Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is associated with traumatic experiences and other harrowing life events. The disorder is common among Veterans who were involved in combat.
GAD is characterized by excessive, persistent worrying that is hard to control. A Veteran with anxiety might worry a great deal about little things (like being on time or running errands), about larger issues such as work, money or health, and/or about things that are out of their hands, such as national and international events.
Veterans with generalized anxiety are sometimes told that they worry too much and may even describe themselves as “worry warts.” Both are improper responses. GAD is a recognized disability and a Veteran who is preoccupied with anxious feelings should receive medical help through the VA or a private provider. If your GAD disability claim has been denied, the VA disability appeal attorneys at Berry Law Firm can help you file an appeal and pursue the full benefits that you have earned through your service to our country.
If you are a U.S. military Veteran who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder and you are having difficulty obtaining the appropriate VA disability rating to qualify for benefits, contact Berry Law for assistance today. Berry Law is a national law firm that helps Veterans across the country appeal denied VA claims and appeal disability rating decisions. Our attorneys, most of whom are military Veterans, will fight for you to receive your full VA disability benefit. Call (888) 883-2483 to speak to a GAD disability appeal lawyer.
Am I Experiencing Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Feeling anxious about things from time to time is normal. Recognizing what causes us to worry is part of how we prioritize life and focus on issues that need to be addressed. But when everyday worries become persistent and create an impediment to day-to-day activities, work, sleep, or relationships, that’s a problem you should seek to address.
General anxiety disorder, or GAD, is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things. People with GAD may anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their worry.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more of these symptoms:
- Feeling nervous, irritable, or on edge
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly, sweating, and/or trembling
- Feeling weak or tired
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
If you answer “yes” to one or more of the questions below, then you should speak to a physician or mental health professional about whether you should be diagnosed as suffering from GAD.
- Have you been feeling continually worried or anxious about a number of events or activities in your daily life?
- Have you experienced this worry for at least 6 months?
- Do you have trouble controlling your worry?
- Do worries and tension slow you down or keep you from doing the things you need to?
Your doctor can discuss several types of treatment that can help you with GAD. They may include a combination of supportive therapy and medication, usually a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant.
With a diagnosis of GAD, you should be able to obtain VA benefits if you are a combat Veteran.
VA Benefits for Anxiety: How Is Eligibility Determined?
Within §4.130 Schedule of Ratings—mental disorders of the VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities, Diagnostic Code 9400 is for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. There are five levels of ratings from 0-100% in 10 percent increments that result in benefits.
A 10% rating requires:
Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or symptoms controlled by continuous medication.
A 50% rating requires:
Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as diminished emotional response; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory; impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships.
A 100% rating requires:
Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought processes or communication; persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name.
Note that ratings require one or more of the symptoms listed – such as “symptoms controlled by continuous medication,” “disturbances of motivation and mood” or “intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living” – not all of them.
The VA rating schedule determines compensation for disabilities such as anxiety. The higher the VA disability rating, the higher the monetary compensation. Factors such as being married or having dependents can also increase the amount of compensation you receive.
Service Connection for a GAD Diagnosis
If you have a diagnosis for GAD, the next issue is whether the disorder was caused by military service. You have to establish a service connection before the VA will determine your level of impairment and assign a disability rating.
It is well understood that traumatic experiences, which are common in military combat, play a role in the development of anxiety disorders. A recent study revealed that GAD exists in 10% of Vietnam Veterans and up to 15% of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. In addition, the study concluded that GAD was as prevalent as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among Veterans being treated in primary care clinics, and the impairment associated with GAD was found to be relatively equal to that of PTSD.
Your service records, medical records and statements from fellow Veterans, friends and family can help establish that your condition began during military service. Service records may identify a specific event during service that caused emotional or psychological injury, perhaps along with physical injury. This could be an event you had not considered, but which a review of your records or interviews with former comrades helps to pinpoint.
As Veterans who help Veterans, the disability appeal attorneys at Berry Law Firm recognize that GAD results in significant impairment to Veterans, including increased problems in the workplace, social alienation, family issues and overall decline in physical health. We also recognize the need for afflicted Veterans to obtain care for GAD and other psychological conditions brought on by service, the return to civilian life or other causes.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that only 23 to 40 percent of the combat Veterans whose responses met the screening criteria for GAD, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder sought mental health care. Further, Veterans in the study reported “important barriers to receiving mental health services, particularly the perception of stigma among those most in need of such care.”
If you have sought VA benefits for anxiety and your claim has been denied, let us review your claim and discuss whether an appeal is in order. If you need to appeal a denied claim or appeal your disability rating, our VA disability attorneys are here to help.
Do I Need an Attorney for Combat-Related General Anxiety Disorder?
A recent study published by the National Institutes of Health identified a strong association between GAD and heart disease, hypertension, and depression. GAD by itself significantly reduces the afflicted individual’s quality of life.
Combat Veterans are three times as likely to have GAD as members of the general public. You should be aware that GAD can be effectively treated in many cases.
We at Berry Law Firm stand ready to help you appeal a denied disability claim and get the resources that you need to treat generalized anxiety disorder. If you have been denied VA disability compensation, we have a track record of helping Veterans successfully navigate the legal complexities of appealing a claim denial or inappropriate disability rating. We represent Veterans nationwide in VA disability appeal cases.
Contact the Berry Law Firm for Help with VA Disability Appeals
The GAD VA disability appeal lawyers at Berry Law Firm are committed to helping Veterans in their fight for the full disability benefits they are entitled to receive.
If your VA disability claim for benefits related to an anxiety disorder was denied, we want to help you. Our team of award-winning attorneys includes Veterans, former VA employees, and military spouses who are dedicated to providing Veterans the legal representation needed to pursue an appeal for all the disability benefits you have earned through your service to our nation.