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Social Security Disability, Mental Disorders, and New Classifications

Posted by Louis B. Lusk | May 16, 2013 | 0 Comments

Social Security Disability, Mental Disorders, and New Classifications

Our brains are wrinkled gray masses of neurons (about 100 billion) firing electrical impulses allowing us to breath, move, think, and feel. Our brains are very strong and agile. And yet our brains are very delicate and any number of neuron miss-firings can occur. Some of these miss-firings translate into clinical mental disorders. The Social Security Administration (SSA) Disability Evaluation lists a number of disorders under their catch-all description of “mental disorders”. Mental Disorders Mental disorders are divided into nine diagnostic categories: organic mental disorders; schizophrenic, paranoid and other psychotic disorders; affective disorders; mental retardation; anxiety-related disorders; somatoform disorders; personality disorders; substance addiction disorders; and autistic disorder and other pervasive developmental disorders. The SSA spells out what is included in each diagnostic category and what specific information is required in Social Security Disability (SSD) applications. DSM-5 Many diagnostic requirements used by the SSA come from what is considered the definitive psychiatric manual of mental disorders, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly known as the DSM. On May 18, 2013, the American Psychiatric Association will formally release the latest edition, the DSM-5. This is the first update in almost 20 years. On its surface, this sounds like a good thing: use the accumulated science over the past 20 years to update the authoritative source for diagnosing mental problems. And yet currently there is a huge backlash occurring about what is included in this new version. The DSM-5 lists frequent childhood temper tantrums as disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Then there is the reclassification of what we used to call “senior moments” as mild neurocognitive disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “The goal of [revising the] DSM is to establish clear criteria for diagnosing mental disorders, not to create medical conditions out of the full range of human behavior and emotions.” While the DSM is not intended to identify the course of treatment for an individual, the DSM is considered valuable for diagnosis as it translates into effective treatment. The use of DSM for Social Security Disability assessments In general terms, the Social Security Disability eligibility process involves five steps: 1. Are you able to work? 2. Is your medical condition severe? 3. Does your impairment match the list of approved impairments? 4. Can you do your past work? 5. Is there any work that you can do/perform The new changes to the DSM-5 potentially affect the third eligibility step focusing on whether a mental disability diagnosis matches the list of impairments that are considered approvable for SSD. Because the release of the DSM-5 just happened, there is yet to be a crosswalk between changes proposed in the DSM-5 and the authorized list of mental disorders for SSD applicants. If you have questions about the status of current SSD mental disabilities categories and your potential rights and eligibility for Social Security Disability, it is important to speak with our SSD attorney in Georgia. See Related Posts: How Will Obama's Budget Proposal Affect Social Security? What You Need to Apply for Supplemental Security Income

About the Author

Louis B. Lusk

About Louis B. Lusk – Disability Attorney Attorney Louis B. Lusk has helped thousands of disabled individuals recover Social Security disability and SSI disability benefits.  He is an active member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives (NOSSCR), an organizat...

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If you have been turned down for Social Security disability call me at 1 (800) 501-5416.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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