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Dealing with depression and anxiety and disability

Depression and anxiety are common illnesses in people who are applying for Social Security disability benefits. These mental illnesses can be serious enough to qualify for benefits when they prevent someone from working. For others, anxiety or depression can accompany other disabling medical conditions. Finding effective treatments for these illnesses can be challenging, as one woman’s story shows.

The woman recently published her story on CNN.com.  She suffered from panic attacks, anxiety and depression for more than 10 years and attempted suicide more than once. She tried psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy and hospitalizations. She took anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants and was still chronically mentally ill. Finally, she found some treatments that worked for her.

A medical resident where the woman was hospitalized suggested transcendental medication. Over time, she developed a practice that she says allowed her to regulate her emotions. A psychiatrist recommended that she start exercising. She was healthy enough to work out at a gym three times per week. A cognitive behavioral therapist explained how behavior and moods are affected by thoughts and feelings and helped her identify self-defeating thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. She also learned to regulate her breathing.

The woman says her consistent practice at meditation, exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy has helped her to thrive even though she still has recurrences of anxiety and depression.

The woman’s story can be inspiring for some, but not everyone who suffers from disabling anxiety or depression is able to return to work and live full lives. In these cases, Social Security disability benefits may be available.

 

Source: CNN, “Depression, anxiety: What worked for me,” Gayathri Ramprasad, March 4, 2014

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