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Social Security Disability and Bipolar Disorder

Speaking from Experience


Updated June 08, 2012

Part 4: Four Questions Answered - Continued

  • Does anyone else have little documented in the way of hospitalizations, suicide attempts, and manic episodes?

    While all of these make for a stronger case, its not an absolute in getting disability. Persons who either have major depressive disorder or Bipolar, depressed type can get disability if your documentation from medical sources, therapist, etc., are strong enough.

    In general a lot of my manic episodes/suicide attempts have not been documented. After the suicide attempt my mother told me to lie and say that I was experimenting with drugs. That would be considered "normal."

    My hospital records say drug overdose and cite difficulty at home. (Bentyl) Do hospitals usually mention suspected suicide attempts in reports? Or could my mother have asked the doctor to not mention that in the report?

    My mother/family were in denial and I had no one in my life that realized that my behavior was abnormal let alone have me admitted. I know that the ER doctor told her that any one who had taken that many pills, wanted to die. She always attributed to cries for attention. To this day she won't mention the word "bipolar."

    I have bipolar disorder on my father's side, a great deal of substance abusers in the family and an aunt who is schizoaffective (great stock, we are). Would this help my case? Although documentation might still be a problem because denial also runs in my family.

    All of this is useful information, though if not labeled bipolar or another mental illness, not as helpful as otherwise. But a history of drug abuse as recorded by the ER, a family history of substance abuse and family illness of mental illness, if documented, can't hurt. Whether it helps, I don't know.

    Denial is common in families, so much of your case as it concerns information from your family may need to be self-reporting and/or you digging up the facts. A family history of mental illness means little when it comes to whether the family is a good one. Like all illnesses, it doesn't always hit all family members. As for your mother, like many parents, she may need to go with you to visit the shrink and/or your therapist. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed about, especially now that we know much of the problem is body chemistry.

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