How Much Does Anxiety Affect Concentration?

Does anxiety affect your concentration? If you suffer from anxiety, you may know that a common symptom is a lack of attention or difficulty concentrating. Excessive worry can plunge us into a veritable mess of irrational and destructive thinking, affecting our concentration. 

Anxiety triggers a stress response in the brain and body. The stress response causes a large number of hormones to flow throughout the body. When stress hormones are released, our heart rate will increase, our breathing will become more rapid, and blood will transfer to the extremities from the brain. In this state, our perception and intelligence are significantly affected, and it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to focus and concentrate on the task at hand. 

Disability For Anxiety Disorder

First, let us look at how the SSA assesses the severity of this disorder. Before paying benefits, the SSA requires that symptoms of mental illness be so severe that they interrupt your ability to engage in substantially gainful activities, like activities of daily living or maintaining gainful employment. In addition to meeting the following specific diagnosis (under “Types of Anxiety Disorder”), your condition must also cause severe limitations in the following areas: 

  • Comprehending and remembering instructions
  • Learning new things 
  • Interacting appropriately with others 
  • Concentration and persistence in completing tasks. 
  • Self-management (being able to cook, shop, pay bills and maintain good hygiene) 

Or, if the condition improves through medication or psychosocial support, you may qualify without limiting symptoms. Still, your recovery is fragile, and you may experience frustration if you start working again.

Generally speaking, to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, your medical condition must be expected to last or have lasted for 12 months or more, or result in death. Medical evidence should include a diagnosis and a record of symptoms that demonstrate the inability to adapt to environmental changes or increased mental stress. 

 Qualifying criteria for a successful benefits claim

It is possible to get Disability For Anxiety and other mental health issues. Getting the correct diagnosis is the first crucial step in the process. Your doctor must present medical evidence of your diagnosis, including psychological tests and records of symptoms. There are several anxiety conditions for which you may be eligible: 

  • Persistent anxiety 
  • Agoraphobia 
  • Panic attack 
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  1. Generalized persistent anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a fairly common illness characterized by chronic fear, panic attacks, and stress. Although many people experience mild stress, worry, or fear of being considered disabled, the SSA needs to see that your condition has a profound physical or emotional impact on your ability to engage in normal daily activities. Your medical records should include three or more of the following characteristics to be eligible for benefits under this anxiety condition: 

  • Irritability 
  • Easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Easily irritable
  • Muscle tension 
  • Sleep disturbance 
  1. Phobia

Phobia is an extreme or persistent irrational fear of a particular situation, activity, or place, such as the fear of crossing a bridge (gephyrophobia), the fear of heights (acrophobia) or the fear of leaving the house (agoraphobia). Phobias give rise to situations or activities in which there is an urgent need to avoid fear. 

A feeling of intense fear and avoiding interaction with others falls under the category of social phobia. To be eligible for disability benefits, the SSA requires you to be aware of at least two different situations that trigger anxiety. For example, using public transportation, in a crowd, standing in line, going out to public events, or being in an open space. 

  1. Panic attacks

Panic attacks are characterized by the sudden appearance of intense fear and physical symptoms such as sweating, increased heart rate, and tremors. Most people experience occasional mild panic like symptoms at some point in their lives. Those who experience chronic recurring panic attacks may take medication or other treatment to control them. Still, to reach the level of disability, SSA requires you to have a severe panic attack followed by continuous worrying about having another panic attack in the future or a deep fear of the consequences of your panic attack.

  1. Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by repeated unwanted thoughts that force a person to alleviate these thoughts by performing repetitive tasks such as cleaning or constant inspections. Involuntary tasks usually relate to germs, violence, religion, or sex. To be eligible for OCD benefits, the SSA requires that even if you receive treatment, you must have proof that you experience: 

  • Involuntarily and time-consuming concentration on intrusive and unwanted thoughts 
  1. Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a response to a traumatic event (such as rape, physical abuse, murder, military combat or a natural disaster) that you have experienced or witnessed. Post-traumatic stress disorder can cause recurrent flashbacks and dreams, which can disrupt daily activities. SSA requires that you must have medical documents with all of the following evidence:

  • Exposure to death, serious injury, violence, or death of another person. 
  • Unconsciously re-experiencing traumatic events (such as intrusive memories, dreams, or flashbacks) 
  • Avoidance of external reminders 
  • Changes in mood and behavior 
  • Increased arousal and responsiveness (for example, having an exaggerated startle response or sleep disturbance)

If you do not qualify for one of the SSA listings noted above, the SSA will alternatively consider your symptoms and health conditions to determine whether they have affected your daily activities and ability to perform work-related functions. Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Philadelphia to ensure positive results on your disability claim. Our legal professionals have in-depth knowledge of disability law and can help you at every step of the process.


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