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Applying for SSDI based on bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness which, according to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, affects roughly 5.7 million Americans adults. Bipolar disorder comes in a variety of manifestations, one of which involves shifts between episodes of mania and depression and another which involves milder episodes of mania but more severe depression.  No matter what variety of bipolar one suffers with, the condition can be debilitating until adequate treatment is obtained.

As experts in bipolar disorder are firm in pointing out, although bipolar is a challenging condition, it is one which is not beyond one’s control.  A variety of treatment approaches can be helpful in managing the condition, including medication. The latter, of course, can be a challenging thing for bipolar patients to face, not wanting to be dependent on medication for the rest of their lives. Among other things, it is often assumed that medication will inevitably lead to lack of emotional life and a spaced-out feeling. With the right medication and dose, however, side effects can be kept to a minimum. 

As anybody who has a family member with bipolar can tell you, the biggest step in getting and keeping their loved one on track is to help them realize the importance of taking their medication. Once a bipolar patient realizes how much better they can feel with regular use of medication, it becomes easier for them to accept it.

Medical and mental health assistance is, of course, not the only assistance those with bipolar need. Financial issues can be a concern for some with bipolar, particularly for adults who are unable to find or keep substantial work for any length of time. For these, Social Security disability income can be an important resource, at least until such time as they are able to get on track and care for themselves.

Applying for disability benefits on the basis of bipolar disorder is not necessarily easy. One must understand the requirements for recognizing the condition as a disability and how to put together a solid application. Working with an experienced SSDI attorney throughout the application process can be helpful, especially if an appeal becomes necessary. 

Source:, “3 Myths about Managing Bipolar Disorder,” Margarita Tartokovsky, June 17, 2014. 

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