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When do mental disorders manifest? 

In some cases, people are born with mental disorders and conditions that they will have for their entire lives. This could just be due to genetics or, in cases like cerebral palsy, due to mistakes made during birth. 

In many cases, though, these disorders manifest or appear later in life. This is known as the “age of onset” for that condition. In short, it may mean that someone who has felt healthy and mentally stable for their entire life thus far may still develop a disorder that requires medication or other treatment options. In some cases, these disorders may make it impossible for them to work, even if they have been a productive part of the workforce in the past. 

The age of onset depends on many factors, not least of which is the specific mental disorder in question, and no two cases are exactly the same. Here are a few key observations from scientific researchers:

  • Approximately 50% of mental disorders that will last for life get their start by the time the person is in their mid-teens. This is why the person will at least begin to see symptoms, even if they are not yet severe. 
  • By the mid-20s, that number has increased to about 75%. Most people will have some symptoms or some indication that something is wrong, even if they have not yet sought treatment. 
  • With onsets that are later than the mid-20s, secondary conditions are most common. In fact, someone could have had a primary condition that they didn’t fully understand or realize when they were young, but a secondary condition in their 30s or 40s could prove life-changing. Researchers note that these less severe primary disorders often do not get any medical attention, while the “severe” disorders that come after them draw more attention. 

Those with these conditions need to know both what treatment options they have and what legal steps they can take to seek benefits. If you’ve filed for Social Security Disability and your claim was denied, find out more about how an attorney can help.

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