What is Adjustment Disorder?
Major life events can cause us to react in ways that significantly interfere with our quality of life and our ability to function at work and in relationships.
What is a major life event?
Anything that stresses our ability to cope and respond can be a stressor:
- a breakup/divorce
- moving to a new city
- death of a loved one
- being diagnosed with a chronic illness
- becoming a caregiver to an aging parent
- financial difficulties
It is normal to have strong emotions and to be impacted by stressful life events.
An adjustment disorder, however, is considered in cases where an individual responds in ways that far exceed what would be considered normative and culturally appropriate.
Typical symptoms can include:
- difficult to control worry
- lack of motivation
- thoughts of suicide
- social withdrawal
The symptoms develop within three months of a specific stressor, are not a normal part of the grieving process, and are not related to another mental health disorder (e.g., major depression, PTSD). The symptoms of this disorder overlap with other mental health conditions therefore, a careful assessment with a qualified professional is needed.