Adjustment disorders — Know It All!

All you need to know about Adjustment disorders.

Know your ailment well, so you can manage it better!!

Here we come with Adjustment disorder today!

What is Adjustment disorder?

Adjustment disorder is also known as stress response syndrome.

Adjustment disorder (stress response syndrome) is a short-term illness that occurs when a new cause of stress, such as a significant life shift, loss, or occurrence, is very difficult to control or adjust to. The classification framework for mental health technically changed the name of “adjustment disorder” to “stress response syndrome.” in 2013.

Since individuals with stress response syndrome may have some of the signs of psychiatric depression, such as tearfulness, feelings of hopelessness, and lack of interest in jobs or hobbies, often informally called “situational depression.” is an adjustment disorder.

However, you should not have to stick things out on your own. Treatment will be short and you will probably be able to restore your mental footing.

What are the causes of Adjustment disorder?

An adaptation disorder may be triggered by a number of adverse activities. In adults, some prevalent causes include:

  • Death of a member of a family or acquaintance
  • Issues of engagement or divorce
  • Significant Changes in Life
  • A sickness or wellness condition (with you or someone you’re close to)
  • Shifting to a different house or site
  • Sudden Catastrophes
  • Troubles or worries about money

Typical factors in children and adolescents include:

  • Family wars or conflicts
  • Trouble at school
  • Anxiety in regards to sexuality

What are the symptoms of Adjustment disorder?

  • The signs and symptoms depend on the type of adjustment disorder and can differ from individual to individual. In reaction to a traumatic incident, you feel more stress than would usually be expected, and the stress creates serious issues in your life.
  • Adjustment problems change the way you feel and think about yourself and the environment and can impact your attitudes or acts as well. Some cases include:
  • Feeling miserable, desperate or not loving stuff you used to love
  • Crying sometimes
  • Worrying or feeling worried, jittery, nervous or stressing out
  • Sleeping Trouble
  • Appetite deficit
  • Trouble focusing
  • Feeling overpowered
  • Functioning problems with everyday tasks
  • Withdrawal from social promotions
  • Avoiding crucial items like going to work or paying bills
  • Suicidal thinking or actions
  • Symptoms of an adjustment disorder occur with a traumatic incident within three months and last for more than 6 months after the stressful event has finished. However, for longer than 6 months, intermittent or chronic adjustment disorders will continue, particularly if the stressor is continuing, such as unemployment.

What are the types of Adjustment disorder?

The six forms of adjustment disorder and their signs are below:

Adjustment disorder with depressed mood

People living with this type of adjustment disorder appear to have feelings of hopelessness and depression. It’s correlated with tears as well. You can also find that you are no longer doing things you have always done.

Adjustment disorder with anxiety

Symptoms associated with anxiety-related adaptation disorder include feeling stressed, nervous, and concerned. People with this condition can have concentration and memory difficulties as well.

For children, this diagnosis is usually associated with separation anxiety from parents and loved ones.

Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood

Both depression and anxiety are faced by individuals with this type of adaptation condition.

Adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct

Symptoms of this kind of transition disorder primarily entail behavioural problems such as reckless driving or causing battles.

Teens with this condition can steal property or vandalise it. They could start skipping school as well.

Adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct

Depression, anxiety, and behavioural disorders have signs related to this form of transition disorder.

Adjustment disorder unspecified

Those diagnosed with non-specific adaptation disorder have signs that are not consistent with the other forms of adaptation disorder. Physical symptoms or concerns with friends, families, job, or education also contain these.

What are the risk factors of Adjustment disorder?

  • Some factors can make you more likely to have a disorder of adaptation.
  • Stressful Incidents

Stressful life experiences can put you at risk of developing an adjustment disorder, both positive and negative. For example:

  • Divorce or family complications
  • Relation or interpersonal concerns
  • Situational changes, such as retirement, getting a baby or returning to school
  • Adverse scenarios, such as losing a career, losing a loved one or facing financial troubles
  • Problems at school or on the job
  • Experiences that endanger life, such as a physical attack, war or natural disaster,
  • Ongoing stressors, such as experiencing a serious condition or living in a community ravaged by violence
  • Your experiences in life
  • Experiences in life can influence how you deal with stress. Your risk of having an attachment disorder, for example, could be increased if you:
  • Experienced substantial childhood stress
  • Having other mental health concerns
  • Get a variety of complicated situations arising at the same point in life

What are the complications of Adjustment disorder?

They will potentially lead to more severe mental health issues such as anxiety disorders, addiction or drug abuse if transition disorders are not overcome.

How is Adjustment disorder diagnosed?

  • See the doctor if you believe that you may have an AD/SRS. Your doctor can do a physical exam if you have symptoms and ask questions about your medical and mental health records. While no imaging or laboratory testing exists to explicitly identify the syndrome, the doctor may often use laboratory tests to rule out physical disease or other medical causes of differences in mood or behaviour (such as brain trauma) as the cause of the symptoms, such as blood or imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans.
  • Your doctor would typically recommend you to a therapist, counsellor, or other mental health specialists who is qualified to support individuals when they have difficulty dealing with and handling traumatic life experiences if AD/SRS is suspected. Such mental disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, major depression, or depressive disorder, may be looked for.

Based on the guidelines from the Diagnostic and Predictive Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM-5), the psychiatrist will diagnose you with AD/SRS:

  • A reversal in emotional or behavioural symptoms that develops in your life within 3 months of a traumatic occurrence
  • Showing a more extreme level of anxiety than can usually be expected in response to what has happened
  • In your personal life and/or at work or college, having critical problems
  • Symptoms that are not linked to any mental health condition or disease

What is the treatment for the Adjustment disorder?

If you receive an adjustment disorder diagnosis, you would probably benefit from treatment. You may require only short-term treatment or may need to be treated over an extended period of time. Adjustment disorder is typically treated with therapy, medications, or a combination of both.


Therapy is the primary treatment for an adjustment disorder. Your doctor or healthcare provider may recommend you see a mental health professional. You may be referred to a psychologist or mental health counselor. However, if your doctor thinks that your condition requires medication, they may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Going to therapy may enable you to return to a regular level of functioning. Therapists offer you their emotional support and can assist you in understanding the cause of your adjustment disorder. This may help you develop skills to cope with future stressful situations.

There are several kinds of therapies used to treat adjustment disorders. These therapies include:

  • psychotherapy (also called counselling or talk therapy)
  • crisis intervention (emergency psychological care)
  • family and group therapies
  • support groups specific to the cause of the adjustment disorder
  • cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT (which focuses on solving problems by changing unproductive thinking and behaviors)
  • interpersonal psychotherapy, or IPT (short-term psychotherapy treatment)


Some people with adjustment disorders also benefit from taking medications. Medications are used to lessen some of the symptoms of adjustment disorders, such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety. These medications include:

  • benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam and alprazolam
  • nonbenzodiazepine anxiolytics, such as gabapentin
  • SSRIs or SNRIs, such as sertraline or venlafaxine

How to Prevent Adjustment Disorder or Stress Response Syndrome?

There are no safe ways to stop diseases of adaptation. But during periods of high stress, practising good coping skills and learning to be resilient can support you.

When you know a difficult situation is coming up, rely on your inner power, increase your good behaviours and rally your social support in advance, such as a transfer or retirement. Remind yourself that you should get through it and that this is typically time-limited. You should also consider checking in with a psychiatrist or mental health provider to explore safe ways to relieve your stress.


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