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Is Alcoholism a Disability?

According to the Social Security Administration, or the SSA, you can’t become disabled just because you are an alcoholic. However, there are numerous people who have a diagnosis of alcoholism who are on disability. This is due to the behavioral and/or physical changes that occurred due to alcoholism that now limit their ability to properly function in some type of work environment. 

With this being said, if you continue drinking and the Social Security Administration believes you could return to work if you quit, you will not be considered disabled. If you want to return to a work environment, but you need help to quit drinking, don’t worry. You can reach out to us here at Southeast Addiction TN Center today. We have helped thousands of people overcome alcoholism, we can help you too.

Qualifications for an Alcoholism Disability

If you have a condition that does meet the qualifications of an alcoholism disability, you may be able to get temporary or long-term disability. We will go over some of the requirements that may be needed below. 

Neurocognitive Issues

Neurocognitive disorders are generally marked by a mental functioning decline in the patient. In most cases, they happen because of brain damage either through degenerative disease or injury of some sort. One example of a neurocognitive disorder caused by alcohol abuse is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. 

In order to have a disability due to neurocognitive disorders you must meet the following requirements:

  • Decrease in coordination
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of judgment
  • Language difficulties
  • Coordination issues
  • Social judgment difficulties 

You must also be able to show where in your life these deficits affect you and how much they are impacting your life, as well. 

Depression Syndromes 

Generally, people who struggle with depression often feel worse when they drink alcohol. On the other hand, people who consume alcohol are much more likely to become depressed or have worsened depression, as well. There are multiple requirements that someone will need to meet for depression in order to be considered disabled. 

If you are struggling with depression and unable to work because of it, one of the first things that you may want to do is to get professional mental health treatment. Here at Southeast Addiction TN Center, we have mental health treatments that can meet your needs. 

Anxiety Conditions

Millions of people around the world struggle with some level and/or form of anxiety. Many people have what is called generalized anxiety disorder, while others have various other conditions. Unfortunately, anxiety can be quite disabling at times, but does that mean you are disabled? Not always. The anxiety must be negatively impacting your life to the point where you can’t work even with treatments. It can be tough to prove, but not impossible in some cases. 

Peripheral Neuropathy 

When there is damage done to one’s peripheral nervous system, that is when this type of neuropathy occurs. The peripheral nervous system is responsible for sending information from a person’s brain through the rest of their body and from the body back to their brain. 

If someone has alcoholism as a disease, it can lead to peripheral neuropathy. Sometimes, alcoholics even have thiamine deficiencies, which could also lead to painful nerve issues in their extremities. If you want to learn more about this condition or whether you might qualify for a disability because of it, hopefully, our research can help.

If you have been abusing alcohol and dealing with neuropathy, you might be able to reverse some of the damage that has been done. You can start improving your health and your life by contacting Southeast Addiction TN today. 

Liver Issues 

Did you know that the majority of liver damage cases throughout the United States are caused by alcoholism? In addition, the number one reason why people apply for disability due to liver damage is due to alcohol abuse issues. If you or someone you know is struggling with liver issues, due to alcoholism or not, you might qualify for disability. If you were abusing alcohol and want to better your life now, our addiction treatment center staff is ready to help you today. 


Alcohol is very damaging to the pancreas. When someone abuses alcohol long-term, they are much more likely to end up with a disability due to pancreatitis. Unfortunately, after so much damage, things can’t get better. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t slow down the progression of the damage that is already done. You can do this by getting yourself sober and into recovery. The Southeast Addiction TN team wants to help you do that starting right away.


Did you know that alcoholism can cause seizures? If you or someone you know are a heavy drinker and that has caused you to have seizures or seizure-like episodes which don’t seem to get better by not drinking, you may qualify for a disability under the Social Security Administration.

Your RFC (Residual Functional Capacity)

If you struggle with physical and/or mental health impairments due to alcoholism, you may qualify for a disability through the Social Security Administration. If you apply, the SSA is going to look at your RFC (residual functional capacity) to determine whether you could still be working or not. 

The Social Security Administration is going to take into consideration many things including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The severity of your mental and/or physical health issues
  • Whether there are jobs you can still perform
  • How much work you would be able to complete if you did keep a job
  • What tasks you can or cannot do from this point onward
  • Are you still able to do the work you did prior to your alcoholism?
  • Could you work if you stopped drinking ?

In some cases, the SSA makes people stop drinking for a set amount of days to see if their condition improves before they will proceed with a disability claim. 

Get Help for Alcoholism Today

Unfortunately, alcoholism can be disabling in many ways, even if you don’t qualify for Social Security Administration disability. The most important thing is that you get the help you need to stop drinking. Contact us here, at Southeast Addiction TN, and we will help you overcome an addiction to alcohol or other substances and help you get your health back in order, too. 

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