Invisible disabilities can be a bit more complicated than other types of disabilities. This term doesn’t refer to just one category of disabilities, but an entire spectrum of various conditions that are not always apparent when someone meets a person who has that condition.
This is very different than many physical disabilities, which are clear because of the way that they impact a person’s life. If someone is paralyzed from the waist down and has to use a wheelchair, the exact reason for that disability may not be clear, but anyone who meets them understands that they are facing some level of physical limitation. People with invisible disabilities, however, often have to deal with the fact that others around them do not understand what they’re going through.
Why do these disabilities happen?
There is such a wide variety of disabilities that are included under this umbrella that it’s difficult to determine exactly why they all happen. But they can include things like:
- Chronic pain
- Sleep disorders
- Visual impairments
- Auditory impairments
- Fibromyalgia and other sources of musculoskeletal pain
- Mental illness
Many invisible disabilities also will not have the same effect on a person for 100% of their life. For example, someone could be suffering from PTSD after being involved in a car accident or serving in combat. At times, they could have flashbacks or nightmares, along with severe anxiety attacks that mean they cannot work or carry out daily functions. At other times, however, they may be able to function perfectly, and the PTSD will not be obvious to anyone who meets them. Once again, this can be a bit more difficult for outsiders to understand, because they are used to disabilities – such as paralysis – that always have the same effect.
Regardless, invisible disabilities are fairly common and it is very important for those who are dealing with them to know what legal steps they can take if they need to seek Social Security Disability benefits.