Symptoms of adjustment disorders

Adjustment Disorders

Adjustment Disorders Overview

An adjustment disorder refers to an emotional or behavioral response to a stressful event in someone’s life. The reaction is consider unhealthy or excessive within three months of the event or change. A family move, divorce or separation of parents, a pet’s death, or a sibling’s birth or adoption are all stressful events. An adjustment response may be required in the event of a sudden illness or restriction to your child’s life because of chronic disease.

Adjustment disorders can be experienced by adults, but it is most commonly diagnosed in children and teenagers.

The causes of adjustment disorders

An adjustment disorder is a response to an event. There is no single cause of stress and the answer. Children and adolescents have different temperaments, vulnerabilities, and coping skills. Their ability to cope with stress and where they are at their developmental stages may influence their reactions. The duration, strength, and effect of stressors can vary. There is no evidence to support the existence of a particular factor that causes adjustment disorders.

Risk Factors for Adjustment Disorders

Children and teens are very susceptible to adjustment disorders. Both males and women can experience them. Although adjustment disorders are common in all cultures and may be caused by stressors or signs, they can vary depending on cultural influences.

Adjustment disorders can occur at any age. It is believed that the characteristics of adjustment disorders are more common in adolescents and children than adults.

Symptoms of adjustment disorders

All adjustment disorders have a reaction that is more than expected. The reaction must be disruptive to educational, occupational, or social functioning. Age can also have an impact: There are differences in how symptoms are experience, their duration, strength, and their effect. Adolescents with adjustment disorders may exhibit more behavioral symptoms, such as acting out. Adjustment disorders can lead to more depression in adults.

Six subtypes of adjustment disorders are classified according to the severity of the significant symptoms. These are the most common symptoms for each subtype of adjustment disorder. Each individual may experience different symptoms.

  • Adjustment disorder with low mood. These symptoms may include:
    • Depression
    • Tearfulness
    • Feelings desperation
  • Adjustment disorder and anxiety. These symptoms may include:
    • Nervousness
    • Be Worried
    • Jitteriness
    • Fear of separation from significant attachment figures
  • Adjustment disorder with anxiety or depressed mood. These conditions can present with symptoms that are a combination of both.
  • Adjustment disorder with disruption of conduct. These symptoms may include:
    • Violations of the rights of others
    • Violations of society’s rules and norms (truancy destruction, reckless driving, fighting)
  • Mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct is an adjustment disorder. It is possible to have symptoms that combine all three of the subtypes (depressed mood and anxiety, as well as conduct).
  • Adjustment disorder unspecified. There are many reactions to stressful events. These reactions can include social withdrawal and inhibitions from normally expected activities, such as school or work.

Adjustment disorders can mimic other medical conditions or psychiatric conditions. Talk to your adolescent’s healthcare provider to confirm a diagnosis.

Diagnoses of adjustment disorders

After a thorough psychiatric evaluation, interview with parents and the child/adolescent, a psychiatrist for children and adolescents, or a qualified mental professional diagnoses adjustment disorder. During the interview, a detail personal history of the child’s development, life events, and emotional responses is taken.

Treatment of Adjustment Disorders

Your adolescent’s healthcare provider will determine the best treatment for adjustment disorders based on the following:

  • Age, overall health, and medical history of your adolescent
  • The extent of your adolescent’s symptoms
  • The subtype of adjustment disorder
  • Tolerance of specific therapies by your adolescent
  • Expectations regarding the stress-provoking event
  • Your opinion or preference

The following are possible treatments:

  • Individual psychotherapy with cognitive-behavioral methods. Cognitive-behavioral methods are use to increase age-appropriate problem-solving, communication, and anger management skills.
  • Family therapy. Family therapy is often about making changes in the family system. This includes improving communication skills and family interactions. A second area of focus is the increased family support among family members.
  • Peer group therapy. Peer group therapy focuses on social skills and interpersonal skills.
  • Medicine. The effectiveness of medication in treating adjustment disorders is minimal.

Preventing adjustment disorders

At this point, no preventive measures can be taken to treat adjustment disorders in adolescents. Early detection and professional assistance can help reduce the severity and improve your child’s quality of life.

Elizabeth Barton
Elizabeth Barton
Elizabeth Barton is a writer and digital marketer with over 10 years of experience. I'm passionate about using my skills to help people learn and grow. My blog, The News Columnist, covers a variety of topics, including Business, Finance, and technology and many more. I'm also a regular contributor to several online publications.
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