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What is a 'somatoform' disorder in mental illness disability?

This blog has previously talked about the fact that, because of their tendency to have somewhat subjective symptoms and effects, mental and psychological disabilities may be more difficult to deal with for those who make determinations about Social Security Disability Insurance at the Social Security Administration. The frustration that some New Jersey applicants may feel when having to prove their mental illness can be multiplied when that illness is some form of 'somatoform disorder.'

A somatoform disorder is one in which some kind of physical symptom is manifested in a person for which no physiological or other organic cause can be found. That is, if someone goes blind and has a known physical disease such as macular degeneration, or some injury to the retina or optic nerve, it can be said with some certainty that that physical cause is the reason for the disability. However, in the case of what has been sometimes called 'hysterical blindness,' a person simply ceases to be able to see, but there is no obvious problem with the physical portions of the eye and those parts of the brain known to deal with vision. This may be considered a form of somatoform disorder.

As might be imagined, these types of disorders can be particularly stressful, as the sufferer must go through the frustration of being tested medically without any certain answers as to what is wrong. Unfortunately, stress may actually be a contributing factor to the disorders themselves, creating a negative feedback loop. Further applying for SSDI for such disorders can be particularly difficult. However, it is possible to be approved due to this type of problem if one meets certain criteria, which we may cover in another post.

For now, suffice it to say that those New Jersey Residents suffering from these types of disorders may have a tough time coping with work or other everyday tasks. In this case, those affected may wish to consider seeking the aid of an attorney experienced with applying for benefits based on mental illness disability.

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