Adjustment Disorder

An adjustment disorder can occur at any time during a person’s life. A person with adjustment disorder often experiences feelings of depression or anxiety or combined depression and anxiety.

There is no difference in the frequency of this disorder between males and females. Symptoms of adjustment disorder typically begin within three months of the identifiable stressor and usually do not last longer than six months. Adults often develop adjustment disorder related to marital or financial problems. Adjustment disorders are quite common in children and adolescents.

They occur equally in males and females. While adjustment disorders occur in all cultures, the stressors and the signs may vary based on cultural influences. Adolescent symptoms of adjustment disorders are more behavioral such as acting out, while adults experience more depressive symptoms. Adjustment disorders are associated with higher risk of suicide and suicidal behavior; abuse of substances; prolonging of other medical disorders or interference with their treatment.

Adults usually develop adjustment disorders related to stressors such as marital discord, finances, or work. An adjustment disorder usually begins within three months of a stressful event, and ends within six months after the stressor stops. Adjustment disorders are very common and can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, or lifestyle.

The symptoms of adjustment disorders may resemble other medical problems or psychiatric conditions. Symptoms of an adjustment disorder may be emotional or behavioral or a combination of both.

The primary goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms and assist with achieving a level of adaptation that is comparable to the affected person’s level of functioning before the stressful event. Most mental health professionals recommend a form of psychosocial treatment for this disorder.

Causes of Adjustment disorder

The common causes of Adjustment disorder:

  • A history of mental health problems.
  • The end of a marriage or other significant relationship.
  • Job loss.
  • Financial or legal problems.
  • Recent changes, difficulties or losses at work or in your family life.
  • Prior exposure to war without having developed post-traumatic stress disorder.

Symptoms of Adjustment disorder

Some sign and symptom related to Adjustment disorder are as follows:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless.
  • Depression.
  • Physical complaints.
  • Depressed mood.
  • Palpitations.
  • Anxiety, stress, and tension.

Treatment of Adjustment disorder

  • The primary treatment for adjustment disorders is psychotherapy, also called counseling or talk therapy.
  • A short course of medications to help manage some of the symptoms associated with adjustment disorders.
  • To relieve depression and anxiety, doctor may recommend a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor such as fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine or the related antidepressant venlafaxine.
  • An anti-anxiety medication such as alprazolam or clonazepam may be prescribed in some cases.