Struggling To Adjust? You May Have Adjustment Disorder

Published on March 24th, 2021

Updated on January 2nd, 2024

Struggling To Adjust? You May Have Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorder (AD) is a condition in which a person experiences stress after a major change. The change may be anticipated or unanticipated and is related to grieving the loss of previous circumstances. It has a significant impact on the affected person’s life.

This disorder will cause a person to have emotional and behavioral reactions. These reactions are due to the stress of adjusting to new life circumstances.

Adjustment disorder can affect children, adolescents, and adults. It is most often seen in children and adolescents. This disorder will typically manifest in the affected person’s behavior within 3 to 4 months of experiencing the change.

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Symptoms Of Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorder comes with symptoms that are similar to anxiety and depression. Struggling to adjust to changes can cause both anxiety and a depressed mood. Symptoms will affect a person’s emotional wellness and behavior.

Emotional and mental symptoms that a person with AD may experience include:

Symptoms of adjustment disorder may also include behavioral changes. These changes may be temporary and are in reaction to struggling to cope with change.

Behavioral symptoms that may occur in a person with AD include:

Causes Of Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorder is caused by a change in a person’s day-to-day lifestyle. People with AD may or may not have a history of struggling to cope with change. The triggering change may be expected or unexpected. 

The change that occurs will significantly impact a person’s sense of security. The compromised sense of security is typically temporary.

Several different circumstances may cause a person to suffer from AD. People with a history of mental health disorders are at higher risk of struggling to adjust to changes in lifestyle. This is especially prevalent for people with anxiety and depression.

Not everyone who experiences change will suffer from AD. AD is most often seen in children and adolescents, but can also affect adults.

Situations that may cause a person to experience AD include:

Adjustment disorder is treatable, and often treatment is successful. Once a person has adjusted or come to terms with the change and challenges they face, they are often able to adapt. They then can resume normal day-to-day functioning.

Adjustment Disorder

Treatment Of Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorder can be treated with mental health counseling. Those who suffer from this disorder tend to be able to recover after seeking therapy. 

Different therapeutic approaches can help treat AD. Finding the right fit of therapist and therapeutic approach will depend on the client’s individual needs. It will also depend on the triggering event that caused the AD.

There are different forms of therapy a mental health professional may use to treat AD. A therapist may use a combination of different therapeutic approaches to treat the client’s unique needs. A mental health professional will also take into account the types of symptoms the client has experienced when creating a treatment plan. They will focus on social, behavioral, and emotional challenges.

Types of therapy used to treat AD include:

Solution-Focused Therapy

Solution-focused therapy is often used to help people with AD. Solution-focused therapy is a form of therapy that helps with decision-making skills. It helps the client build the confidence to make decisions and trust the change. 

Solution-focused therapy can give the client a space to brainstorm how to best adjust to the change.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be helpful for people who are suffering from anxiety that is resulting from AD. Clients may struggle to cope with stress when suffering from AD. That struggle can cause people to feel anxious and have negative thoughts. 

CBT helps a person with AD learn how to challenge their anxious thoughts. This helps to reduce feelings of hopelessness and self-defeating thought patterns.

Supportive Therapy

Supportive therapy can go a long way for people who are suffering from AD. Many people with AD are suffering from life changes that are out of their control. This can cause feelings of helplessness, which can lead to a depressed mood. 

Supportive therapy provides a person with AD with support and a safe space for healing. The healing process involves coming to terms with new life circumstances.

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