- What is Adjustment Disorder?
An adjustment disorder occurs when an individual is unable to adjust to or cope with a particular outside stressor, like a major life event or transition. There are different types of adjustment disorders which are characterized by the following predominant symptoms: depressed mood; anxiety; mixed anxiety and depressed mood; disturbance of conduct; mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct; and unspecified. To qualify for a diagnosis, symptoms must occur within 3 months of the onset of the stressor, must cause significant distress or impairment in important areas of functioning, and must not persist more than an additional 6 months from when the stressor’s consequences have ended.
- How can Adjustment Disorder be treated?
The recommended treatment for an adjustment disorder is psychotherapy. Therapy should focus on helping the individual express his/her thoughts/feelings about the newfound stressor, normalizing the individual’s thoughts/feelings, examining what the individual is currently doing to cope with the situation, and helping the individual learn more adaptive ways of coping with the situation. Adjustment Disorders typically resolve once the individual learns how to adapt to the new situation.