All About Adjustment Disorders
Adjustment disorders can be described as the types of problems that occur when someone has difficulty coping after a stressful event. This stressful event can be an illness, an accident, or anything. This disorder can be responsible for some psychological and physical problems. These problems need treatment such as medications or therapy.
Adjustment disorders can be found in both children and adults. And it affects both as well. This disorder is sometimes referred to as a situational depression. This situational depression has a severe emotional or behavioral reaction to a specific life trauma or a series of stressors. These traumas or series of stressors can be;
- Losing job
- Having relationship problems
- Getting a divorce
- Diagnosed with an illness
- Faced an accident
The adjustment disorder is not only limited to traumatizing experiences, in-fact sometimes it can be those positive moments that are very emotionally charged. Hence, they change and affect your life very profoundly. Some of them are listed below;
- Having a baby
- Getting married
- Starting at a new job or post
- Retiring from your job.
So, when a person is suffering from any of these events, he or she deals with it in their own specific way. This specific way is somehow influenced by some external influences.
These external influences are basically ‘cultural and social expectancy.’ They struggle in their daily lives. These struggles can be anything, for instance, we can say, they face tough times in studying or doing their work, etc. people with adjustment disorders can face anxiety and depression in their lives. Because of this they might behave inappropriately, and they might even run into problems knowingly and unknowingly, these problems can be related to school, work, etc.
People with adjustment disorder can face physical symptoms such as:
What Are The Symptoms Of Adjustment Disorder?
The symptoms of adjustment disorder may vary widely. It gets influenced by the temperament, vulnerability, and coping skills of the individual. And these attributes define the severity of the disorder.
Apart from this, age can be another major significant aspect that influences this disorder. For instance, let us consider the case of two categories; children and adults.
Children and teens have behavioral symptoms. These symptoms can be described as:
- They do not want to go to school
- They pick fights with siblings
- They have frequent crying spells
If we considered the case of adults, they might show symptoms such as:
- They are deeply sad
- They are hopeless
- They are overwhelmed
The symptoms of adjustment disorder might begin within 3 months of the stressful event. And it can last no longer than 6 months after the event has ended. In some cases, if the trauma or problem is going on it can last longer than 6 months.
What Are the Types Of Adjustment Disorders?
There are different types of adjustment disorders. Adjustment disorder consists of 6 different subtypes. These subtypes are based on the major symptoms that a person is going through. These subtypes are as follows;
- Adjustment disorder with Depressed mood: Having depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness, and tearfulness.
- Adjustment disorder with anxiety: Having the feeling of worries, nervousness, fear of separation, and jitteriness.
- Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood: It is a combination of the two that is depressed mood and anxiety.
- Adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct: Violating the other’s rights or breaking society’s norms and rules such as reckless driving, skipping school, vandalism, harming someone else’s property, etc.
- Adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct: It is a combination of the above-given subtypes that are depressed mood, anxiety, and disruptive behavior.
- Adjustment disorder unspecified: There are certain symptoms that are not specified and hence they come in the category of unspecified symptoms. These symptoms can be withdrawing from others or pulling away from activities like school or work.
The above mentioned are the subtypes of the adjustment symptoms. If a person is going through any of them, he or she needs to consult with their doctors.
What are the causes of adjustment disorder?
When we talk about the causes of adjustment disorder, it is mainly because of a major life trauma or event. A significant life event can trigger adjustment disorder. These events can be;
- It can be marriage.
- It can be divorce or a relationship problem.
- It can be because of the death of a loved one.
- It can be because of moving.
- It can be because of having issues.
- It can be because of financial difficulties.
- It can be because of being discharged from the military.
If we consider the case of children, these life events differ as compared to adults’ life events.
For instance, these can be;
- Separation of parents or divorce.
- Because of the school’s stressors, including social or academic difficulties.
- It can be because of moving to a new place, neighborhood, or city.
- It can be because of sexuality or health issues.
- It can be because of a close relative, friend, or guardian.
How can you recognize that you are going through an adjustment disorder?
We know that adjustment disorder comprises mental and physical symptoms. These symptoms usually occur when you experience some trauma or difficult event. So, if you have problems that make you rebellious, impulsive, anxious, trapped, crying, lack concentration, loss of self-esteem, and have suicidal thoughts.
Therefore, anyone can develop this adjustment disorder. And if someone thinks that they are starting to have any of the mentioned symptoms then they need to consult with their doctors as soon as possible.
How is an adjustment disorder diagnosed?
If you want to have a proper diagnosis of adjustment disorder a person must be;
- He or she must be experiencing psychological and behavioral symptoms. Within 3 months of trauma.
- If he or she is having more stress because of any issues with relationships, in school or at work, or experiencing both.
- Having symptoms that are not the result of another diagnosis.
How can you treat adjustment disorder?
The adjustment disorder can be treated, and it will benefit the person who is suffering from it. The treatment involves therapy, medications, or a combination of both.
- Therapy: To treat adjustment disorder, therapy is the primary mode of treatment. After being diagnosed with adjustment disorder, your doctor will recommend you consult with a mental health professional (psychologist) or mental health counselor depending upon your situation or requirement. Therapy helps people to get back to the proper functioning method. A therapist allows you to overcome those traumatic life events. And if any of these events happen again then how to face them. Therefore, therapy is important.
There are different types of therapies that are used to treat adjustment disorders. Some of them are listed below;
- Psychotherapy – psychotherapy is called counseling or talk therapy.
- Crisis intervention – is related to emergency psychological care.
- Family and group therapies – talking to family and spending time with them is important to treat adjustment disorders.
- Support groups – many people find support groups to be one of the best ways to treat adjustment disorder.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy – cognitive therapy is used in the treatment of adjustment disorder. This therapy focuses on solving problems by changing unproductive thinking and behaviors.
- Interpersonal psychotherapy – is a short-term psychotherapy treatment that is used to treat adjustment disorders.
- Medication: in some cases, people need medications to treat adjustment disorders. These medications are used to treat symptoms of adjustment disorders such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Therefore, you need to consult with your doctors, and they will give you the prescription according to your medical conditions.
How can you prevent adjustment disorders?
The adjustment disorder can be treated quickly if the process and treatment are right. However, there is no guaranteed way to prevent adjustment disorder. But you can learn to survive and cope in the most stressful environment. You can follow certain points that can help you to be resilient to certain traumas. Some of them are listed below;
- Develop a strong bond and network among people who support you.
- Looking and finding positivity in those situations
- Living a healthy lifestyle.
- Establishing good self-esteem.
Sometimes adjustment disorder can be mistreated with depression. The major difference between them is;
- Adjustment disorder is a direct response to a traumatizing event. Whereas depression is not a direct response.
- Adjustment disorder is brief. While depression can be short-term or long-term.
- In some cases, adjustment disorder develops into depression therefore, proper, and immediate consultation with the medical professional is important.
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