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Personality Disorders

The concept of a personality disorder dates to psychiatrist Philippe Pinel's 1801 description of manie sans délire, a condition characterized by outbursts of rage or violence in the absence of any psychosis. Today, the DSM-5 lists ten different types of personality disorders, consisting of paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders. Any one of these mental impairments can support a finding of disability under the Social Security Act, where inflexible and maladaptive personality traits cause significant limitations in long-term occupational functioning.

Personality disorders can interfere with day to day business, personal relationships, and even the ability to seek help. Individuals who suffer from personality disorders commonly have a hard time supporting themselves financially. Their behavior may be considered culturally repugnant or unpopular in a workplace setting. Yet, these undesirable behaviors are often uncontrollable as well.

If the medical evidence clearly establishes such deeply ingrained maladaptive patterns of behavior resulting in repeated episodes of decompensation, and marked restrictions of activities of daily living, social functioning, or maintaining concentration, persistence, and pace, a disability adjudicator should make a finding of disability under Listing 12.08.

Where precise medical evidence does not clearly meet or equal the listing, vocational evidence may be necessary to show that no job in the national economy would tolerate the maladaptive patterns of behavior documented by the medical evidence. Typically, vocational experts agree that jobs listed in the Department of Labor's Dictionary of Occupational Titles will require some sort of supervision, even if only on an occasional basis. While many employers would abide a single outburst from a good employee, or a one-time verbal altercation with coworkers, when a pattern of such behavior presents itself the typical result is employee termination. Under SSR 96-9p, a substantial loss of ability to respond appropriately to supervision, co-workers, and usual work situations may also warrant a finding of disability.

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In Minnesota, we handle Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Throughout the nation, we handle SSDI applications and appeals for people from Ohio to Kansas, North Dakota to Texas and everywhere in between.

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Coon Rapids, MN 55448

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