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The Lounge
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Short-term disability question, if anyone's versed.

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I was wondering if anyone here had heard of a person getting short-term disability due to excess anxiety and panic attacks. 

I've posted before that I have a real problem with my current job.  I feel physically ill when I wake up in the mornings, knowing I have to come here...  the sense of dread is unbearable.  I feel like I'm walking to the gallows.

When I'm here, I feel like I'm going to explode.  Sometimes I hyperventilate.. sometimes I feel like I'm about 2 seconds away from bursting into tears.. and I'm not a crier. 

I really find it hard to explain the other symptoms as I've never experienced anything like this before, but I just feel like it's very urgent that I leave ASAP or something bad is going to happen. 

Last week, the urge hit me and I had to visit an urgent care clinic.  I was perscribed a few Lorazepam to help with the next day.  The pills helped, but only because I took more than the recommended dose.

Clearly, I need some kind of treatment, but I'm not sure if I can take a short-term disability leave due to anxiety.  Has anyone heard of something similar before?

Edited to apologize for the ramble.  I've only been here about 2 hours so far, and the anxiety is building and building..  I just had to get something out there. 

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Sorry that I'm not able to answer your question concerning eligibility for short-term disability, and I'm also sorry that you're having such a rough time.  I wanted to say, however, that I had a job in the past that had a similar effect on me.  I do not mean for this to sound arrogant or "cavalier," but you know what "cured" me of the symptoms?  Quitting and finding a job that was better suited to my personality, talents, and needs.

I know it's just not that easy to say "I quit" and then magically walk right into another job, but seriously, NO job is worth what your current situation is putting you through.  And of course, I understand that there could be other things in your life that are adding to the stress, but if it's mostly the job giving you all this trouble?  Start looking for something else as soon as possible.

Typically a STD claim requires medical documentation that an employee is unable to work.  The employer must complete a questionnaire regarding the physical responsibilities of the job (% of time sitting, lifting, standing, walking, etc) and the doctor must complete a questionnaire regarding the employee's limitations given their diagnosis.  I know there has been a lot of legislation ensuring the physical and behavioral health problems are treated equally under medical insurance, I am not sure if the same legislation applies to STD policies.  Depending on the policy your company has purchased, there could be exclusions for mental illness -- get a copy of the Summary Plan Description for the STD plan (usually these are published on a website in a bigger firm, or available in the HR office in a smaller firm).  I think the bigger issue is, if it's the job that is making you sick, there will never be a return to work plan and so the insurance carrier is going to have issues with that.  And, really, do you want to be on LTD for the rest of your life, receiving just 60% of your current income?  If you know it's the job, polish up your resume and start looking for something better.  If you're miserable, chances are your boss is miserable with you and it's just a matter of time before you're counseled on performance.  Look for a job while you still have one, it is always an easier search that way.

Why don't you talk to a therapist? If necessary, they can put you on meds to alleviate your symptoms. 
When faced with a similar situation, I suffered through it, and found a way to deal with the stress the job created by examining my response to it. I realized that the power to make me happy resides in me. That the only thing I control in my life is my response.

Having said that, I agree with previous posts. Find a new job.
Where do you live?  In Ontario you can get a leave for six months due to stress.

I am not a lawyer or STD specialist, so take all this with a grain of salt.

Some questions:

  • Does your employer offer an EAP (Employee Assistance Program)? They offer free counseling (with some limitations) and referral services.
  • Do you have health insurance?  They should have mental health coverage for counseling and therapy (with the # of visits capped).
  • Do you have friends and family?  A strong outside support network will help you process these problems and let you know if it is your job or just your thought processes/ reactions that are the problem.
  • How much discretion and control do you have over your work?  Can you control/ revise processes/ procedures/ schedules to your benefit?  Can you make alterations to reduce the stress and improve your quality of life? 

STD is intended for times when your illness inhibits your ability to work.  If you are still able to work, you may not qualify.  Also, they will ask you if work caused the illness and you would have to say yes.  If you say yes but have not filed a claim under worker's comp and do not have a denial of coverage for mental health services from your worker's compensation carrier, then you will not be eligible for STD.  But I am not a lawyer or STD specialist, so take all that with a grain of salt.

edit: This is how STD works (generally) in the USA

My best friend just found out her boyfriend cheated on her and went into a depression. She went to her doctor, got them to sign something saying she was suffering from depression and she's now on short term disability for the next few weeks. It should work that way for anxiety, I would think...

Do you need time away from work period or just need to get out of that job? If it's the latter, could you just apply for employment insurance instead (whatever the equivalent is in the states)? My mom had a nervous breakdown and had to quit working and go on disability, it's not short term though, this was 4-5yrs ago. She sees a therapist and takes medication, etc (so it's not because she didn't like her job).

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Sounds like panic attacks so I would see a psychiatrist. Here is the wiki article on it in case I misunderstand how you described things

I'm not sure what you can do for short term disability, sorry =/  But a psychiatrist or psychologist should be able to help things out symptom wise.  Take care

STD is for use if you are going to be out of work for more than one full week.

It sounds like you need FML (FMLA- Family Medical Leave Act). You generally have to go through the same procedures as for STD, but you can use it intermittenly. (full days, 1/2 days or hourly) Talk to your Doctor. They have to fill out a couple pages for your FML provider, but if your doctor says you need the time off, they should give it to you. You have to recertify ever 30 to 90 days (depending on your FML provider) and remember... By LAW, if they don't make a decision within 10 days of reciept of your info, they have to approve you... the flip side is you have 15 days to provide them with any information they require or you are automatically denied.

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