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Are dissociative disorders considered disabling?

| Jul 31, 2020 | Social Security Disability Benefits For Illnesses

Once thought to be incredibly rare, it’s now estimated that around 75% of American adults experience some form of a dissociative disorder in their lives. Around 2% of those people have chronic problems with dissociation that interfere with their ability to function on a regular basis.

There are basically three main types of dissociative disorders: Dissociative identity disorder (which used to be called “multiple personality disorder”), dissociative amnesia and depersonalization or derealization disorder. In addition, some people suffering from acute stress disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may also experience episodes of dissociation regularly.

Most dissociative disorders have their roots in severe trauma. The symptoms of dissociation may vary from person to person, but they generally can include:

  • A sense of involuntarily shifting identities or personality states
  • Long-term gaps in memory, including the inability to remember important personal details
  • A sense of being disconnected from one’s own body
  • Emotional numbness, detachment or a feeling that everything is unreal
  • Amnesia surrounding traumatic events or occurrences

Anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation are common among the people who suffer from these disorders. People with any of these conditions can also suffer from memory gaps, problems concentrating, difficulty communicating appropriately and trouble navigating social settings.

While the Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t have a specific listing for dissociative disorders, they will examine an individual’s medical, mental health and work history to see if they are capable of regularly doing sustained work activity. If they are not, they can gain approval for their Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income claim.

If you’re struggling to get your disability claim approved, find out how an experienced advocate can make a difference.


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