A normal reaction to threatening, stressful, or frightening events is an increased feeling of anxiety. However, when this feeling is persistent and present in everyday life, or is experienced in response to normal, non-threatening events, it can prevent you from living fully and could even become disabling. Over one million Canadians have been diagnosed with a mental illness, and for every ten cases, one of these is a type of anxiety disorder. To help us through these difficult times in our lives, the Canadian government offers the Disability Tax Credit for Anxiety Disorders.
Anxiety Disorders and Symptoms:
Anxiety disorders can affect any person of any age, ethnicity, or social class, and if symptoms become disabling, many can seek financial support for treatment through the Canadian disability tax credit. There are six main categories of disorders categorized by type and severity of symptoms:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder—Extreme reactions of anxiety to everyday situations, excessive worrying, unable to control anxious feelings, racing pulse, insomnia, combined with fatigue, irritability, and difficulty making decisions.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder—Repeated focus (or obsession) on thoughts or ideas that often make no sense and can interfere with day-to-day activities including thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, replaying of images or scenarios within the mind, hair pulling, skin picking, or other body issues, persistent doubt and worry about the order or disorder of things.
- Social Anxiety Disorder—Extreme anxiety regarding social situations, excessive self-consciousness, intense reactions to engaging socially, such as shortness of breath, nausea, shaking, or even fainting.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—Anxiety after a traumatic event such as a car accident, assault, or time spent in combat. Symptoms include flashbacks, upsetting dreams, irritability, engaging in self-destructive behaviours to avoid thinking of the event, and hallucinations
- Panic Disorder—Strikes without warning or trigger and will often cause panic attacks. Sensations of panic attacks include pounding head, chest pain, dizziness, a sensation of being smothered, nausea, and/or fear of death.
- Specific Phobias—Intense fear or anxiety regarding a specific trigger will often accompany the other disorders listed above. Common phobias include fear of spiders or heights, but can range to fear of the sun, fear of automobiles, fear of large crowds or unfamiliar areas, and claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces).
Each type of anxiety disorder can interact with one another, or multiple anxiety disorders can co-exist within one person. As symptoms progress, the condition can become disabling; those needing treatment might wish to apply for the Disability Tax Credit offered in Canada. There are general disability credits as well as a child disability tax credit for youth or children who are suffering from a disabling anxiety disorder.
Disability Tax Credit for Anxiety Disorders and Other Support
There are a variety of treatment options available for suffers of anxiety. Many are prescribed by a psychiatrist, who can provide both therapy and medicinal treatment. Treatments can include:
- Prescription antidepressants, SSRI’s or other pharmaceuticals to help decrease or eliminate symptoms
- Psychotherapy or Behaviour Therapy practices
- Physical activity, including yoga or meditation exercises
Alternative methods of treatment such as Yoga or acupuncture can be sought out individually, but medication and psychotherapy treatments must be done by a professional psychiatrist or psychologist. Treatments can complement each other and your doctor can discuss the best ones for you, and your physician can assist you with applications or certification for disability so that you can apply for the disability tax credit.
In addition to physician assistance, there is a variety of support groups available for anxiety disorder sufferers:
- Psychiatry Referral Services, including ATAQ in Quebec, ADAQ in Ontario, ADAM in Manitoba and ADABC in British Columbia
- The Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments
- Canadian Mental Health Association
- Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada (ADAC)
Your local social services office should also be able to assist in finding treatment, and can apply information about applying for a disability tax credit should your disorder interfere with work and everyday life. Don’t hide away and let your disorder consume your life, seek out treatment with a physician today and for financial assistance apply for the Disability Tax Credit for Anxiety Disorder. If you have a child suffering from Anxiety Disorders, read our guide to find more information on Disability Tax Credit for Children with Anxiety Disorders. Read more.