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It seems like 30 years ago it was a rare thing indeed to hear of someone who was on medication for depression. Of course back then people really didn’t talk about our problems very openly and the treatment options were generally restricted to visiting a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist.

Now conditions such as depression and anxiety are common and the medications are more commonly known than most medications for hypertension and cholesterol. I doubt if many of us don’t know someone who is taking Prozac, Zoloft or Paxil for depression, or Xanax or Buspar for anxiety.

The truth is that anxiety and depression have probably always been around and are now more openly discussed and fortunately more quickly diagnosed and treated. With today’s medications most people with anxiety disorders or people suffering from depression can live normal lives.

How do life insurance companies view the conditions and medications. You probably know by now that I always start with the basic thing an underwriter looks for first. Compliance and control!!! Are you following the doctors orders and do you have control? In this case control would be defined as being able to carry on everyday activities without impairment.

With depression there is an underwriting difference between situational depression and chronic depression. For instance, if someone close to you dies, depression is a normal response and would be considered situational. Generally treatment doesn’t last for years as a person adjusts to or accepts the reality of the loss or whatever the situation was. Chronic depression may or may not be brought on by a particular situation, but is often continually treated for years, if not for the rest of a person’s life.

From an underwriting standpoint, a situational depression may receive more favorable underwriting, but both types of depression can be underwritten at better than standard rates, often preferred rates, as long as compliance and control are present.

Anxiety disorders plague our society and personally I understand why. I live in a small town and when I am forced to go to the “big city”, I become very anxious. I don’t like being there. I don’t like driving there. I am really anxious about, well, about leaving as soon as possible. It is a busy, frantic world we live in. Thank God for small towns!

Again, anxiety disorders are looked at the same. With the medication can a person function well? Are they compliant and is their condition under control? Better than standard and even preferred rates are attainable if you use the right insurance agent.

Other things underwriters, and your independent life insurance agent, will want to know are: Have you been hospitalized for your condition? Have you had lost time from work due to your condition? Have you ever tried to commit suicide? Are you also seeking professional counseling? Be prepared to discuss all of this information openly and honestly with your agent.

This post is somewhat dated. Life insurance underwriting is changing and evolving continually. For more updated information check out some of the key word links. If you have a specific question or topic you need information for do a search. If you don’t find the answers you need contact me and we’ll make sure you get the information that is important to you.