Understanding Adjustment Disorder
Learn about adjustment disorder
Aside from depression and anxiety disorders, adjustment disorder is one of the most frequently diagnosed disorders among those who grapple with mental health concerns.
When someone experiences a life stressor or change and is not able to adapt to what has happened, it is possible that that person will begin experiencing symptoms synonymous with adjustment disorder. Daily functioning can become hindered, and the ability to adhere to daily responsibilities can become exceptionally challenging the longer this sort of illness remains untreated.
Getting married, getting divorced, having a new baby, moving to a new city, starting a new job, and retiring are but a few examples of life-changing events that can bring about adjustment disorder symptoms. And while these sort of changes may be exciting to some people or welcomed as new adventures in life, others can find that they are overwhelming and difficult to adjust to once they happen. Furthermore, when this illness is present, it can remain for up to six months and disrupt an individual’s ability to live a happy, healthy life.
Thankfully, if you are battling adjustment disorder, you can receive the care you need to become well again. By partaking in effective mental health treatment, you can learn how to adapt to the changes in your life and learn how to handle stress effectively in the future.
Adjustment disorder statistics
Adjustment disorder is a very common mental illness that is diagnosed in as many as half of all people who are admitted to inpatient treatment centers. Women are more likely to grapple with this disorder, and, unfortunately, many with adjustment disorder engage in self-harming behaviors when they don’t seek professional care. Lastly, twenty to fifty percent of those who have suffered from this disorder eventually receive a diagnosis for another mental disorder within a few years of experiencing symptoms of adjustment disorder.
Causes and Risk Factors
Causes and risk factors of adjustment disorder
Adjustment disorder is directly caused by experiencing some sort of life stressor before the onset of the symptoms of this illness. However, if you lacked healthy coping skills, social support, and/or the ability to adjust to change without a great deal of difficulty before the stressor or stressors, then you are more likely to suffer from adjustment disorder.
Additionally, if you are exposed to stress on an ongoing basis and aren’t able to process and adapt to what has transpired, in that scenario you’re also more likely to grapple with adjustment disorder.
- Experiencing the end of a romantic relationship
- Experiencing the loss of a loved one
- Going through a divorce
- Having a new baby
- Leaving or reentering a parental home
- Moving to a new community
- Retiring from a job
- Suffering from a medical condition
- Surviving a trauma
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder
While a mental health professional is the only one who can conclusively determine if you are suffering from adjustment disorder, you can note the presence of the following symptoms to deduce if this illness is what’s affecting your life after enduring some sort of stressor(s):
- Drop in performance at work or school
- Emotional outbursts
- Failure to attend work or school
- Making attempts at suicide
- No longer adhering to daily responsibilities
- No longer participating in activities that were once enjoyed
- Onset of self-harming behaviors
- Bodily aches and pains
- Changes in eating patterns
- Chest pains
- Muscle tension
- Persistent headaches
- Sleep disturbances
- Inability to make sound judgment
- Poor concentration
- Poor decision making
- Problems with memory
- Emotional instability
- Excessive feelings of worry
- Feelings of nervousness
Effects of adjustment disorder
Continuing to struggle with the symptoms of adjustment disorder is likely to negatively impact your life. Among the sort of effects that can occur, it is possible for the following to happen to you of treatment for this illness is delayed or not sought:
- Decline in social interactions
- Decreased performance at work or school
- Disturbed interpersonal relationships
- Job loss
- Onset of symptoms of other mental health disorders
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
Withdrawal symptoms of adjustment disorder
As one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders, it is quite possible for a person to grapple with other mental health concerns at the same time.
Therefore, if you seek treatment for adjustment disorder symptoms, you may also receive care for one or more of the following disorders at the same time:
- Bipolar disorder
- Depressive disorders
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Specific phobias