What are Adjustment Disorders?
Adjustment disorders occur within three months of a life stressor and are characterized by emotions or behaviors that affect a person's ability to function and are excessive in relation to the stressor and resolve within 6 months of the stressor (bereavement is not included in this disorder).
What are the symptoms of Adjustment Disorders?
Your health care provider may ask detailed questions about how you feel and how you spend your time. This will help him or her pinpoint which specific type of adjustment disorder you have. There are six main types of adjustment disorders. Although they're all related, each type of adjustment disorder has certain signs and symptoms.
The six types are:
Adjustment disorders are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and a thorough psychological evaluation. To be diagnosed with adjustment disorder, someone must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
For an adjustment disorder to be diagnosed, several criteria must be met, including:
Most people find treatment of adjustment disorder helpful, and they're in treatment only for several months. Others may benefit from longer treatment, though. There are two main types of treatment for adjustment disorder — psychotherapy and medications.
The main treatment for adjustment disorders is psychotherapy, also called counseling or talk therapy. You may attend individual therapy, group therapy or family therapy. Therapy can provide emotional support and help you get back to your normal routine. It can also help you learn why the stressful event affected you so much. As you understand more about this connection, you can also learn healthy coping skills. These skills can help you weather other stressful events that may arise in your life.
In some cases, medications may help, too. Medications can help with such symptoms as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are the medications most often used to treat adjustment disorders. As with therapy, you may need medications only for a few months.
Coping with Adjustment Disorders
When you face a stressful event or major life change, you can take some steps to care for your emotional well-being. Do what works for you. Some examples include:
If you use these kinds of self-care steps but they don't seem to be helping, be sure to talk to your health care provider.
Source: Mayo Clinic
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