Bipolar disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and can result in extreme mood changes from depression to euphoria. Both men and women can experience bipolar disorder, and it can begin at any age. Eighty-five percent of people with bipolar disorder have a family history of depression.
Your insurance company may be aware of the symptoms, but is bipolar disorder a disability that can qualify you for long-term disability benefits? Yes it is. Symptoms of bipolar disorder fluctuate, interfere with your ability to work, and can cause problems in personal relationships. If you decide to file a disability claim keep these tips in mind.
During a bipolar disorder episode, symptoms are active and can be either manic or depressive. Depressive symptoms include feeling overwhelmed, irritable, lethargic, and sleeping more than usual. Severe symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia.
During a manic episode, you can feel euphoric, sleep less, have racing thoughts, and engage in risky or dangerous behaviors.
The “mixed-state” disorder includes both manic and depressive symptoms and can cause confusion, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. You may feel depressed and manic, lethargic and restless, and feel excessively angry or have delusions.
There are common symptoms of bipolar disorder, but everyone has a different experience and combination of symptoms. The insurance company must understand how you experience bipolar disorder and how it prevents you from working.
Symptoms of Bipolar Manic episodes include:
Symptoms of Bipolar Depressive episodes include:
There is no blood test or imaging scan that can confirm bipolar disorder. Tests are used to rule out other diseases but are not proof of the disorder. Begin with your primary physician. He or she will do a complete physical exam, ask about your symptoms, and take your family history. You may be referred to a mental health professional for further diagnosis.
The insurance company will want to know the type of bipolar disorder you have. There are four classifications.
Your long-term disability claim should include the type of treatment you are receiving for the disorder. If you are not receiving treatment, the insurance company may reject your claim.
Mood stabilizers, antidepressant, anti-psychotic, and anti-anxiety medications are common. The right combination is often determined through trial and error.
Individual counseling, behavioral, social rhythm or family therapy can help alleviate underlying issues related to bipolar disorder.
Daily programs can help you identify and manage your symptoms.
Inpatient care is indicated if you have thoughts of suicide, act dangerously, or have a psychotic episode.
Used for cases of severe depression or mania when all other treatments have failed.
Follow your treatment plan consistently. If you are non-compliant, your claim may be rejected.
Help the insurance company understand your symptoms using a narrative. Include your symptoms, how they affect you, and how they prevent you from working. For example, if you’re unable to concentrate, you may miss important deadlines; depression may cause you to miss excessive time from work. Your doctor’s opinion is equally important and should include the frequency and severity of your symptoms, examination and test results, their observations of you, and limitations or restrictions.
For answers to more questions like “is bipolar disorder a disability?” contact CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC today. An Ocala FL long-term disability lawyer can you with your claim.