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. A person with adjustment disorder develops emotional and/or behavioral symptoms as a reaction to a stressful event. These symptoms generally begin within three months of the event and rarely last for longer than six months after the event or situation. In an adjustment disorder, the reaction to the stressor is greater than what is typical or expected for the situation or event. In addition, the symptoms may cause problems with a person’s ability to function; for example, the person may be unable to sleep, work, or study. Adjustment disorder is very common and can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, or lifestyle. Although an adjustment disorder can occur at any age, it is more common at times in life when major transitions occur, such as adolescence, mid-life, and late-life. Most people with adjustment disorder recover completely.
Symptoms of Adjustment Disorders
Symptoms vary from person to person. But for everyone, symptoms of an adjustment disorder begin within three months of a stressful event in life.
Emotional symptoms of adjustment disorders :
- Hopelessness (Despair)
- Lack of enjoyment
- Crying spells
- Thoughts of suicide
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Headaches or stomachaches
- Palpitations (an unpleasant sensation of irregular or forceful beating of the heart)
- Changes in appetite, either loss of appetite, or overeating
- Feeling tired or without energy (Prostration)
- Increase in the use of alcohol or other drugs
Behavioral symptoms of adjustment disorders :
- Reckless driving
- Ignoring bills
- Avoiding family or friends
- Performing poorly in school or at work
- Withdrawal or isolation from people and social activities
- Skipping school
- Vandalizing property
Symptoms in children and teens tend to be more behavioral in nature, such as skipping school, fighting, or acting out. Adults, on the other hand, tend to experience more emotional symptoms, such as sadness and anxiety.
Causes of Adjustment Disorders:
Although the cause of adjustment disorders is unknown, some things make you more likely to have an adjustment disorder.
One or more stressful life events may put you at risk of developing an adjustment disorder. It may involve almost any type of stressful event in your life. Both positive and negative events can cause extreme stress. Some common examples include:
- Being diagnosed with a serious illness (yourself or a loved one)
- Problems in school
- Divorce or relationship breakup
- Financial problems
- Physical assault
- Death of a loved one
- Losing or changing job
- Being a victim of a crime
- Having an accident
- Undergoing a major life change (such as getting married, having a baby, or retiring from a job)
- Living through a disaster, such as a fire, flood, or hurricane
Tests and diagnosis
Adjustment disorders are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and a thorough psychological evaluation. To be diagnosed with adjustment disorder, someone must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
For an adjustment disorder to be diagnosed, several criteria must be met, including:
- Having emotional or behavioral symptoms within three months of a specific stressor occurring in your life
- Experiencing more stress than what would normally be expected in response to the stressor or having stress that causes significant problems in your relationships, at work or at school
- An improvement of symptoms within six months of the stressful event coming to an end
Types of adjustment disorder are:
- Adjustment disorder with depressed mood. Symptoms mainly include feeling sad, tearful and hopeless, and experiencing 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. Youths 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.
Treatment for Adjustment Disorder:
There are two main types of treatment for adjustment disorder — psychotherapy and medications.
The main treatment for adjustment disorders is psychotherapy, also called counseling or talk therapy. You may attend individual therapy, group therapy or family therapy. Therapy can provide emotional support and help you get back to your normal routine.
In some cases, medications may help, too. Medications can help with such symptoms as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. As with therapy, you may need medications only for a few months.
REPERTORIAL APPROACH TO ADJUSTMENT DISORDER : I have compiled useful rubrics with the remedies on adjustment disorder for easy reference. I hope you may find it useful.
MIND – AFFECTIONATE – alternating with – sadness : plat.
MIND – ANGER – alternating with – sadness : ambr, coff, sumb, zinc,
MIND – ANGUISH – sadness; in : Arg-n, crot-h.
MIND – ANTICS; playing – alternating with – sadness : Opium
MIND – ANXIETY – thoughts, from – sad : alum, clem, cocc, rhus-t.
MIND – AVERSION – children, to – sadness; from : Conium
MIND – BUOYANCY – alternating with – sadness : carc, Nux-v.
MIND – CONTENT – alternating with – sadness : zinc.
MIND – COWARDICE – sadness, with : Sulph.
MIND – DELIRIUM – alternating with – sadness : plb, tub.
MIND – DELIRIUM – gay, cheerful – alternating with – sadness : agar.
MIND – DEMENTIA – sadness, with : tarent.
MIND – DRESS – aversion to – sadness; in : Con, Sulph.
MIND – ECCENTRICITY – alternating with – sadness : petr, Stramonium
MIND – ECSTASY – alternating with – sadness : senec.
MIND – ELATED – alternating with – sadness : aids, caust, coff, senec, valer, visc.
MIND – EUPHORIA – alternating with – sadness : asar, aster, cortiso,mand, meph.jl nid.jl onop, podo.
MIND – EXCITEMENT – alternating with – sadness : ambr, aster, colch, Con, cortiso, ferr-p, foll, ox-ac, petr, phenob, Plb, rauw, sul-ac, thyreotr,
MIND – EXCITEMENT – sadness, after : Cann-I, spig.
MIND – EXHILARATION – alternating with – sadness : agn, androc, carc, croc, ferr, ox-ac, petr, plat, Stramonium
MIND – EXHILARATION – sadness, after : ziz.
MIND – FEAR – alternating with – sadness : zinc.
MIND – FEAR – death, of – sadness; with : cupr, Plat, vinc.
MIND – FEAR – happen, something will – sad : aesc, Calc, Phos, STILL.
MIND – FEAR – sadness, with : am-m, cic, croc, Crot-h, Dig, hep, Kali-br, kali-c, KALI-I, lyc. Nat-m, plat, Plb, rhus-t, syph, vinc.
MIND – HOPEFUL – alternating with – sadness : acon, kali-c, raph,sulfon.
MIND – INDIFFERENCE, apathy – sadness; with : cimic, Kali-ar, Kali-br, nat-sil, ph-ac, Plat, psor, puls, sep.
MIND – INSANITY, madness – alternating with – sadness : tub.
MIND – IRRITABILITY – alternating with – sadness : ambr, asar, gink-b, ptel, puls, zinc.
MIND – IRRITABILITY – sadness, with : aids, ant-c, asar, aur, bov, cloth, dig, gink-b, kali-br, Kali-c, KALI-I, kola, lyc, Nat-m, nit-ac, plat, polyg-h, polyg-pe, ptel, puls, sal-ac, sep, sul-ac, Sulph, tarent-c, ziz.
MIND – JEALOUSY – sadness, with : Kali-ar, lob.
MIND – JESTING – sadness; during : limest-b.
MIND – JOY – followed by – sadness : olib-sac.
MIND – LAMENTING – sadness, in : Pulsatilla
MIND – LAMENTING – world; about the sadness and suffering of the : ignis-alc.
MIND – LAUGHING – alternating with – sadness : androc, canth, caust, nat-c, nid, Phos, Sacch, stram, zinc.
MIND – LAUGHING – sad, when : lac-leo, limest-b, phos.
MIND – LAZINESS – sadness, from : Bamb-a, berb, bov, crot-t, dor, dros, laur, mez, prun, zinc.
MIND – LOQUACITY – alternating with – sadness : arg-met.
MIND – MALICIOUS – sadness, in : KALI-I.
MIND – MIRTH – alternating with – sadness : cann-I, caust, croc, ferr, hell, limest-b, nat-c, neon, nit-ac, petr, Phos, plat, sep, tarent, zinc.
MIND – PLAYFUL – alternating with – sadness : psor.
MIND – PRAYING – loud in sadness : Platina
MIND – QUARRELSOME – alternating with – sadness : Con, sulfonam.
MIND – REFLECTING – sadness, in : Cocc, Platina
MIND – RESTLESSNESS – alternating with – sadness : apis.
MIND – SADNESS – colors – white – desire for white but agg. Sadness : lach.
MIND – SADNESS – eating – hasty eating from sadness : sulph.
MIND – SADNESS – music – sad music amel. : mang.
MIND – SADNESS – sexual desire – suppressed sexual desire; sadness after :
MIND – SADNESS – stories, from sad : calc, CIC.