific restrictions and limitations that prevent you from working.;
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Bipolar Disorder Is Considered A Qualifying Disorder For Ssdi
When thinking about Social Security Disability benefits , many people first consider physical disabilities. Yet millions of Americans have mental health conditions that limit their ability to work such as bipolar disorder. Although bipolar disorder is relatively rare, the majority of people with this condition report that they are seriously disabled.
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that is characterized by unusual shifts in mood, energy and activity levels. People who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder often have varying abilities to carry out daily tasks. Bipolar disorder involves clear changes in mood, from manic, highly energized periods to more depressed, sad times.
Denied Bipolar Disorder Disability Claims For Ltd Insurance
Marc Whitehead & Associates aggressively represents insurance policyholders that have had bipolar disability claims unfairly denied. We can help you;fight the insurance companys denial;whether you personally bought the policy, or the policy was issued through your employer.
Many disability insurance policies contain language that classifies mental impairments such as bipolar disorder, as a mental nervous condition. Defined as such, typically only 24 months compensation is allowed. However, this may not be accurate if the bipolar disorder is a biologically based illness. This then becomes an argument of an unacceptable assignment of the disorder in the policy language.
Insurance companies will use many other tactics to defend their decision to deny your award of disability benefits. Common tactics include:
- Claims of misdiagnosis
- Lack of medical evidence
- Pre-existing condition clauses in the policy language
Strategies to overturn denied claims for bipolar disorder disability will vary greatly depending upon which type of long-term disability policy you are fighting.
We understand the reasons and excuses that insurance companies use to deny claims for mental disorders. Let us fight to hold your insurance company accountable, so you may recover the benefits you are due.
As;Board Certified Social Security Disability attorneys, we want you to know that we will personally work with you to provide the help you need to appeal the denial. No matter where you live, we can help.
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The Ada And Psychiatric Disability In The Workplace
- Definitions. The ADA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. When job applicants or employees have a mental health condition that meets this criteria, they have workplace rights under the ADA. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 recently broadened the definition of disability to provide legal protections against employment discrimination for more individuals with disabilities, including people with psychiatric disabilities.
- Record of psychiatric disability. The ADA also prohibits discrimination against individuals who have a record of a psychiatric disability or are regarded as having a psychiatric disability. This means, for example, that qualified individuals who have a history of psychiatric disability cannot be discriminated against just because of that history. Also, employers cant take actions because they believe a qualified applicant or employee might have a psychiatric disability.
- Rights under the ADA. Applicants and employees with psychiatric disabilities have two main rights under the ADA. First, they have a right to privacy. Except when asking for an accommodation, they can choose whether to tell the employer about their disability. Second, they have a right to a job accommodation unless this causes undue hardship for the employer.
Signs Of Bipolar Disorder
- 6 min read
There are many different signs of bipolar disorder, including signs of a manic episode and signs of a depressive episode.
Bipolar disorder, which was previously called manic-depressive illness or manic depression, is a mental disorder that causes abnormal shifts in levels of mood, energy, activity, concentration, and the ability to carry out regular, day-to-day tasks.
To better understand what this disorder is, it is helpful to first understand the signs of a manic and depressive episode.
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