Can You Get Disability For Panic Disorder

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2.7% people in America has panic disorder in some form or the other. But can you get disability for panic disorder? What criteria do you need to satisfy, and where do you need to apply for it? Let’s find out.

Panic attacks are characterized by extreme fear and anxiety. It has no warning signs, and you will have no control over it. The symptoms like headache, vomiting and sweating are commonly observed in a panic attack.

When you suffer from a panic attack, you cannot do many things physically. If the panic attack occurs frequently, then it is called panic disorder. The panic disorder hinders doing any physical labor in your work life and other essential daily activities.

So can you get a disability for panic disorder? Yes, you can get disability benefits if you have chronic panic disorder. Again, you need to document all the attacks, like how long the attack lasted, symptoms seen during the attack, and how it affected your work life.

Can You Get Disability For Panic Disorder

Again you must not be able to do any physical work, including light work that requires lifting 10 pounds regularly and 25 pounds on an occasional basis, qualifying for SSD benefits.

The article discusses more about anxiety and panic disorder. So you can keep on reading the article for more information.

What Is a Panic Attack?

You may experience a panic attack when you are too worried about something or stressed out at an extreme level. You will feel helplessness and fear and start sweating profusely. Your breathing rate and heartbeat also increase.

Some people experience a panic attack in specific situations only. The panic attack will last for only 5 to 10 minutes, but the symptoms will remain for more than one to two hours.

Can You Get Disability For Panic Disorder

Symptoms Of Panic Attack

According to Anxiety and Depression Association America, you will experience at least four symptoms described below.

  • Chest pain
  • Feeling suddenly too hot or too cold.
  • Numbness in various body parts
  • Tingling
  • Fear of dying
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Light headache

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What Is Panic Disorder?

If you repeatedly experience panic attacks for several months, you have panic disorder. Panic disorder is a type of mental health disorder. 

Almost every person has a panic attack once in a lifetime. The symptoms are mainly seen in the 18-25 age group. Females are more prone to panic disorder compared to men.

The panic disorder may develop when you are exposed to environmental stress. For instance, if you are sexually abused or have left home, these changes in your life can be the reason for panic disorder.

During a panic disorder, you will have no control over your emotions, feelings, and action. So it may lead to other complications. You may go into depression or think of committing suicide. In short, you will develop different phobias after having panic disorder. 

You may start avoiding numerous situations or objects because that fear can set off another attack. Some people feel that they have a heart attack during the panic disorder. So, they take the help of emergency medical care during the panic disorder.

The American Psychological Association estimates that one in 75 people have a panic disorder which significantly affects the quality of life.

Can You Get Disability For Panic Disorder

How Is A Panic Attack Diagnosed?

If you experience signs and symptoms of panic disorder, you better take medical help as soon as possible. The doctor will conduct a thorough physical exam, laboratory tests, and an electrocardiogram to access the whole body.

The doctor diagnoses you with panic disorder if you experience the following things

  • You must have frequent panic attacks
  • You are avoiding situations, objects, or a particular person
  • There is a significant change in behavior

The treatment for panic attacks does not always work in reducing symptoms. However, it includes medications like antidepressants, psychotherapy breathing techniques, changes in diet and lifestyle, enrolling in supportive groups, increasing exercise, and having a sound sleep.

You might also like to read: Can You Get Disability For OCD?

Can You Get Disability For Panic Attacks?

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that approximately 8.6 million people have some level of panic disorders. Panic disorders can affect your quality of life, work schedule, and other things.

Unfortunately, you will not find a special section on panic disorder under Social Security Administration. However, there is a section called anxiety disorders in SSA. In that section, you will find a symptom known as a panic attack.

Remember, all panic attack patients will not get benefits from Social Security Administration (SSA). Only if you have severe panic disorder, you will benefit from the social security Administration.

The SSA discusses anxiety disorder under section 12.06 of the Bluebook. Suppose you want to take advantage of disability benefits. In that case, you should describe your medical records in detail, such as the frequency and duration of a panic attack, the effect of the panic attack on your body, and other details as required by the rule book. 

Moreover, if possible, you should describe your doctor’s opinion in documents to support your description of one panic attack and its symptoms. But what if the doctor has not observed your attack? 

In that case, any friend and family member who has observed the attack can describe it to support your application for Social Security Administration(SSA).

The section describes a list of requirements you need to follow to get social security disability benefits for a panic attack. Your medical records should include your doctor’s opinion regarding your ability to follow things

  • Ability to concentrate on work
  • Ability to make work-related decisions
  • Ability to interact with supervisors and colleagues
  • Ability to avoid excess absenteeism from work.

Section 12.06 provides a list of criteria you need to follow to get disability benefits for panic disorder.

Can You Get Disability For Panic Disorder

Medical Documents

First, you need to have medical documents for either of the following things.

  1. You should have panic attacks followed by persistent worry about another panic attack and its results.
  2. You will have disproportionate fear or anxiety about two at least different situations. For instance, you usually have panic attacks while leaving the house, communicating with others, standing in a queue at the grocery store, and others.


Secondly, you need to meet one of the below criteria.

  1. You should have evidence that your panic disorder is severe and happening more frequently. For instance, if you have had panic disorder for two years, you have to show SSD about medications or the treatment you are taking to reduce panic disorder symptoms.
  2. You will have extreme limitations in one of the following areas.
  • Interacting with others.
  • ability to understand, recall or use information
  • Adapting or managing capability
  • Social interaction.

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Is GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) a disability?

The American Psychiatric Association says that general anxiety disorder is found in individuals who become excess anxious or worry about something that interferes with their daily activities and work. 

The worries are mostly related to daily activities or responsibilities in the family. Any of the following symptoms usually accompany the anxiety

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Disturbance in sleep

Most people who suffer from Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can work just like any normal person can. But your condition can be disabling if you need to remain absent for many days, have difficulty interacting with your co-workers and supervisors, or find it hard to complete your work assignments on time because of too much anxiety.

To get disability benefits, you have to show evidence that you are prescribed medicine or currently undertaking treatment because of anxiety disorder. If your doctor has recommended hospitalization, then you can add it as strong evidence to get disability benefits.

Despite medical records, you should submit a letter from your doctor that describes your anxiety and how long you can have the anxiety-related disorder.

Can You Get Disability For Panic Disorder

Is Social Anxiety A Disability?

Yes, social anxiety is considered a disability, and you will get disability benefits from the Social security Administration. Social anxiety may restrict from leading a normal life or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

SSA describes social anxiety under section12.06.You must provide medical proof of persistent social anxiety and accompany three of the following

  • Motor tension
  • Autonomic hyperactivity
  • Apprehensive expectation
  • Vigilance and scanning

The Bluebook also requires that you have an inability to carry out essential activities outside your home or at least meet two categories described below

  • Difficulties in maintaining social function
  • Problems in maintaining concentration and pace
  • Restriction in daily living activities.

It is challenging to avail of social security disability benefits if you are suffering from social anxiety because there is no specific instrument to detect it. 

Your application can take several months to process, which may frustrate you. But don’t lose hope. You can keep trying to get disability benefits and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Can you get a disability for panic attacks?

Individuals who suffer from panic attacks may get social security benefits if they cannot lead a normal lifestyle or cannot function properly at work.

#2. Can you get a disability for panic disorder?

If you are diagnosed with chronic panic disorder, you may get disability benefits from the social security administration.

#3. Is there any difference between anxiety and panic disorder?

People often think anxiety and panic disorder are the same. But no, they are different.
It’s normal to become anxious from time to time. But if you start getting anxious too often and the reasons are irrational, you may be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. It can even interfere with your daily activities and disturb your work life.
Panic Disorder
Repeated panic attacks characterize the panic disorder. It is more severe compared to generalized anxiety disorder and has symptoms that include light headache, sweating, vomiting, nausea, and others. It usually lasts from a few minutes to several hours.

A Few Final Words

Panic disorder occurs when you have repeated panic attacks frequently. You may get Social security disability benefits for suffering chronic panic disorder. However, you should have proper evidence that describes the nature and severity of the panic disorder.

Thank you for reading the article, we hope we covered everything you need to know about panic disorder, GAD and anxiety and how to claim disability benefits for these disorders. If you have more questions, please write to us and we will try to answer them for you.