The term “disability” is one that can be defined differently depending on the perspective of the person using the word. Mental health conditions that the Social Security Administration (SSA) classifies as disabling often have to be so crippling that they affect an individual’s ability to function, even if special accommodations are made. Researchers have their own opinion about what is the most disabling mental health concern though.

Researchers who published a Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology study in November determined that depression and other mood disorders can result in the most profound functional impairments or disability of all conditions.

They also found that individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders suffer only intermediate functional impairments.

Individuals who suffer from substance abuse disorders experience even less of a functional impairment than those with mood or anxiety disorders.

Analysts note that these latest findings align with conclusions that researchers working on prior studies have reached. One days-out-of-role (DOR) study performed in 2007 showed that those with mood disorders missed significantly more days from work than those with other conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or substance abuse did.

What researchers working on previous studies have missed though is nearly 70 percent of those with mental health concerns suffer from more than one condition. This is one factor that, if properly documented, may improve a St. Louis resident’s chances of being approved for Social Security Disability (SSD).

One condition alone may not be considered “disabling enough” that you’re unable to work — by SSA standards, at least. By painting a picture of the full scope of your mental health concerns on your application, you may shed light on how one condition exacerbates another, making it difficult for you to complete the necessary tasks expected of an employee.

An attorney with experience handling Social Security Disability claims based on mental illness can help you document your conditions and explain your situation in a way that will help get your application approved without unnecessary delays.