Disability & Life Insurance and ERISA Attorneys
Doing What’s Right For Greater Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region
Disability & Life Insurance and ERISA Attorneys
Doing What’s Right For Greater Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region


Anxiety disorders frequently involve intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).

These feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, are out of proportion to the actual danger and can last a long time. Common anxiety signs and symptoms include; feeling nervous, restless or tense, Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom, Having an increased heart rate, Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation), Sweating, Trembling, Feeling weak or tired, Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry, Having trouble sleeping, Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems, Having difficulty controlling worry, Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety .

The causes of anxiety disorders aren’t fully understood. Life experiences such as traumatic events appear to trigger anxiety disorders in people who are already prone to anxiety. Inherited traits also can be a factor.

Anxiety Disorders, Mayo Clinic (May 4, 2018), https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental condition sometimes referred to as manic-depressive disorder because it is associated with mood swings that range from depression to mania. Depression is characterized by feeling sad or hopeless and mania usually consists of feelings of euphoria or increased energy. Mood shifts may occur only a few times a year, or as often as several times a day. Bipolar disorder is divided into several subtypes:

i.        Bipolar I:

Mixed episodes or manic episodes that require hospitalization or last for a few weeks. Depressive episodes are also often problematic for patients; these typically last for a minimum of two weeks

ii.        Bipolar II:

Defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes that are seen in Bipolar I.

iii.        Cyclothymic disorder (Cyclothymia):

defined by numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms as well as numerous periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years. However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode.

Bipolar Disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml

Major Clinical Depression

Major clinical depression is marked by a depressed mood most of the day, particularly in the morning, and a loss of interest in normal activities and relationships — symptoms that are present every day for at least 2 weeks. Other symptoms might include: fatigue or loss of energy almost every day, feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day, impaired concentration, indecisiveness, insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day, markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day (called anhedonia, this symptom can be indicated by reports from significant others), restlessness or feeling slowed down, recurring thoughts of death or suicide or significant weight loss or gain.

Major Depression (Clinical Depression), WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/major-depression#1

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities.  Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally.  Some people may experience only a single episode within their lifetime, but more often a person may have multiple episodes. Depressive illnesses are disorders of the brain. The parts of the brain involved in mood, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior appear different. Some types of depression tend to run in families. However, depression can occur in people without family histories of depression too.

Signs and symptoms include: persistent sad, anxious, or empty feelings; feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness; irritability, restlessness; loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable; fatigue and decreased energy; difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions; insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping; overeating, or appetite loss; thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts; aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.

Depression (Major Depressive Disorder), Mayo Clinic (Feb. 3, 2018), https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007

Neurocognitive Disorder

Neurocognitive disorder is a mental health condition that sometimes arises in the long-term aftermath of a physical injury that results in brain damage. The American Psychiatric Association (the “APA”) classifies this condition along with other types of neurocognitive disorders in the reference text for mental health professionals called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the “DSM”). Some people affected by neurocognitive disorder due to traumatic brain injury experience symptoms that are severe enough to degrade their ability to lead independent lives, while others experience milder symptoms and retain most of their day-to-day mental function.

Understanding Neurocognitive Disorder Due to Traumatic Brain Injury. Elements Behavioral Health. https://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/mental-health/understanding-neurocognitive-disorder-due-to-traumatic-brain-injury/

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event – either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping. Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks. PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Mayo Clinic (Oct. 25, 2017), https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20355967

Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures (PNES)

Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), or pseudoseizures, are episodes that resemble and are often misdiagnosed as epileptic seizures, however, PNES are psychological in origin. PNES is often stress related or “emotional”. A PNES will look like an epileptic seizure including the temporary loss of control, often with abnormal movements, unconsciousness, or both.

Benbadis, Selim R., MD & Heriaud, Leanne, RN. Psychogenic (Non-Epileptic) Seizures. College of Medicine. http://hsc.usf.edu/COM/epilepsy/PNESbrochure.pdf

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