by Michael Jubinville, MPH
Adjustment disorder is an overreaction to a stressful event. There can be one or more events. They can affect one person or a group. How you react causes problems with work, school, and other people in your life.
The subtypes are:
Adjustment disorders start with stressful life events. Problems may start with:
Risk Factors TOP
Adjustment disorders are more common in adult women. But, the risk is the same for boys and girls. Your risk is higher for:
Adjustment disorder starts within 3 months of the event. It can last up to 6 months after the stressor is taken away. Sometimes, symptoms may last longer than 6 months.
The problems you have depend on the subtype. How you react causes issues with work, school, or other people in your life.
The most common are:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A psychological exam will be done. This will help rule out other mental health problems.
The goal is to find the source of your stress. Doing so will also help keep your problems from getting worse.
You may have one or both:
Cognitive behavioral therapy, and other types of therapy are the main treatments. Therapy will help you find out what event started causing problems. You also learn how to cope with these types of events. Therapy may be:
Medicines are used with therapy to treat:
There is no way to prevent adjustment disorders since the cause is unknown.
American Psychiatric Association
National Institute of Mental Health
Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Acute stress disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated July 19, 2018. Accessed August 30, 2018.
Adjustment disorder symptoms. Psych Central website. Available at: https://psychcentral.com/disorders/adjustment-disorder-symptoms. Updated August 24, 2017. Accessed August 30, 2018.
Adjustment disorders. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/mental_health_disorders/adjustment_disorders_90,P01573. Accessed August 30, 2018.
Adjustment disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/anxiety-and-stressor-related-disorders/adjustment-disorders. Updated July 2018. Accessed August 30, 2018.
Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 8/30/2018
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