Agoraphobia: Everything You Need to Know

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that triggers intense anxiety in certain circumstances. People suffering from this condition often find it challenging to flee from stressful situations or reach out for help when panic or other distressing symptoms become unmanageable. This condition is associated with panic attacks in many cases, but not all. Some people learn to avoid situations that may trigger panic attacks. As a result, they isolate themselves from others, which can lead to depression and other issues. As time passes, their list of safe places becomes increasingly limited. 

The term agoraphobia originates from the Greek word for “fear of the marketplace.” It is frequently associated with a fear of leaving the home. We live in the age of anxiety. Indeed, the data appear to support this. Anxiety disorders are the most common type of psychological disorder in today’s world. It can have a negative impact on every aspect of a person’s life. It impacts how people think and feel, as well as physical symptoms.

Agoraphobia Disability

To know whether you are eligible for disability benefits for agoraphobia or any other type of mental health condition, you can contact a Los Angeles Disability Attorney and discuss your concerns. They will investigate your case and explain every detail about best ways to win the claim.

Symptoms – When left untreated, agoraphobia can worsen over time. This condition is characterized by intense fear in the following situations:

  • Taking public transportation like a bus, subway, or plane
  • Being in open spaces, such as large shopping malls or parking lots
  • Being in confined spaces, such as elevators or small stores
  • Being able to cross a bridge
  • Having to stand in line or enter a crowd
  • Leaving your house on your own

What makes these circumstances so frightening is how difficult it is to get out of them or ask for help if you begin to develop upsetting or embarrassing symptoms. You may be aware that your anxiety or panic is irrational, but unable to control or manage it in some circumstances.

As a result, it can cause additional symptoms such as:

  • Fear or anxiety that persists when exposed to a specific situation that is out of proportion to any real-life dangers presented by it
  • Avoiding upsetting situations unless accompanied by someone
  • Severe distress or difficulties in your social life, work, or other aspects of your life as a result of anxiety or avoidance

Is agoraphobia a disability? 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a significant percentage of American adults suffer from this disorder every year. Women between the ages of 20 and 40 are more likely than the general population to develop the disorder. According to medical research, the disorder manifests as a type of panic disorder rather than as a separate condition.

Anxiety is like fear, but when a person is afraid, they understand why they are afraid. Anxiety is frequently less specific. Some people are predisposed to stress more than others. Mild anxiety is hazy and unsettling, whereas severe anxiety can be crippling.

It becomes a problem when excessive stress interferes with daily life or when people experience persistent anxiety for no apparent reason. Things can become really complex if you are an older adult. Older adults who are dealing with a disabling condition may apply a separate set of rules for Disability Benefits Over 50

If a person is experiencing any of the following symptoms, he or she should consider seeking professional assistance:

  • Persistent excessive anxiety in everyday situations, 
  • The level of anxiety is extreme in comparison to its cause
  • Anxiety has an impact on daily life and can lead to panic attacks

Since its clinical inception by pioneers in psychology and psychiatry such as Sigmund Freud, the definition and conceptualization of anxiety have drastically changed. Some of the major forms of anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Post- traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD )
  • Social Phobia 

Can you get disability benefits for agoraphobia?

People suffering from this disease could be eligible for disability benefits. It is a mental disorder that falls under the umbrella of anxiety disorders. The patients are acutely aware of bodily sensations such as increased heart rate. They are less likely to overreact subconsciously in normal scenarios and situations, but agoraphobics can have severe panic attacks when they feel insecure or trapped.

It is a crippling disease that frequently results in an individual’s inability to work. Whether a person with this disease is eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is determined by whether the disorder prevents the person from working. Individuals who are found to be eligible for SSDI due to a Mental Health Disability must be unable to perform reasonable job tasks.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has categorized agoraphobia as an anxiety disorder in section 12.06 of its Blue Book listing of impairments. To be approved for SSDI benefits due to this condition, you must have medical documentation of the symptoms and meet the other criteria outlined in the Blue Book and SSA regulations.

Furthermore, individuals must have either a limitation in specific areas of mental functioning, such as understanding or remembering information, interacting with others, or concentrating, or a history of medical treatment and documented inability to adapt to changes in their environment. Anyone who meets these requirements may be deemed unable to function outside of their home.

Because panic disorders and agoraphobia are common and not always debilitating, the criteria for disability are strict. People must have one of the following to meet the Social Security Administration’s guidelines for receiving disability for agoraphobia:

  • Panic attacks that are followed by a persistent fear of having another panic attack
  • An abnormal fear or stress caused by two distinct general situations, such as being in an enclosed space, standing in line at a store, or taking public transportation

Remember that a claimant’s description of their condition and symptoms cannot be the only evidence relied upon by the SSA. A medical professional with experience diagnosing this disease must evaluate the individual and record the diagnosis. Paperwork relating to this diagnosis should be kept as proof of disability. 

SSA approves benefits for qualified candidates 

The Social Security Administration will also want to see evidence of recent treatment with a mental health professional to confirm that the condition and symptoms are still present despite treatment. 

If your ability to work is hampered by agoraphobia, you can file a Social Security Disability claim. It is suggested to consult a legal professional to determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria and guide you throughout the application process.