Eating Disorders And The Americans With Disabilities Act
The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act .
Eating Disorders In The Usa
Most people are not aware of how complicated eating disorders are. Technically, they are rooted in psychological conditions with symptoms related to over- or undereating. Common eating disorders include:
- Anorexia nervosa
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders:
- At least 30 million people have eating disorders
- Theres a high mortality rate for people with eating disorders
- Eating disorders affect all races, ages, and ethnic groups
But are eating disorders disabilities for the purposes of receiving disability benefits?
What’s It Like To Have An Eating Problem
If you have an eating problem, there are many ways that it can affect how you feel or behave. The way you eat, and how you think about food, may be one of the most noticeable effects.
Warning: the video and the examples below may be upsetting and potentially triggering. If you are feeling vulnerable at the moment, you might want to move on to the next section.
Watch Shaista, Dave, Lilith and Olivia talk about their eating problems. They discuss their experiences of eating disorders such as anorexia, restrictive eating, bingeing and purging. This video is seven minutes and 16 seconds long.
- restrict the amount of food you eat
- eat more than you need, or feel out of control when you eat
- eat regularly in secret or have a fear of eating in public
- feel very anxious about eating or digesting food
- eat in response to difficult emotions without feeling physically hungry
- stick to a rigid set of diet rules or certain foods
- feel anxious and upset if you have to eat something else
- do things to get rid of what you eat, sometimes known as purging
- feel disgusted at the idea of eating certain foods
- eat things that aren’t really food, such as dirt, soap or paint
- feel scared of certain types of food
- think about food and eating a lot, even all the time
- compare your body to other people’s and think a lot about its shape or size
- check, test and weigh your body very often
- base your self-worth on your weight, or whether you pass your checks and tests.
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If I Could Offer Advice To Anyone In A Similar Situation To Myself Indeed To Anyone Who May Be Struggling It Would Be This:
- Dont be afraid to ask for help.
- If you reach out for support and its not forthcoming, dont be afraid to ask again. And again.
- Stand up for yourself, for your needs, your rights and your own recovery. Being proactive and self-supportive is one of the bravest and most powerful things you can do.
- Make lists. Write down what you struggle with, and all of the things you need to make your life better and easier, in terms of eating disorder recovery. This will be invaluable, not only for yourself, but for anyone else involved in your care.
- Remember that no matter how dark and hopeless it may feel at times, you are never alone. There is always, always hope.
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As a disability justice activist, I am a strong advocate for the social model of disability.
The social model of disability posits that disability does not only result from a biological condition but also from the social and environmental exclusion and barriers to access that people with that condition experience. Advocates of the social model believe that disabled people should not only be provided with medical treatment but also with accommodations to make their environment more inclusive and accessible.
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Talk To A Disability Lawyer
Need a lawyer? Start here.
Va Compensation For Eating Disorders Everything You Need To Know
If you are a military veteran who developed an eating disorder during or after your service, you could be eligible to receive VA disability. Eating disorder veterans benefits include monthly compensation, and more. A VA disability lawyer can help you collect supporting documents and submit a strong benefit appeal to the VA.
To get VA disability legal help, call .
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For me, applying the social model of disability to my eating disorder has meant not only participating in therapy, dietary counselling, and support groups, but also being active in advocating for social change and a society that respects and honours all bodies.
I now work to respond to disordered eating thoughts and body dissatisfaction by sharing anti-diet content on social media, supporting policies that advance size equality and weight stigma education, signing petitions to cancel fatphobic media, and writing blog posts or giving presentations on the devastating effects of diet culture and sizeism.
One Size Does Not Fit All
In my experience to date, both inpatient and outpatient eating disorder treatment are based on a one-size-fits-all model. I understand in many ways, this may have to be the case. . But I also know how beneficial a more holistic, person-centered approach can be. Especially in the sense of long term, long-lasting recovery.
Even though I gave details about my disability before my admission, the treatment I received felt on the whole quite generic. Some adjustments and provisions were made here and there, after multiple requests.
Overall, I was left feeling as though I was a problem that no one knew how to solve. And in terms of a persons well being and recovery, thats a pretty uncomfortable position to be in.
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Seek Treatment For Eating Disorders
If you have anorexia or bulimia, the same advice applies. The most important thing you can do for yourself is seek treatment. You will need a record of any hospitalization. You will also need record of any visit to your doctor. Also, get the records if you have treatment from a clinic or in-patient stay. The SSA will ask you to provide the names and addresses of your treating providers. Additionally, you will need to provide a list of your medications. It is possible that your eating disorder is a life-long problem. Therefore, it is smart to start collecting your medical information now. Because you will want to submit all of it to the SSA.
It is also important for you to understand how the SSA will evaluate your disability. They will use the listed impairments. The listed impairments is a list of the impairments that the SSA considers to be disabling. Most physical and mental impairments are part of the SSAs listings. Below please find the criteria for eating disorders that the SSA considers.
Service Connection For Eating Disorders
To establish direct service connection for an eating disorder, veterans must demonstrate the following three elements: a current diagnosis of an eating disorder an in-service event, injury, or illness and a medical nexus linking the current, diagnosed eating disorder to the in-service event. Veterans are able to submit service medical records, service personnel records, lay statements, and other forms of evidence to support their claims.
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Meeting The Listing For Eating Disorders
Social Security created a new disability listing for eating disorders in 2017, listing 12.13. To satisfy the eating disorder listing,Social Security doctors will first decide whether an applicant has an eatingdisorder that significantly impairs the applicant’s physical or mental health. Afterthat is done, a judgment is then made about the person’s ability to function.The applicant must show significantdeficits in current functioning, manifested by either an extreme limitation inone of the following areas of mental functioning or a “marked” limitation in two of the following areas:
- understanding, remembering, or using information
- interacting with others
- concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pacein performing tasks , and/or
- adapting or managing onself .
Note that “marked” is worse than moderateâyou canthink of it as seriously limiting. Extreme is less severe than a complete lossof an ability, but worse than marked. Marked and extreme are matters ofprofessional judgment used by a SSA psychiatrist or psychologist when reviewingthe medical evidence.
Eating Problems And Other Mental Health Problems
Many people with eating problems also have other mental health problems. Some common experiences include:
- phobias of certain foods
- issues with self-esteem and body image
- forms of self-harmâ you may see your eating problem as a form of self-harm, or may hurt yourself in other ways too
- body dysmorphic disorder, which is an anxiety disorder linked to body image.
Food is one of many mediums through which anxiety, depression or obsessive-compulsive behaviours can be expressed.
“My eating disorder has always gone hand in hand with depression and anxiety in such a way that they haven’t felt like distinct, discrete illnesses but like one issue.”
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How Can I Help A Loved One
Supporting a loved one who experiences an eating disorder can be very challenging. Many people feel upset or even frightened by their loved ones beliefs, behaviours, or state of well-being. An approach that focuses on support and understanding rather than control is best. Here are some tips to help you support a loved one:
- Remember that eating disorders are a sign of much bigger problems. Avoid focusing on food or eating habits alone.
- Be mindful of your own attitudes and behaviours around food and body image.
- Never force someone to change their eating habits or trick someone into changing.
- Avoid reacting to a loved ones body image talk or trying to reason with statements that seem unrealistic to you.
- If your loved one is an adult, remember that supporting help-seeking is a balance between your own concerns and their right to privacy.
- If your loved ones experiences are affecting other family members, family counselling may be helpful
- Dont be afraid to set boundaries and seek support for yourself.
Eating Disorders And Ptsd: Secondary Service Connection
A VA-funded study that looked at female veterans of war trauma stated that depression and post-traumatic stress disorder can trigger disordered eating. The onset of PTSD symptoms can induce negative thinking and cause individuals to engage in disordered eating in an effort to manage the PTSD symptoms. Purging can be seen as a way to get rid of unwanted feelings and thoughts while binging can be used as a way to fill a void within oneself. While veterans may experience both PTSD and an eating disorder, they are not always at the same level of severity at the same time. Instead, veterans may experience ebbs and flows in relation to symptomology and severity.
Importantly, if veterans are service-connected for PTSD and are later diagnosed with an eating disorder, they may qualify for secondary service connection. A secondary service-connected condition is one that is caused or aggravated by a primary service-connected condition. Veterans must demonstrate that their secondary condition is related to their already service-connected condition in order to receive VA disability benefits.
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Problems Caused By Anorexia Nervosa
Those who suffer from anorexia nervosa, with or withoutother eating disorders, can often be easily identified by their major weightloss and low body weight. There arenumerous possible complications from anorexia nervosa, which explains the highmortality.
Complications may include:
Diagnosis Of An Eating Disorder
The first step towards getting help for an eating disorder is usually to visit the GP. We have a leaflet that can help you with this appointment. If you’re not registered with a GP, you can learn more about how to do this in:
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence , which gives evidence-based guidelines about how to treat different illnesses, recommends that if the GP thinks someone may have an eating disorder, they should immediately refer them to an eating disorder specialist for further assessment or treatment.
Diagnosis is made by taking a history, which means talking to the person about their feelings and behaviour. It may also involve some physical tests, such as checking their height and weight, and blood tests. Diagnosis is usually essential to be able to access treatment. Each type of eating disorder has a list of criteria that doctors and healthcare professionals use to diagnose an eating disorder. You can read more about what might happen at a doctors appointment here, and what treatment involves here.
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International Classification Of Diseases
BED was first included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1994 simply as a feature of eating disorder. In 2013 it gained formal recognition as a psychiatric condition in the DSM-5.
The 2017 update to the American version of the includes BED under F50.81. may contain a dedicated entry , defining BED as frequent, recurrent episodes of binge eating which are not regularly followed by inappropriate compensatory behaviors aimed at preventing weight gain.
Eating Disorders And Disability Insurance Benefits
Posted on September 12, 2016
Eating Disorders are unfortunately more common in our society. This can often result in interference with the ability work due a number of factors. These factors may include extreme weight loss, irrational fear of gaining weight and potential fatigue, and sleep disturbance. These factors can result in reduced concentration that comes with these symptoms.
Where symptoms are so severe that you are unable to continue working, you may face difficulty in obtaining your disability insurance benefits. People suffering with eating disorders may not want to admit to themselves or others that they have a problem that needs medical attention. It may also require them to take time off work in order to focus on the needed treatment in order to be able to learn how to cope with the eating disorder.
Submitting A Claim
Submitting a disability claim to an insurance company, only to have it rejected on the basis that they dont accept the medical information provided, or the severity of the symptoms, only adds further stress to a difficult situation. You may face an insurer that is unsympathetic to what youre going through. This only adds to the probable guilt that you may be experiencing over a disease that everyone seems to think is merely a case of mind over matter.
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Diagnostic And Statistical Manual
Previously considered a topic for further research exploration, binge eating disorder was included in the in 2013. Until 2013, binge eating disorder was categorized as an , an umbrella category for eating disorders that don’t fall under the categories for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Because it was not a recognized psychiatric disorder in the until 2013, it has been difficult to obtain insurance reimbursement for treatments. The disorder now has its own category under DSM-5, which outlines the signs and symptoms that must be present to classify a person’s behavior as binge eating disorder. Studies have confirmed the high predictive value of these criteria for diagnosing BED.
According to the World Health Organization’s ICD-11 classification of BED, the severity of the disorder can be classified as mild , moderate , severe and extreme .
One study claims that the method for diagnosing BED is for a clinician to conduct a structured interview using the DSM-5 criteria or taking the Eating Disorder Examination. The Structured Clinical Interview takes no more than 75 minutes to complete and has a systematic approach which follows the DSM-5 criteria. The Eating Disorder Examination is a semi-structured interview which identifies the frequency of binges and associated eating disorder features.