Many people assume that service-connected disabilities are all about the physical, but your mental health can be affected as well.
In the past, you may have been shamed for seeking help for your mental health.
However, we now know that mental health can be just as important as your physical health in improving your quality of life.
What is Anxiety?
When you feel nervous and restless all the time, or you feel worried continuously, or you have physical symptoms like difficulty with sleep and concentration, feeling nauseous, stomach upset, or a racing heart, you might have anxiety.
Everyone is worried or nervous sometimes, but when you have anxiety, it is persistent. does not go away, and it can affect your quality of life. There are four main types of Anxiety you should know about.
4 Types of Anxiety
People with Social Anxiety Disorders, or SAD, may avoid social situations like parties, groups, classes, dating, and more because their anxiety about the situations are so strong and don’t go away. See the VA screening checklist here.
If you feel like you’re always worried about something in your life and can’t stop worrying about it, it may be affecting the quality of your life and making you feel nervous, agitated, restless, irritable, or have difficulty concentrating.
If this sounds like you, you might have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD. You might worry continuously about your health, work, finances, relationships, or other areas of your life if you have GAD. See the VA screening checklist here.
Panic Attacks can present as recurring sudden instance of fear with symptoms like your heart racing, chest pain, difficulty getting in a breath, dizziness, and more. You might think you’re having a heart attack. If you have panic attacks frequently, you might have a Panic Disorder.
If you have a Panic Disorder, you may also try to avoid situations where you know that you will likely have a panic attack. This could be a meeting, a concert, a crowded park, the store, a small/confined area, or anywhere else that you believe will make you have a panic attack. See the VA screening checklist here.
Phobias are specific things that you might be afraid of like small spaces, driving, blood/needles, heights, or other fears. If you have served in a combat role, you may have phobias surrounding fireworks or loud noises that cause you to avoid situations where you might hear them.
If these phobias are getting in the way of you enjoying your life, you might need to seek out help. See the VA screening checklist here.
Anxiety Treatment Options
If you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, take a deep breath. You have treatment options. You do not need to suffer in silence. There are two main options for anxiety treatment including:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This is the type of therapy that you hear the most about. It involves talking to a qualified therapist on a short-term basis to help you figure out what type of anxiety that you are experiencing, what might be causing it, and ways to manage your anxious thoughts and feelings to be able to cope better in daily life.
- Medication – If you have worked through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or if your doctor determines it’s the best course of treatment, you might be placed on anti-anxiety medication. You could be placed on an as-needed medication, or you might take a daily anti-anxiety medicine.
The type of medicine you are placed on depends on your diagnosis and any contributing factors (like if you also have depression).
Does Anxiety Qualify for a VA Disability Rating?
Anxiety disorders can qualify for a VA Disability Rating if they are service connected. That means that you have a diagnosis of anxiety currently, that the anxiety diagnosis must be related to something that happened while you were in service, and that you need a nexus letter to prove the link between the service event and your current diagnosis.
How Does the VA Rate Service-connected Disabilities?
The VA determines a disability rating based on your medical history, the results of your compensation and pension (C&P) exam, and your employment status.
All mental health conditions are evaluated under the same rating criteria according to 38 CFR § 4.130.
The criteria address the following factors:
- ability to work
- ability to care for yourself
- ability to maintain social relationships
Based on your level of impairment among these factors, the VA assigns a disability rating percentage of 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, or 100.
VA Rating Percentages for Anxiety
The VA Disability Ratings for all mental disorders use the same criteria. They are listed below.
0% – You are diagnosed with a mental condition, but the symptoms don’t interfere with work or social activities and you don’t need continuous medication.
10% – You have some mild symptoms that decrease your work efficiency and impair your social functioning during periods of significant stress. Your symptoms are controlled by continuous medication.
30% – You have a depressed mood, anxiety, panic attacks (weekly or less), or sleep impairment and experience an occasional decrease in work efficiency and periods of inability to perform work tasks. Generally, you function satisfactorily with routine behavior and self-care.
50% – You have a panic attacks more than once a week, can’t understand complex commands, can’t retain short- or long-term memories, impaired judgement and thinking, and can’t maintain relationships.
70% – You experience one or most of the following symptoms: near-continuous panic or depression affecting your ability to function on your own, impaired impulse control, spatial disorientation, and difficulty adapting to stressful situations. These symptoms might result in thoughts of suicide, obsessive rituals that interfere with daily activities, and a breakdown of work, family, and social relationships.
100% – You are totally impaired in work and social settings. You experience symptoms like persistent delusions or hallucinations, inappropriate behavior, inability to perform daily tasks, disorientation to time or place, and memory loss. Ultimately, you are in danger of hurting yourself or others.
What is the Average Disability Rating for Anxiety?
There is no specific average disability rating for anxiety. It really depends on your symptoms and how they are affecting your quality of life including your work/professional, social, and personal life.
Why VanDerGinst Law?
The personal injury attorneys at VanDerGinst Law serve as advocates for injury victims nationwide. We have a team of VA-certified disability attorneys to assist you with your VA disability case, and the knowledge and experience to help you get results.
A Veterans disability attorney from VanDerGinst Law can help you if you have been denied benefits. There is a time limit on filing your appeal, so contact us right away.
We would be honored to help.
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