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Adjustment Disorders

Jul 01, 2009 - 9 comments



behavioral health










Adjustment disorder


Adjustment Disorders

I have been researching and have found that are aren't enough forums which discuss Adjustment Disorders specifically. I suffer from this disorder and know that support is number one in coping with it. I encourage anyone who has been diagnosed with an Adjustment Disorder (there are several) or feel that they may be experiencing the symptoms, to please follow this journal. We all need the support.

Work problems, getting married, going away to school, an illness — any number of life changes can cause stress. Most of the time, people adjust to such changes within a few months. But if you continue to feel down or self-destructive, you may have an adjustment disorder.

Adjustment disorder is a short-term condition that occurs when a person is unable to cope with, or adjust to, a particular source of stress, such as a major life change, loss or event. Because people with adjustment disorders often have symptoms of depression, such as tearfulness, feelings of hopelessness and loss of interest in work or activities, adjustment disorder is sometimes called "situational depression." Unlike major depression, however, an adjustment disorder is triggered by an outside stress and generally goes away once the person has adapted to the situation.

It is a stress-related mental illness. You may feel anxious or depressed, or even have thoughts of suicide. You may not be able to go about some of your daily routines, such as work or seeing friends. Or you may make reckless decisions. In essence, you have a hard time adjusting to change in your life, and it has serious consequences.

An adjustment disorder is characterized by the development of emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor (or stressors) occurring within 3 months of the onset of the stressor. A stressor is anything that causes a great deal of stress in the person's life. It could be a positive event, like a wedding or purchasing a new home, or a negative event, like a family member's death, the breakup of an important relationship, or loss of a job.

The signs and symptoms of adjustment disorders vary from person to person. The symptoms you have may be very different from those of someone else with an adjustment disorder. But for everyone, symptoms of an adjustment disorder begin within three months of a stressful event in your life.

Emotional symptoms of adjustment disorders
Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder may affect how you feel and think about yourself or life, including:

    * Sadness
    * Hopelessness
    * Lack of enjoyment
    * Crying spells
    * Nervousness
    * Thoughts of suicide
    * Anxiety
    * Worry
    * Desperation
    * Trouble sleeping
    * Difficulty concentrating
    * Feeling overwhelmed

Behavioral symptoms of adjustment disorders
Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder may affect your actions or behavior, such as:

    * Fighting
    * Reckless driving
    * Ignoring bills
    * Avoiding family or friends
    * Poor school or work performance
    * Skipping school
    * Vandalism

Length of symptoms
How long you have symptoms of an adjustment disorder also can vary:

    * Six months or less (acute). In these cases, symptoms may go away on their own, especially if you actively follow self-care measures.
    * Longer than six months (chronic). In these cases, symptoms continue to bother you and disrupt your life. Professional treatment can help symptoms improve and prevent the condition from continuing to get worse.

When to see a doctor
Sometimes the stressful change in your life goes away, and your symptoms of adjustment disorder get better on their own. But often, 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.

You may think that an adjustment disorder is less serious than other mental health problems because it involves stress, but that's not necessarily true. Adjustment disorders can affect your whole life. You may feel so overwhelmed, stressed and hopeless that you can't go about your normal daily activities. You may skip work or school, for instance, or not pay your bills. You may drive dangerously or pick fights.

People with adjustment disorders also may abuse alcohol or drugs, engage in violence, and have thoughts of suicide. If you or a loved one has suicidal thoughts or is seriously considering hurting someone, seek help immediately.

Talk to your doctor if you're having trouble getting through each day. You can get treatment to help cope better with stressful events and feel better about life again.

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by alicat007, Jul 02, 2009
wow   i have suffered anxiety and depression off and on for many years. But this last couple of years my sysptoms have changed and I was wondering what it was. This may be it right here. I get a new stressor and it seems ok at first and then as it builds up I become upset and sad and angery and hopeless and wanting to hid from life and the sysptoms of depression begin but never seem to max out. I want to cry at the little things. I begun my routine of cuttng my hair out because of my nerves. I don't have the focus to get the house claean and bills paid. then I just become fully agitated. everything sets me off. I know its over this one thing what ever it may be this time but I can't stop it. I feel helpless. Like its more than I can handle in life right now. is this real?

955471 tn?1246741311
by LadyG835, Jul 02, 2009
OMG, Yes!! It's real! You just described nearly all of my symptoms. I actually broke down the other day because I couldn't find my nail clippers. Friggin' nail clippers! My second and most recent episode just started a couple of months ago. I lost my job. My perfect little world went unscathed until then. I started ignoring the bills, I'd go days without cleaning, hell, I wouldn't even shower some days. I felt like, "What's the use?". And my boyfriend...oh, my poor boyfriend. He understands now, and together we try and keep it in check until it goes away. And it does go away, until another stressor hits. When I feel it getting the best of me, I stop....breathe...and say, "It's OK." Please keep in touch Alicat007.

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by LadyG835, Jul 02, 2009
My apologies.....I forgot to add the six TYPES of Adjustment Disorder:

The six types of adjustment disorder are:

    * Adjustment disorder with depressed mood. Symptoms mainly include feeling sad, tearful and hopeless, and a lack of pleasure in the things you used to enjoy.
    * Adjustment disorder with anxiety. Symptoms mainly include nervousness, worry, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, and feeling overwhelmed. Children who have adjustment disorder with anxiety may strongly fear being separated from their parents and loved ones.
    * Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood. Symptoms include a mix of depression and anxiety.
    * Adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct. Symptoms mainly involve behavioral problems, such as fighting, reckless driving or ignoring your bills. Youngsters may skip school or vandalize property.
    * Adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct. Symptoms include a mix of depression and anxiety as well as behavioral problems.
    * Adjustment disorder unspecified. Symptoms don't fit the other types of adjustment disorders but often include physical problems, problems with family or friends, or work or school problems.

Avatar universal
by myturn535, Jul 04, 2009
I am curious if this could be my problem. I feel this happens every time I have some type of chagne in my life.  The  first time was when I moved into a new home we had built about 30 years ago.I became so sad and could not stay in the house I would get up in the morning do what I had to and left the house for the day. This took a while to get over. The second time was when a friend was diagnosed with an illness. It hit me so hard that I sat on the floor at work and just cried. I couldn't wait to be alone so I could cry, in the bathroom, in the car just whenever I could be alone. This is when I first went for help and they put me on zoloft and told me I had clinical depression. It seems whenever there is some type of change in my life this happens. This last one I can't get out of. My younger daughter moved out on her own at the same time my older daughter said she was getting a divorce and she might move away. Any type of change like this sets me off. Does anyone think this could be it? I have been crying on a daily basis for almost three months.

955471 tn?1246741311
by LadyG835, Jul 04, 2009
Adjustment Disorder is too often misdiagnosed as clinical depression. The difference is, that an Adjustment Disorder is ALWAYS triggered by a source of stress and does not last more than six months or so. Yes, you become depressed, but it's not ongoing. If you find that your behavior or mental state changes dramatically only after a life-altering event, then it may be just and Adjustment Disorder or Situational Depression and not clinical depression. Are you usually happy when everything is going smoothly? I'm not a doctor but I think it's worth discussing with yours.

955471 tn?1246741311
by LadyG835, Jul 04, 2009
A more in-depth, helpful article can be found at

Avatar universal
by myturn535, Jul 04, 2009
I don't ever remembering becoming depressed for no reason. I mentioned to my doctor that it always seems to happen when I have a life change. Those were my exact words. I am going to right every event that has happened in my that I feel has triggered this. They have said they think I am grieving even there has been no death. I remember watching a dvd made by my girls for my husbands 60th birthday, and was from his birth, our dating ,the birth of our children up until now. It was like watching my life before my eyes. The next few days were hell. I could not stop crying and it felt like a death. This is how I feel about my girls leaving. I feel like there has been a death. It seems to be  these types of situations that sets me off. This has been the longest and the hardest. I am going to discuss this with him when I go. Do you know if the treatment would be any different than clinical depression? There are so many things in life that I enjoy when I'm not going through this.

955471 tn?1246741311
by LadyG835, Jul 04, 2009
With an adjustment disorder, responses to an identifiable stressor (or stressors) are out of the ordinary or over exaggerated. Most people deal with big events in their lives with a normal reaction. People like me find it so overwhelming it becomes debilitating and depressing. A stressor is anything that causes a great deal of stress in the person's life. It could be a positive event, (like purchasing a new home), or a negative event, such as your girls leaving. You first step is the understanding that this disorder is a psychological reaction to a stressor. The stressor needs to be identified, described and shared. Talk about it. Learn coping techniques and ways to reduce stress ( ) Half the battle for me is knowing and accepting that I deal with stressors differently than others and that my episode will eventually go away. Most mental health professionals recommend treatments including:

    * Behavior therapy
    * Individual psychotherapy
    * Family therapy
    * Self-help groups

I think it's an excellent idea to mention Adjustment Disorders to your doctor.  I would love to hear back from you with his/her response! Stay in touch!

Avatar universal
by Bellacosino, Nov 03, 2011
Wow I was diagnosed with a AD may of 2011 I moved away from my parents for the first time with my daughter who I had a bad break up with her father an I was moving to fort Bragg with my soon to be husband we were in fort Bragg from may till the end of June then moved to crestview fl bought a house got married in July an I found out I'm pregnant again an due April 2012 the end of september I just cried I hated being in my house I did not like being alone an started having thought about dieting I was always afraid of firing but now the thoughts were wanting to kill myself so the base put me on Prozac an what happened was it made the thoughts worse so I signed myself into a mental hospital I'm on effexer now an doing better but I still get thought thoughta once in a while I really hope I can go back to being myself again one day

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