Adjustment disorder is a short-term condition that occurs when a person experiences great difficulty coping with, or adjusting to, an identifiable life stressor. Put simply, adjustment disorder represents significant difficulty in adjusting to the new reality. The stressful events that precipitate an adjustment disorder vary widely. The stressor may be a single event, such as a termination of a relationship, or there may be multiple stressors, such as financial strains and marital issues. Stressors may be recurrent (e.g., seasonal business crises), or continuous (e.g., the death of a loved one).

Adjustment disorder is very common and can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, or lifestyle.

There are several types of adjustment disorders, each with unique signs and symptoms:

  • With depressed mood:
    • Symptoms mainly include feeling sad, tearful, and hopeless and experiencing a lack of pleasure in the things you used to enjoy.
  • With anxiety:
    • Symptoms mainly include nervousness, worry, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, and feeling overwhelmed. Children who have an adjustment disorder with anxiety often have a tendency to express separation anxiety when they’re away from their parents or loved ones.
  • With mixed anxiety and depressed mood:
    • Symptoms include a combination of depression and anxiety.
  • With disturbance conduct:
    • Symptoms include behavioural problems, such as hostility and acting out. There is also the possibility of truancy from school.
  • With mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct.
    • This includes symptoms of depression, anxiety, and behavioural problems.

Symptoms in children and adolescents tend to be more behavioural in nature, such as school absenteeism, aggression, or acting out. Meanwhile, adults tend to experience more emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety.

If you’re finding it hard to cope, reach out to us today to see how we can help.