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Treatment for brain disease may prevent severe disabilities

When Minnesota workers suffer from disabling mental disorders, it is important that individuals be completely honest with their doctors when discussing their symptoms and the effects their symptoms are having on their lives.

When doctors are aware of how patients' conditions are affecting them as well as all of the symptoms patients are experiencing, doctors should be able to properly diagnose patients' disorders so that patients can receive the treatment they need to enjoy life and to be able to function normally again.

When patients are honest about their symptoms, they may even be able to help doctors better identify dangerous and disabling diseases that the medical community knows little about. For example, one doctor began studying a disease in 2002 that had caused a woman to experience symptoms of schizophrenia and seizures. The woman suffered for months, and the doctor finally attempted to treat the woman with medication to suppress her immune system. The medication worked, and by 2007, the doctor had treated a dozen patients with similar symptoms and identified their disease as anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.

Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is a disease in which the immune system begins to attack a protein in the brain, causing victims to experience symptoms of schizophrenia, seizures or tumors in their ovaries. The disease has the potential to be disabling when patients are not properly diagnosed with the brain disease and treated with effective medications. Patients may suffer from hallucinations, memory loss, low blood pressure and they may even need a breathing tube if their conditions worsen.

Since the disease was identified in 2007, more patients, typically young women, have been able to get the treatment they need to prevent the disease from causing them to become permanently disabled. However, the road to recovery and managing one's illness may take some time.

Struggling with a disabling illness is stressful and exhausting. Those who become disabled because of a brain disease or other disorder should not have to worry about how they will make ends meet while they focus on recovering. Fortunately, Minnesota workers who are diagnosed with disabling mental disorders may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. To learn more about whether you are eligible to receive these important benefits, you may want to contact an attorney who specializes in helping people get the disability benefits they need.

Source: The Boston Globe, "When the brain is under attack," Dr. Daniela J. Lamas, May 27, 2013

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