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Adjustment Disorder – Overview, Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatments
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An exaggerated reaction to a stressful situation characterizes adjustment disorder, a mental health disease. As a result, there may be problems at home or at work.
With adjustment disorder, your reaction to a stressful experience often goes beyond what would be anticipated.
Adjustment disorder is one of the most often diagnosed mental health issues in therapeutic settings. Around 5–20 percent of persons undergoing outpatient mental health care receive a diagnosis of adjustment disorder. Adults who get a cancer diagnosis are at an increased risk of developing an adjustment problem.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) categorizes the illness among trauma- and stressor-related disorders. Adjustment disorder is closely related to other disorders in this category, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The main difference between PTSD and adjustment disorder is the stressor that triggers the condition. With adjustment disorder, the stressor does not have to qualify as an overwhelming traumatic event in the same way it does for a PTSD diagnosis. A person may also receive a diagnosis of adjustment disorder if their stressor does meet the PTSD requirements, but other criteria are not met.
Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder
Different people will have different signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder. They often involve emotional, behavioral, and physical repercussions.
Adjustment disorder is often accompanied by the following symptoms:
- sadness and uncontrollable crying
- difficulty concentrating
- a decreased appetite
- social withdrawal
- general aches and pains
- a racing heartbeat
- an inability to follow your daily routine
- suicidal thoughts
Types of Adjustment Disorder
There are six main forms of adjustment disorder. Symptoms are the basis for each treatment. The following are the many kinds:
- With depressed mood: The symptoms include despair, melancholy, and other depression-like states of mind, as the name suggests.
- With anxiety: Worry, anxiety, and trouble focusing are some of the signs and symptoms of this form of anxiety. Children that suffer this sort likely to face separation anxiety as well.
- With mixed anxiety and sad mood: Symptoms of this kind include both depression and anxious symptoms.
- With the disturbance of conduct: The symptoms of conduct disorder include irrational and impulsive behavior as well as risky and rebellious actions.
- With mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct: Depression, anxiety, and behavioral symptoms are all part of the picture when dealing with someone who is experiencing bipolar disorder.
- Symptoms that don’t fit into any of the other categories fall under the umbrella of “unspecified.”
Causes Adjustment Disorder
Adjustment disorder is the outcome of a stressful incident. This occurrence does not necessarily have to be a terrible one. However, it is large enough to make a huge shift in your life and is viewed as highly stressful by you.
The symptoms of adjustment disorder often begin within 3 months after the incident and linger for up to 6 months following. It is unusual for the symptoms of adjustment disorder to continue for more than 6 months after the stressful event has been completed.
Common circumstances that might provoke adjustment disorder include:
- a breakup or dissolution of a partnership
- a death in the family,
- a wedding, a baby, a move,
- a job loss,
- academic challenges,
- legal or financial difficulties
- suffering from critical health problems
- the stress of sex-related incidents on a victim of crime
Diagnostic Criteria for Adjustment Disorder
Doctors and mental health professionals base their diagnosis on the criteria established by the DSM-5.
These requirements include:
- Emotional or behavioral symptoms develop within 3 months after a stressor triggers a stressful event
- symptoms that are clinically important and exhibit the following:
- dissatisfaction that is out of proportion to the event symptoms and that adversely affects your ability to engage in social or professional activities
Treatments for Adjustment Disorder
Treatment for adjustment disorder has shown to be effective in both one-on-one and group settings.
The following are examples of these types of treatments:
- talk therapy
- cognitive behavioral therapy
- supportive therapy
- short-term psychodynamic therapy
- solution-focused therapy
- Being able to move on after a difficult or traumatic experience is frequently dependent on maintaining a sense of personal safety. You will be better able to comprehend the experience if you know that you and your loved ones are protected. If you’re concerned about the safety of yourself or others you care about, you should see a mental health professional or another specialist.
- Physical well-being: After a stressful experience, your physical well-being may suffer. Following the event, it’s critical that you have a normal sleep pattern, eat healthfully, and exercise regularly. As a result, your health won’t be jeopardized.
- Mindful approach: An essential aspect of self-care is to minimize the tension, anger, and isolation that you may be feeling after a distressing experience. A thoughtful approach may include:
- practicing familiar hobbies
- keeping your daily routine
- interacting with others
- reading or watching a movie to distract your thoughts
- engaging in acts of spontaneous kindness
Prevention of Adjustment Disorder
There is no way to prevent adjustment disorder. Even if you know in advance when a stressful situation will occur, you can’t always predict your reaction to it.
However, you can better control your symptoms if you get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan as soon as possible. Starting therapy as fast as possible will help prevent your symptoms from worsening.
Adjustment disorder is closely related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The main difference between adjustment disorder and PTSD is the stressor that triggers the condition. Around 5–20 percent of persons undergoing outpatient mental health care receive a diagnosis. There are six main forms of adjustment disorder, each with different symptoms. Adjustment disorder is the outcome of a stressful incident.
The symptoms of adjustment disorder often begin within 3 months after the incident and linger for up to 6 months following. Treatments for adjustment disorder have shown to be effective in both one-on-one and group settings. Being able to move on after a stressful experience is dependent on maintaining a sense of personal safety. An essential aspect of self-care is to minimize tension, anger, and isolation. There is no way to prevent adjustment disorder, but you can better control your symptoms if you get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
In order to maintain a healthy relationship, one must respect the other’s boundaries and listen attentively. Coercive tactics include questioning one’s character, ignoring boundaries, promoting guilt, and imposing one’s own reality on others. Expert manipulators switch between deification and vilification at will. When dealing with psychologically manipulative persons, the most essential rule is to assert our human rights when they are being infringed. Each of us has a basic human right to live our lives as we want, unencumbered by the demands of others.
This includes the freedom to define our own priorities and to say “no”. Manipulation aims to take advantage of both our weaknesses and our strengths. Each of us has a basic human right to live our lives as we want, unencumbered by the demands of others. This includes the freedom to define our own priorities and to say “no”.
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