Adjustment Disorder: Symptoms and Causes

Adjustment Disorder: Symptoms and Causes

| |  Psychotherapy

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Adjustment disorder is a stress-related condition. You experience more stress than you usually expect in response to a stressful or unexpected event, and stress causes serious problems in your relationship, work, or school.

Even positive events can cause social adjustment disorder if they represent significant changes. Examples of life events or changes that can cause social adjustment disorder:

  • moving
  • divorce or separation
  • loss of a loved one
  • the birth of a child or sibling
  • serious illness or serious injury
  • transition to a new school
  • retirement
  • financial difficulties
  • job loss
  • natural disaster or traumatic event
  • difficulties in relationships
  • family conflicts

In most cases, people adapt to these changes over a period of several months. But if there is an adjustment disorder, people have emotional or behavioral responses that can trigger feelings of anxiety or depression.

Clinical manifestations

The symptoms of adjustment disorder begin within 3 months after the stressful event and last no more than 6 months after the stressful event ends. However, persistent or chronic adjustment disorders can last for more than 6 months, especially if the source of stress persists.

The presence of a problem is indicated, first of all, when a person experiences difficulties in social and other spheres of life. Among the characteristic manifestations are:

  • feelings of sadness, hopelessness;
  • frequent crying;
  • restless and anxious state, nervousness;
  • sleep problems;
  • lack of appetite;
  • difficulty concentrating;
  • difficulty functioning in daily activities;
  • painful and uncomfortable sensations in the chest area;
  • lack of strength to solve urgent problems, plan the future, achieve important goals;
  • suicidal thoughts or behavior.

Diagnostics and treatment

Diagnosis of adjustment disorders is based on identifying major life stressors, symptoms and how they affect the ability to function. The doctor will ask about your medical, mental health, and social history.

In the process of diagnosis, the treating specialist studies the nature of the impact of stressors and draws conclusions regarding the intensity of their severity.

Additionally, examinations are prescribed to confirm or deny the presence of such problems as: post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, etc. To clarify the diagnosis, the patient may be referred to a psychiatrist consultation.

In the process of diagnosis, the treating specialist studies the nature of the impact of stressors and draws conclusions regarding the intensity of their severity.

Additionally, examinations are prescribed to confirm or deny the presence of such problems as: post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, etc. To clarify the diagnosis, the patient may be referred to a psychiatrist consultation.

Treatment for adjustment disorder includes:

Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is the main treatment for adjustment disorder. It can be provided as individual, group or family therapy. Therapy can:
Provide emotional support.
Help return to normal life.
Help understand why the stressful event is so influential.
Help learn how to deal with stressful events.

Psychotherapy - is the main treatment for adjustment disorder. It can be provided as individual, group or family therapy. Therapy can provide emotional support, help understand why the stressful event is so influential, help learn how to deal with stressful events, help return to normal life.

Medical treatment. Usually used in combination with psychotherapy methods to alleviate common characteristic symptoms. The patient may be recommended drugs that have a sedative and antidepressant effect. Medicines are used to relieve associated symptoms.

Prevention

There are no guaranteed ways to prevent adjustment disorders. But developing healthy coping skills and learning resilience can help during times of high stress.

If you know a stressful situation is coming - such as a move or retirement - call on your inner strength, reinforce healthy habits, and gather social support ahead of time. Remind yourself that this is usually a short-lived state and that you can get through it. Also consider consulting with a doctor or mental health professional to consider all the ways to manage stress.

 

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