Hard Time Adjusting?

There are times in life when we have problems adjusting to certain issues that arise in our lives. Sometimes situations become too much and we can’t cope with them properly and symptoms linger on for an extended amount of time as well as we start to develop symptoms that aren’t in line with our normal selves. If this is true then we may be experiencing Adjustment Disorder (AD). There are several types of AD that include depressed mood, anxiety, mixed depressed mood and anxiety, disturbance of conduct, mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct, and unspecified. These specifiers are to help narrow down exactly what is going on with a person and how they are feeling. Some common triggers of stress that a person may experience are (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000932.htm)

  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce or problems with a relationship
  • General life changes
  • Illness or other health issues in yourself or a loved one
  • Moving to a different home or a different city
  • Unexpected catastrophes
  • Worries about money

Triggers of stress in teenagers and young adults may include:

  • Family problems or conflict
  • School problems
  • Sexuality issues

These stressors may lead to symptoms that look like

  • Acting defiant or showing impulsive behavior
  • Acting nervous or tense
  • Crying, feeling sad or hopeless, and possibly withdrawing from other people
  • Skipped heartbeats and other physical complaints
  • Trembling or twitching

To have adjustment disorder, you must have the following:

  • The symptoms clearly come after a stressor, most often within 3 months
  • The symptoms are more severe than would be expected
  • There do not appear to be other disorders involved
  • The symptoms are not part of normal grieving for the death of a loved one

Sometimes, symptoms can be severe and the person may have thoughts of suicide or make a suicide attempt. AD is tricky to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other mental health issues. When going through adjustment disorder, the person usually starts to get better once the stressor and the term AD can only last 6 moths before other disorders are looked into. It is important that if you or someone you know feels that they may be having a problem, see a professional therapist right away. Adjustment disorder may seem scary in the moment, but it is very treatable and can be worked through in a fairly reasonable amount of time. We all have times in our life when we need extra help, so why not do yourself a favor and get the extra help you need?

Garcsa Brooks

Intern, Olive Branch Counseling Associates

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