What is an invisible illness?

May 16, 2019

Looks can be deceiving. Take a moment to understand what is on the inside

  • An invisible illness is a certain kind of disability that is not immediately apparent to others.

  • Invisible illnesses can have symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, brain injuries, learning differences, mental health disorders, hearing and vision impairments and other symptoms that limit daily activities that are not obvious to others

  • Not everyone with chronic condition has the same symptoms or degree of symptoms

  • The disability creates challenges for the person who has it, but the disability can be hard for others to acknowledge or recognize

  • The fact that symptoms are invisible creates misunderstandings, judgments, and false perceptions

  • The invisibility of most chronic conditions makes it even more difficult to convince others that you really are in pain

  • People with certain invisible disabilities are accused of faking or making up their disabilities since it is not obvious to the onlooker



The 1994-1995 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) found that 26 million Americans (almost 1 in 10) have a severe disability, while only 1.8 million used a wheelchair and 5.2 million used a cane, crutches or walker (Americans with Disabilities 94-95). In other words, 74% of Americans who live with a severe disability do not use such devices. Therefore, a disability cannot be determined solely by whether or not a person uses assistive equipment.





​List of SOME Invisible Disabilities

  • ADHD

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Allergies

  • Arachnoiditis

  • Asperger Syndrome

  • Asthma

  • Autism

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Brain injuries

  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Chronic pain

  • Circadian rhythm sleep disorders

  • Coeliac Disease

  • Crohn's disease

  • Cystic Fibrosis

  • Depression

  • Diabetes

  • Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

  • Endometreosis

  •  Epilepsy

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder(FASD)

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Food allergies

  • Fructose malabsorption

  • Hereditary Fructose Intolerance

  • Hyperhidrosis

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Interstitial cystitis

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Lactose Intolerance

  • Lupus

  • Lyme Disease

  • Major depression

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Migraines

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)

  • Myasthenia Gravis

  • Narcolepsy

  • Personality disorders

  • Primary immunodeficiency

  • Psychiatric disabilities

  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

  • Repetitive stress injuries

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Schnitzler's Syndrome

  • Schizophrenia

  • Scleroderma

  • Sjögren's Syndrome

  • Trigeminal Neuralgia

  • Spinal Disorders

  • Temporomandibular joint disorder

  • Transverse Myelitis

  • Ulcerative Colitis



With Love,






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