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Agoraphobia – Symptoms, Treatment, and Disability Benefits

Agoraphobia – Symptoms, Treatment, and Disability Benefits
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The Social Security Administration has created a list of health-related disabilities that may allow individuals suffering from agoraphobia to get disability benefits.

Agoraphobia is one of the most common mental health disorders which can make it hard for the sufferer to be productive at the workplace. Many individuals who experience agoraphobia find it difficult to show up to their job due to their extreme fear of leaving their home. Some individuals with a mental health disorder can qualify for disability benefits based on their condition. If you or someone close to you suffers from agoraphobia, here is everything you need to know about this disorder, as well as the possibility of Disability for Agoraphobia. The information below will help you to deal with this condition efficiently.

Symptoms of Agoraphobia

Generally, people suffering from agoraphobia experience feelings of stress or worry regarding leaving their house or being in any environment which is difficult for them to control. For most individuals with agoraphobia, leaving their homes or going to places can trigger panic attacks and anxiety.

Disability for Agoraphobia

Individuals who develop conditions of agoraphobia may also feel chest tightness, nausea, dizziness, and fear of crowds. They may also rely on a family member or a close friend due to their fear of going out. For example, they may ask for help from family members or friends to go out for grocery shopping or for any other work. This is because situations like grocery shopping may trigger symptoms of agoraphobia in the individuals. They may either choose not to go out or may need someone who can go out with them.

Individuals with agoraphobia also suffer from fear of going in crowds, going in restricted or closed spaces, fear of controlling their feelings or emotions, etc. These people often experience helplessness or feelings of fear. Depending on their age, such individuals may also be eligible for Disability over 50 Program benefits.

The common physical symptoms among individuals experiencing agoraphobia include rapid heart rate, numbness, shakiness, upset stomach, chest pain, sweating, hyperventilating, diarrhea, sickness feeling, difficulties swallowing, and chills. They may even experience fear of death. Additionally, those with this condition often feel that they are unable to meet society’s expectations and feel unworthy of the opportunities life brings.

Treatment for Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia can be treated in two ways – medication and therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the popular approaches where the patient and therapist talk about the irrational fears faced by the patient. The aim of this therapy is to challenge fears and eliminate the fears through rational conversations.

Benefits offered to the individuals suffering from Agoraphobia

Individuals may be able to qualify for disability benefits if they are clinically diagnosed with agoraphobia. Since panic disorder and Agoraphobia are related closely there are various steps to attain SSI or SSDI benefits for this condition that are similar to the benefits provided for panic disorder.

The conditions that an individual should show to qualify for the benefits may include experiencing unpredictable dreadful conditions once within a period of seven days. Besides this, agoraphobia symptoms may prevent the individual from focusing on various tasks and looking after themselves, leaving their comfort zone or home, and socializing.

The Social Security Administration seeks to determine whether the applicant faces inordinate anxiety or fear of situations like being in a line, public transportation, etc.  The applicant might face panic attacks as a result of these situations, which could be followed by more panic attacks or fear. Additionally, the person may exhibit mental symptoms like poor understanding ability, difficulty remembering information, inability to interact well with others, concentration difficulties, difficulty maintaining pace, or inability to manage and adapt themselves.

Individuals suffering from agoraphobia who may not experience any of the above-listed conditions may still apply for benefits if they are incapable of moving out of their homes.

One of the most important things that the claimants need to consider when submitting an application for agoraphobia is that they should have some symptom history or a record with their medical provider. Additionally, it’s best to collect evidence of Agoraphobia treatment attempting to lessen and manage their symptoms and fears.

How to prove that the individual has developed an inability to work due to Agoraphobia

As an applicant for Social Security benefits, it is important to get an opinion regarding your condition from a mental health provider. A medical professional’s opinion and necessary details help the SSA to determine what is known as the applicant’s Residual Functional Capacity. If you seek social security benefits for agoraphobia, the forms you submit should have details of your formal diagnosis. You should also include details about your inability or ability to:

  • Interact easily with the public and maintain appropriate attendance. This may involve frequent absences from work, as you are required to prove you can’t work full time due to your condition.
  • Focus or concentrate on your work.
  • Follow instructions and handle complex or simple tasks.
  • Have the capacity to workplace decisions
  • Deal with stress.

You may also seek the help of an experienced social security advocate who can help you in preparing a “statement of claimant” according to your condition. It doesn’t have to be a long statement, but should include all the personal struggles related to the conditions you are facing.

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