Decompensation is a term that refers to deterioration, i.e. something falling apart that, previously, was being maintained. In mental or psychiatric terms, decompensation is the degradation or deterioration of mental health in an individual who, up till that point, has maintained his or her mental illness. As one definition puts it, mental decompensation can lead to a lessened ability to carry on with the activities of daily living.
Decompensation plays a big role in evaluating social security disability claims and SSI disability claims. And it should, considering that A) decompensation limits one's ability to engage in normal daily activities, B) the ability to engage in normal daily activities relates strongly, as far as the social security administration is concerned, to the ability to engage in work activity and C) a sufficiently diminished ability to engage in work activity will result in an approval for social security disability or SSI.
Decompensation is mentioned in a number of disability listings, such as, for example, listing 12.03, titled "Schizophrenic, paranoid, and other psychotic disorders". Typically, the reference to decompensation will be stated such as "repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration".
Episodes of decompensation can result in a disability allowance. However, such episodes must be documented, i.e. they must appear in a claimant's medical record documentation. Documentation not only establishes the existence of decompensatory episodes, but also their severity and duration.
For this reason, an individual who is filing for disability should try to make sure that their therapist is aware of ALL their periods of decompensation. What do I mean by this? Here's what I mean. Too many patients who suffer who suffer from various mental impairments (and who have filed or will file for disability), have periods where they completely fall apart, or decompensate, but A) don't seek treatment for this or B) when they see their therapist, either fail to mention to mention the decompensation episode, or minimize its severity (play it down).
This, for the purpose of documenting a solid and winnable disability claim, is a mistake. You need to have these decompensation events recorded and documented just as a seizure patient needs to have his or her seizures documented and an asthma patient needs to have his or her asthma attacks documented. Winning a case for benefits all comes down to what is in the records. And records are recorded on the basis of a clinician's observations.
With regard to psychiatric and psychological impairments, of course, much depends on what a patient actually reports to their treatment specialist. If the information is not reported, it does not become part of the medical record, and it does not become credible evidence that might help to get a disability case approved.
The point being: if you are filing for disability on the basis of a mental condition, or are considering doing so, make sure your mental health treatment specialist is kept up to date with how your condition is progressing, particularly with regard to episodes of decompensation.
I have never had this trouble with Social security as long as your disabilitly keeps you out of work for more than 12 months or longer or results in death you can keep getting your SSI or SSDI. I have been on SSI since 1986 and the state determination services that does the adjuducation for the SSA for SSI or SSDI uses the guidelines for under the DMS IV handbook for mental disabilites. I haven't seen too many people get better from a mental disabiltiy or psychiatric one for that fact. We are all about the same. We have gone through DHS/DVS for rehab Services and they say since we don't have a veritfiable work history most likely SSA will keep us on one form of SS or other.
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