Anxiety, a pervasive mental health challenge, can have debilitating effects on an individual’s daily life, significantly impairing their emotional, cognitive, and physiological functioning. The overwhelming and persistent sense of worry, fear, and unease may lead to avoidance behaviors, causing individuals to withdraw from social interactions, work, or school, which in turn can exacerbate feelings of isolation and loneliness. Moreover, anxiety can severely impact concentration, decision-making, and memory, hindering productivity and personal growth. In addition, long-term anxiety can manifest as physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances, further diminishing an individual’s overall well-being and quality of life.
If you have been denied your long-term disability benefits you have the right to your own long-term disability lawyer. Call our Disability Lawyers today at 1-844-4-DISABILITY for your FREE CONSULTATION or alternatively, send us a message through our website and we will be happy to get right back to you and schedule your FREE CONSULTATION and explain your legal rights to you, and what remedy you may be entitled to. Remember – if we work together, our anxiety disability lawyers NEVER ask for money upfront, under any circumstances. Our disability lawyers only get paid if you get paid.
Anxiety, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), is a complex emotional state characterized by excessive and persistent worry, fear, and unease that interferes with daily functioning. The DSM-5 is a handbook used by mental health professionals to diagnose and classify mental health disorders. It helps them understand and recognize the symptoms, causes, and treatments for various mental health conditions, ensuring consistent and accurate diagnoses.
The DSM-5 categorizes various anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder (SAD), and specific phobias, each with distinct diagnostic criteria.
Generalized anxiety disorder, for example, involves excessive anxiety and worry about various events or activities occurring more days than not for at least six months, alongside difficulty controlling the worry.
Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and persistent concern or maladaptive behavior changes related to the attacks.
Social anxiety disorder, on the other hand, involves a marked fear or anxiety of social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others, leading to avoidance or endured with intense fear or anxiety. Specific phobias pertain to an excessive, irrational fear of a particular object or situation, resulting in avoidance or endured with significant distress.
Anxiety can result from experiences, physiology or someone’s state of mind. Each individual’s experience with anxiety is unique. Anxiety may develop from an experience at the workplace or at home or may have its roots even further back into childhood. There is even evidence to suggest that gender, genetics and family history may be significant in discovering why some individuals develop anxiety and others do not. Here is a list of possible causes of anxiety:
Psychological/state of mind: individuals who have not had the opportunity to learn how to ready themselves mentally prior to facing stressful situations or how to recover following stressful circumstances are particularly at risk of anxiety. This could include survivors of childhood abuse or people who have other mental or physical disabilities that make it challenging to adjust to different situations. This may be the result of either simply the lack of education by parents or guardians as a child or a result of active abuse.
Genetics and biology: some scientific evidence suggests that certain individuals’ genetic, biological and chemical makeup makes them more vulnerable to anxiety than others. In addition, there is research that indicates that being prone to more severe levels of anxiety is something that can be inherited as well. People who have family members with a history of anxiety-related issues should be aware that it is possible to be an issue for them as well.
Gender and age: statistically, men and women over 65 are most likely to have cases of anxiety disorder resulting in hospitalization. The reasons could stem from increasing physical difficulty with advancing age, financial pressures, and dealing with loneliness or mental disabilities.
In 2015, research showed that Canadian women between the ages of 15 to 65 were twice as likely to experience anxiety disorders as their male counterparts. The research is unclear why women are more likely to experience anxiety as compared to men.
Social interactions: certain anxiety disorders, like social phobia or body dysmorphia, can be the result of negative social interactions. For example, experiencing an embarrassing or stressful situation could become the trigger for future cases of anxiety disorder. Common examples include bullying at school, derogatory comments about someone’s weight or appearance or other prejudicial or discriminatory treatment.
Significant life events/changes in life circumstances: anxiety can be the result of significant life events. These can include surviving a natural disaster, having a death in the family, going through a career change, or anything unexpected and difficult to cope with. In February 2021, a survey was conducted on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected individuals; a large majority of the respondents reported that they had experienced anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anxiety disorders can be organized into a number of categories. Statistically, in Canada, among other mental disorders, anxiety regularly ranks as one of the most prevalent conditions experienced.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) – is a mental health condition characterized by excessive, persistent worry and anxiety about a wide range of everyday situations and events. Individuals with GAD often experience a constant sense of unease and apprehension, which can significantly interfere with their daily lives, relationships, and overall well-being. Common symptoms of GAD include restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances. The exact cause of GAD is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Treatment for GAD typically involves a combination of psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and medication, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, to help manage symptoms and improve overall functioning. Additionally, lifestyle changes, stress management techniques, and self-help strategies can also play an important role in coping with and managing GAD.
Panic Disorder – is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unexpected panic attacks that cause intense fear and discomfort. These panic attacks typically last for several minutes but can sometimes persist for longer. The experience of a panic attack can be extremely distressing, as the symptoms can be both physical and emotional.
Physical symptoms of a panic attack may include heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, trembling, sweating, and sensations of choking or smothering. Emotional symptoms often involve feelings of terror, a sense of impending doom or catastrophe, and a fear of losing control or dying.
In addition to the panic attacks themselves, people with panic disorder often develop a constant fear or worry about having more panic attacks, which can lead to significant changes in behavior. This fear may cause individuals to avoid places or situations where they believe a panic attack could occur, sometimes leading to agoraphobia – the fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or help might be unavailable in case of a panic attack.
The exact cause of panic disorder is not fully understood but is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Some common triggers for panic attacks include stress, certain medical conditions, substance use, or a history of childhood physical or sexual abuse.
Social Anxiety Disorder – also known as social phobia, is an anxiety disorder characterized by a persistent and excessive fear of social situations where an individual may be exposed to the scrutiny of others. This fear often stems from concerns about being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated, leading to intense anxiety and self-consciousness in social settings.
People with social anxiety disorder may experience a range of symptoms, including rapid heartbeat, trembling, sweating, blushing, difficulty speaking, and nausea. They may also have negative thoughts about themselves, such as feeling inadequate, inferior, or unattractive, which can further exacerbate their anxiety. SAD can significantly impact an individual’s daily life, making it difficult to form and maintain relationships, attend social events, or even perform routine tasks that involve interacting with others, such as making phone calls or attending work meetings.
The causes of social anxiety disorder are not completely understood but are thought to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Some potential contributing factors include a family history of anxiety disorders, temperament or personality traits, adverse childhood experiences, and learned behavior from observing anxious behavior in others.
Specific Phobias – are a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an excessive and irrational fear of a particular object, situation, or activity. The fear associated with a specific phobia is disproportionate to the actual danger posed by the feared stimulus and can lead to significant distress and avoidance behaviors, impacting daily life and functioning.
There are numerous specific phobias, which can be broadly categorized into five main types:
The symptoms of specific phobias can vary but often involve intense anxiety, rapid heartbeat, trembling, sweating, and an overwhelming urge to escape or avoid the feared object or situation. In some cases, even thinking about or being exposed to the phobic stimulus can trigger a panic attack.
The exact cause of specific phobias is not completely understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Some individuals may develop phobias due to a traumatic event or a learned response from observing the fearful reactions of others.
Agoraphobia – is an anxiety disorder characterized by an intense fear of being in situations or places where escape might be difficult, or where help might be unavailable in the event of a panic attack or other incapacitating symptoms. This fear can result in avoidance behaviors and can significantly impact daily life, relationships, and overall well-being.
People with agoraphobia often avoid situations that they believe could trigger a panic attack or cause extreme anxiety. These situations may include crowded places, public transportation, enclosed spaces, or even being outside the home alone. In severe cases, agoraphobia can lead to individuals becoming housebound, as the fear of venturing out becomes too overwhelming.
The exact cause of agoraphobia is not fully understood but is thought to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. Some potential contributing factors include a family history of anxiety disorders, a history of panic attacks, or experiencing a traumatic event.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): After going through a stressful life event, some individuals experience a form of anxiety called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can be the result of any number of different triggers, including:
Individuals who have PTSD usually fall into one of two categories: first, individuals who unfortunately have experienced some tragic life event, such as an accident or criminal activity; and second, people who work in job sectors where they are exposed to risk on a regular basis, including EMS staff, members of the military and medical personnel.
In all of these types of anxieties, people can be diagnosed on a scale, from having slight or mild symptoms to the disorder being near debilitating. Along the entire scale of anxiety, there are physical, behavioural and psychological symptoms that can be observed and are used to identify cases of anxiety:
Physical symptoms: There are many similarities between the physical symptoms of anxiety and those expressed when feeling afraid, worried or nervous. These physical symptoms can differ by individual, as well as by the level of anxiety felt:
These physical symptoms can worsen if the episode of anxiety continues: if someone with anxiety feels that their heart is racing faster than normal, they may feel worried that they’re having a cardiac event such as a heart attack, which may, in turn, make them breath faster.
Although it does not address the root cause of the anxiety, managing physical symptoms and reminding the person who is experiencing the anxiety to remain calm (or mimic calmness, such as breathing deeply and slowly) is one way to help them stay focused on the issue
Psychological symptoms: Although physical symptoms are most visible and noticeable in cases of anxiety, the psychological symptoms associated with anxiety are important to be aware of. In some cases, physical symptoms may even be the result of unseen psychological symptoms. Someone with anxiety might experience:
People who suspect that they might be experiencing anxiety, and are trying to confirm their condition based solely on their psychological symptoms, should remember that one key indicator is the length of time they are experiencing symptoms. For instance, assessing the severity of GAD is often done with a qualitative evaluation that asks the individual about the frequency at which they are nervous or unable to control their negative emotions. Similarly, if someone experiences the above symptoms regularly or with increased frequency, there’s a need to consider the possibility of anxiety more seriously.
Behavioral symptoms: The physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety result in a set of behavioral symptoms that can help identify individuals dealing with anxiety. Within social situations, these symptoms can appear even in the absence of other physical symptoms of anxiety. This is particularly relevant in cases of anxiety because an individual with anxiety might attempt to hide physical or psychological symptoms of anxiety. A number of examples are:
The difficulty with anxiety is how the physical and psychological symptoms reinforce the behavioral symptoms. A person with anxiety might become nervous because they are experiencing an elevated heartbeat, leading them to feel that they may be dying. The individual may consciously try to control their breathing and heart rate in social situations to hide the fact that they are feeling anxiety, which in turn leads to spiraling negative emotions that they then cannot control.
Serious anxiety can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to function in daily life, including their capacity to work. When anxiety becomes severe and chronic, it can lead to a person being unable to work and potentially qualify for long-term disability benefits. Here’s some ways how anxiety can affect work performance and the process of applying for long-term disability benefits:
Impaired cognitive functioning: Anxiety can negatively impact concentration, memory, and decision-making abilities. This can make it difficult for individuals to effectively perform tasks, meet deadlines, or engage in critical thinking necessary for their job.
Social withdrawal: People with severe anxiety may experience difficulty interacting with others, which can result in poor communication, collaboration, or conflict resolution. This can be particularly detrimental in work environments that require teamwork or regular interaction with clients or customers.
Physical symptoms: Anxiety can manifest in physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, dizziness, gastrointestinal issues, or difficulty breathing. These symptoms can be distracting, uncomfortable, and potentially debilitating, making it difficult for the person to perform their job duties.
Fatigue and exhaustion: Chronic anxiety can lead to sleep disturbances, which may result in persistent fatigue and difficulty maintaining energy levels throughout the workday. This can further impair cognitive functioning and overall work performance.
Absenteeism and presenteeism: Chronic anxiety can lead to increased absenteeism, wherein individuals with severe anxiety may need to take frequent time off from work due to their emotional, cognitive, and physical symptoms. This can negatively impact their ability to maintain consistent employment and meet workplace expectations. Furthermore, presenteeism may also occur, where the person is physically present at work but their productivity and efficiency are significantly reduced due to their anxiety. Both absenteeism and presenteeism can contribute to poor job performance, strained relationships with colleagues, and increased risk of job loss, making it even more difficult for the individual to maintain steady employment.
Chronic anxiety can lead to a person collecting long-term disability benefits if the severity of their condition prevents them from performing their job duties effectively or maintaining consistent employment.
In order to qualify for long-term disability benefits, you must suffer what is called a “total disability” in accordance with your disability policy. During the first two years of long-term disability, the definition of “total disability” and “own occupation” play a crucial role in determining an individual’s eligibility for benefits.
Total disability refers to a person’s inability to perform the material and substantial duties of their job due to a medical condition, such as chronic anxiety. In the context of “own occupation,” this means that the individual is unable to perform the tasks specific to their current profession or job role. Long-term disability insurance policies typically use the “own occupation” definition for the initial two-year period, meaning that if the person is unable to work in their specific occupation due to their disability, they may be eligible for benefits. After the two-year mark, the definition of disability may shift to “any occupation,” meaning one would qualify for long-term disability benefits if the individual is unable to work in any occupation for which he or she is suited by way of eduction training or experience. For more information about how to qualify for long-term disability benefits, contact our Long-Term Disability Lawyers today.
If you’ve been denied long-term disability, it’s vital that you speak to a long-term disability lawyer about your situation and options. Our long-term disability lawyers have been representing disability claimants in Ontario and all over Canada since 1984 and can assist with providing you with an outline of your legal options. We also provide free consultations and are available by phone, by zoom or in person at one of our offices. We also work with a large connection of disability lawyers who can assist no matter where or what Province you are located in.
It cost you nothing upfront to hire a long-term disability lawyer. The fee is free until and if we win your case. Our Anxiety Disability Lawyers charge what is called a contingency fee. A contingency fee is a payment arrangement which allows our Long-Term Disability Lawyers to represent clients without charging any upfront fees. Instead, the our compensation is contingent upon successfully obtaining a favorable outcome for the client, such as winning the case or securing a settlement. At the end of the case, our disability law firm receives a predetermined percentage as our fee. If the case is unsuccessful, the client is not obligated to pay any legal fees to our disability law firm. Contingency fee agreements can be beneficial for clients who may not have the financial resources to pay for legal representation upfront, allowing them to access professional legal services in their pursuit of long-term disability benefits or other claims – or in other words, hire the best disability lawyer to prosecute his or her case.
We recommend that you do not appeal your own anxiety disability claim. It’s important to know that internal appeals with a disability insurer can be perceived as a biased procedure due to the inherent conflict of interest that arises when an organization is responsible for both evaluating and funding claims. Insurers have a financial incentive to minimize their payouts, which may lead to decisions that prioritize the company’s bottom line over the fair treatment of claimants.
Furthermore, the appeals process is often overseen by the same individuals or departments that initially denied the claim, creating an environment in which impartiality is compromised. This potential for bias can undermine the credibility of the appeals process, leading to claimants feeling disenfranchised and disillusioned with their insurer. In other words, appealing your denied anxiety long-term disability claim means that the same insurance company who denied you in the first place is performing the re-evaluation, and not a neutral body. Instead of appealing your denial, call our anxiety disability lawyers to get the FREE information you need to make a better and more informed decision about how to handle your long-term disability benefits denial.
Lalande Disability Lawyers understand the struggles that individuals with anxiety face when denied long-term disability benefits. Since 1984, our long-term disability lawyers have recovered tens of millions in wrongfully denied long-term disability benefits for disabled claimants who are so debilitated from anxeity that they are are unable to work.
Stop struggling with a faceless insurance company – and call our anxiety disability lawyers to get your free consultation today. We represent claimants suffering from anxiety all over Ontario and we can help you get your long-term disability benefits back on track, just see what clients are saying.
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In most cases, yes, so long as you satisfy the definition of “total disability” as it is set out in your long-term disability policy.
In most cases, you can qualify for Long-Term Disability benefits if you suffer from anxiety, so long as you meet the definition of “total disability” within your disability insurance policy.
In Ontario, you can qualify for disability benefits if you are following a proper treatment plan, getting the appropriate therapy or counseling required, and you satisfy the requirements of the definition of a “total disability” within the meaning of your disability insurance policy.
During the first 2 years of long-term disability “total disability” means that you must pass the “own occupation” test. This means that you must be unable to complete the regular or substantial duties of your own job.
After the 2 years, “total disability” means that you must pass the “any occupation” test. This means that you must be unable to satisfy the duties of any occupation that you might be qualifed for based on your education, training or experience.
It is not the type of anxiety that you suffer from, but rather if your anxiety prevents you from engaging or completing the substantial duties of your employment.
Yes, talking to a disability lawyer about your case should always be free. At our firm, we never charge anyone to talk to us about their case. We understand that another bill is the last thing you need while suffering and being cut-off disability.