The challenges of proving what cannot be seen

Suffering from a mental or physical condition that is not well understood in the medical community or easily diagnosed can be enormously stressful and upsetting for any person. It can be all but impossible to get effective treatment and the help necessary to cope with an injury or illness.

Sadly, this is a situation that too many people across Tennessee have to deal with. Despite medical advancements, there are certain conditions that can only be diagnosed by ruling other conditions out and listening to patients describe their symptoms, rather than conducting a medical test. Further, illnesses known as “invisible” disabilities are proving to be even more challenging for patients because their condition cannot be seen.

It is hard enough for people to deal with disabilities that cannot be seen. People don’t understand that sufferers may be limited, in pain or battling mental issues that make it difficult to cope in everyday situations. But when a condition also cannot be explained with a firm diagnosis by a doctor, the situation can be even more complicated.

In addition to the medical challenges these illnesses can present, there can also be financial challenges. Seeing doctors and getting medication can be expensive. When a person is unable to work because of their condition, there can be considerable monetary concerns, and people often struggle to figure out how they will take care of themselves and their families. However, in many cases, people who can prove that they suffer from a disabling condition are able to pursue disability benefits to help cover certain expenses.

When physical or mental conditions cannot be seen and don’t have a clear diagnosis and course of treatment, getting help can be very frustrating. However, advancements continue to be made in the medical community, and people can also be eligible to collect Social Security disability benefits in some cases. Working with medical and legal professionals can be enormously helpful to people who are disabled.

Source: North County Public Radio, “People With ‘Invisible Disabilities’ Fight For Understanding,” Naomi Gingold, March 8, 2015