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Keefe Disability Law
Social Security Disability & Supplemental Security Income
Toll Free 888-904-6847
Call 508-283-5500
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Mood Disorders and SSA Disability Benefits in New England

The Social Security Administration (SSA) disability program distributed benefits to 128,087 Americans suffering from mood disorders in 2010. This number represents 11.2% of all beneficiaries, making this group of disorders one of the leading causes of disability in the United States.

Mood disorders can be difficult to diagnose. In many cases, people suffering from these conditions are less likely to go to the doctor for treatment; instead, they visit the doctor with other ailments and remain undiagnosed. And, many sufferers do not visit the doctor because of the stigma of any type of mental illness.

There are four main types of mood disorders:

  • Bipolar disorder is marked by periods of mania, or varying episodes of mania and depression. A manic episode is a distinct period of abnormal elevated or irritable mood that lasts at least one week.
  • Cyclothymic disorder is sometimes seen as a mild form of bipolar disorder. This disorder is diagnosed when symptoms last for at least two years and interfere with social or occupational functioning.
  • Dysthymic disorder is a chronic type of depression. It often begins early in life and affects about 2% of the adult population in any given year. It is often associated with a higher rate of substance abuse.
  • Major depressive disorder, also known as unipolar major depressive disorder, is the most common of the four main types of mood disorders. It is characterized by major depressive episodes, each lasting at least two weeks. Sufferers may experience many symptoms, but common ones include, insomnia, weight loss and anxiety symptoms. On the other hand, depressed patients may also sleep a great deal and gain weight, so only an experienced physician can make a correct diagnosis.

Here are some facts about mood disorders published by the National Institute of Health:

  • 20% of U.S. adults will suffer from a mood disorder in his or her lifetime.
  • Mood disorders are among top 10 causes of disability in the world, with unipolar major depression ranking first.
  • Within any year, between 7% and 9.5% of the U.S. population suffers from a mood disorder.
  • Only 20% of those who suffer from mood disorders get adequate treatment for their condition.
  • Unipolar major depressive disorder is the most common of the four types of mood disorder.
  • Women are 50% more likely to have a mood disorder than men.
  • Women ages 18-45 represent the majority of people who suffer from major depression.
  • In the workplace, depression is the main cause for absenteeism.

Unfortunately, it is more difficult to prove a mood disorder exists than something more physically obvious like a cancer. For this reason, you may be denied Massachusetts SSA disability benefits the first time you apply. But you should not give up.

The Social Security disability attorneys at Keefe Disability Law in Boston have the knowledge and skill to get that denial reversed. Get the help you need by calling our toll free number, 888-904-6847, and set up a free case review today.


John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law

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