Adjustment disorder are stress-related conditions. You experience more stress than would normally be expected in response to a stressful or unexpected event, and the stress causes significant problems in your relationships, at work or at school.
Work problems, going away to school, an illness, death of a close family member or any number of life changes can cause stress. Most of the time, people adjust to such changes within a few months. But if you have an adjustment disorder, you continue to have emotional or behavioral reactions that can contribute to feeling anxious or depressed.
You don’t have to tough it out on your own, though. Treatment can be brief and it’s likely to help you regain your emotional footing.
Signs and symptoms depend on the type of adjustment disorder and can vary from person to person. You experience more stress than would normally be expected in response to a stressful event, and the stress causes significant problems in your life.
Adjustment disorders affect how you feel and think about yourself and the world and may also affect your actions or behavior. Some examples include:
- Feeling sad, hopeless or not enjoying things you used to enjoy
- Frequent crying
- Worrying or feeling anxious, nervous, jittery or stressed out
- Trouble sleeping
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Difficulty functioning in daily activities
- Withdrawing from social supports
- Avoiding important things such as going to work or paying bills
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Symptoms of an adjustment disorder start within three months of a stressful event and last no longer than 6 months after the end of the stressful event. However, persistent or chronic adjustment disorders can continue for more than 6 months, especially if the stressor is ongoing, such as unemployment.
Many different events may trigger symptoms of an adjustment disorder. Whatever the trigger is, the event may become too much for you.
Stressors for people of any age include:
- Death of a loved one
- Divorce or problems with a relationship
- General life changes
- Illness or other health issues in yourself or a loved one
- Moving to a different home or a different city
- Unexpected catastrophes
- Worries about money
Triggers of stress in teenagers and young adults may include:
- Family problems or conflict
- School problems
- Sexuality issues
There is no way to predict which people who are affected by the same stress are likely to develop adjustment disorder. Your social skills before the event and how you have learned to deal with stress in the past may play roles.
Your health care provider will do a mental health assessment to find out about your behavior and symptoms. You may be referred to a psychiatrist to confirm the diagnosis.
The main goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and help you return to a similar level of functioning as before the stressful event occurred.
Most mental health professionals recommend some type of talk therapy. This type of therapy can help you identify or change your responses to the stressors in your life.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy. It can help you deal with your feelings:
- First the therapist helps you recognize the negative feelings and thoughts that occur.
- Then the therapist teaches you how to change these into helpful thoughts and healthy actions.
Other types of therapy may include:
- Long-term therapy, where you will explore your thoughts and feelings over many months or more
- Family therapy, where you will meet with a therapist along with your family
- Self-help groups, where the support of others may help you get better
Medicines may be used, but only along with talk therapy. These medicines may help if you are:
- Nervous or anxious most of the time
- Not sleeping very well
- Very sad or depressed
There are no guaranteed ways to prevent adjustment disorders. But developing healthy coping skills and learning to be resilient may help you during times of high stress.
If you know that a stressful situation is coming up — such as a move or retirement — call on your inner strength, increase your healthy habits and rally your social supports in advance. Remind yourself that this is usually time-limited and that you can get through it. Also consider checking in with your doctor or mental health professional to review healthy ways to manage your stress.
Some Questions which are asked generally
Usually stressors are temporary, and we learn to cope with them over time. Symptoms of adjustment disorder get better because the stress has eased. But sometimes the stressful event remains a part of your life. Or a new stressful situation comes up, and you face the same emotional struggles all over again.Talk to your doctor if you continue to struggle or if you’re having trouble getting through each day. You can get treatment to help you cope better with stressful events and feel better about life again.If you have concerns about your child’s adjustment or behavior, talk with your child’s pediatrician.
Q2.Suicidal thoughts or behavior
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